"No sweetie, not all black people drink grape kool-aide."
November 24, 2009 7:14 PM   Subscribe

Help! My new girlfriend is skeeved out by minorities. Should I break up with her?

I've been dating this girl for three weeks. She's great, she's smart, athletic, cute, and confident. Hell, she was even open to us having a threesome with another girl.

But, there's something that has been bothering me. She's not very confortable being around minorities, as a group. She has already dropped the N-bomb twice. She refers to Hispanics as "Mexicans". She locks her car doors whenever she sees a man of color, even if he's wearing a business suit and she's driving in the financial district! When we go to parties, she's super outgoing even if she doesn't know the people, but when I took her to a black party once, she suddenly got shy and stayed by my side the whole night.

She's not the first one. Back when I dated men, one guy broke up with me, and several avoided dating me in the first place (though they admitting to liking me otherwise), because I had a very diverse group of friends. They thought it was weird, and didn't want to be associated. Don't let me get started on how many times I get turned down, because I'm not blonde. It seems that I am always finding myself attracted to those who turn out to have racial or color issues.

Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I don't know if I can go on dating a girl who has racial prejudices. I have close friends of all sorts of different backgrounds, I even have a somewhat racially mixed family, on my dad's side. Right now, I just can't see her fitting into my life, but I'm really into her. How should I handle this? If I do break up with her, how should I avoid meeting women like this in the future? This is confusing because, I tend to run with very liberal crowds, but somehow I am still finding intolerant people.
posted by Eleutherios to Human Relations (86 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hit it:

If you have a racist friend
Now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end

Be it your sister
Be it your brother
Be it your cousin or your, uncle or your lover

posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:20 PM on November 24, 2009 [27 favorites]


Not sure why you are even wondering what to do. You should have run at the first N bomb. And no, you are not going to change her.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:24 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Your question is "Should I break up with her?" Okay, I just want to make sure I'm following the Ask Metafilter guidelines here.

Yes. Yes, you should.
posted by Evangeline at 7:26 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, if someone's attitudes or behaviors contradict your values you need to decide whether you can live with that. And just because you run with a liberal crowd of friends doesn't mean you won't run into intolerant people. There are plenty of intolerant liberals.
posted by dfriedman at 7:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Been there, done that... If you have a diverse group of friends and your new girlfriend is uncomfortable around them--or a flat out bigot--it will only lead to hate and discontent on one side or the other. Since she is new to you, I would cut your ties before it becomes much more of an issue... That's my two cents worth.
posted by patheral at 7:27 PM on November 24, 2009


Make sure you tell her why when you break up with her, i.e. yes this is a dealbreaker.
posted by desuetude at 7:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [31 favorites]


While I have generally endorsed the view offered by Fiasco da Gama, courtest of Jerry Dammers and crew - essentially, a zero tolerance policy towards racists - this girl *at least* needs to know that's why you're breaking up with her. Sadly, people are often weirdly racist without even being especially aware of it, as hard as that is to fathom. So it's probably fair to initiate a discussion with her first. I can't imagine anyone having a good reason at all . . . but maybe she'll work on changing if it's spelled out exactly how repellant her behavior is.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 7:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hmm. Ok, I don't think there's anything immoral about dating racists, so there's really just your own feelings to consider. Is it interfering with your other friendships? How much does it bother you? If it bothers you more than you like her, then the answer is pretty easy.

I wouldn't count on her changing, but I wouldn't assume that she can't either. Maybe she grew up in Vanillatown, USA and her parents taught her that the quality of a person is somehow related to the amount of melatonin in their skin. Maybe if she gets to know a person of colour, she'll realize this idea is ridiculous. But maybe she won't change, and you'll eventually get fed up with her bigotry. It's up to you how much time and energy you want to gamble on those odds, and how much fun you're having in the meantime.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:30 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would talk to her about it first.

If she's aware that her outlook isn't the one she ought to have and would like to change but isn't there yet? It might be a challenge, but I like seeing people open their minds like this and I'd probably stick around, anyway.

If she gets offended that you even brought it up, insists she's doing nothing wrong, etc, then I'd say this has no future and end it now and make sure she knows that's why.
posted by larkspur at 7:30 PM on November 24, 2009 [13 favorites]


It seems that this is an compatibility issue, but maybe it would be worth talking about with her. See where she is coming from and why she feels this way. Be as non-judgmental as possible, don't attack her as it could be the result of her upbringing or bad experiences. Perhaps this will open up an interesting conversation, and without trying to win her over, you might open her eyes a little.
posted by DeltaForce at 7:31 PM on November 24, 2009


Have you spoken to her about this?

It may be that she's never really thought about it at all -- that she was raised to have certain racist reactions and hasn't yet had reason to think about the way she reacts. If could be, if she were made to really think about her behavior, she would realize that there is something wrong with it. Especially with the use of certain words; she might just be completely ignorant of what they really mean.

I try very hard to avoid DTMFA advice, because it's usually not that useful. But I agree with what dfriedman says: "if someone's attitudes or behaviors contradict your values you need to decide whether you can live with that." From what you say, it doesn't really sound like you can. But, at the very least, I suggest you raise the issue with her, to see what her issue is and if there's a chance she might change.
posted by Ms. Saint at 7:31 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I agree with everyone above who says you should DTMFA post haste. Furthermore:

I've been dating this girl for three weeks... She has already dropped the N-bomb twice... how should I avoid meeting women like this in the future? This is confusing because, I tend to run with very liberal crowds, but somehow I am still finding intolerant people.

I don't think you can ever guarantee that you'll stop meeting intolerant people, but maybe you can get to know them a little better before you start dating? I mean, she's already used racial slurs multiple times in 3 short weeks of dating; did she... not ever do that before? Was she on her best behavior for the X months you knew her prior to dating? Or did you start hooking up maybe... way too soon after you met?

I think the best way to avoid dating racists is to spend long enough getting to know people between first meeting and first dating so that you have a little deeper understanding of their personalities by the time you shack up.
posted by rkent at 7:32 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Maybe you should try evaluating people before you actually date them. Go out as friends the first couple times and discuss things that matter to you.
posted by hjo3 at 7:32 PM on November 24, 2009


I'd say that this is about where the party ends. I think you'll find that people in your life won't be able to stand listening to you. You and your racist girlfriend.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:34 PM on November 24, 2009 [30 favorites]


Other people who become exposed to her prejudices will assume you have them too, or maybe just respect you less for being with her. Can you live with that?
posted by hermitosis at 7:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [14 favorites]


You know, this is very interesting to me. Lately it seems as though every third post on Metafilter has been about racial prejudices, and everybody is pleased to run their mouth and knight-in-shining-armour it up about how tolerant they are and how many [insert race here] friends they have and how they even had sex with one once and how racists and bigots are morons, but nobody ever fucking does anything. It's easy lip service and doesn't tell us anything about you other than you are not completely ignorant.

So what? I don't give a shit how many [insert race here] friends or spouses you have an how amazing their culture is and how fast and how far you run from racists and bigots because you are as fucking useless as a brick if you're not actually doing something about it.

Here you have a perfect opportunity to impart a little wisdom to an ignorant person. She isn’t this way because she actually sat down and thought hard about it and decided that, yes, based on my researches and the evidence I have carefully analysed, I Am A Huge Racist. She’s this way because it’s just always been what she has thought, because it’s how she was raised. Her racism is a by-product of her upbringing, not a conscious choice that she has made.

Why not stop with the lip-flapping and make half a fucking effort to educate her, reprogram her, encourage her to understand that being racist is not only stupid, it’s utterly fucking pointless? Ignorance is only going to continue to breed ignorance if you tolerate it, if you do nothing.

So, your girlfriend is a racist. Fine. Try and do something about it for once. Solve a problem rather than ignoring it.

Or don’t. But get the threesome out of her before you dump her stupid ass.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:40 PM on November 24, 2009 [62 favorites]


Yeah, this would be a buh-bye issue for me.

Most women I have dated have been "open to threesomes", so it ain't all that rare. Stop thinking with your lower brain.
posted by rokusan at 7:41 PM on November 24, 2009


"I know politics bores you, but I feel like a hypocrite talking to you, and your racist friend." Not that it should really matter if they're real friends, but have you considered that this gal may have already skeeved out some of your longer-term friends?
posted by notsnot at 7:41 PM on November 24, 2009


Like DieHipsterDie, I'm not sure why you're unsure what to do. Based on what you've written, you're not comfortable with her bigotry, she's not going to like your friends and you "just can't see her fitting into [your] life." Even the tags you used for this question don't bode well.
posted by yeoja at 7:46 PM on November 24, 2009


Do you love your friends and family? If the answer is yes, you should break up with her. If someone I was dating was judging the people I loved based on the color of their skin (or any other superficial reason) it would be a hands-down dealbreaker.

It's always surprising to me how prevalent these kinds of things are among seemingly decent people. I live in the south so it is not uncommon at all to meet someone who is intelligent, even "liberal," and then find out weeks into knowing them that they are actually racist or homophobic. I consider myself lucky that my friends are so great that, when I do meet a person like this, it is still an absolute shock.

It's hard to say how you go about avoiding racists. You really can't, I don't think. Even if you stuck to your mostly-minority friend groups, you'd find racists there too, I'm sure. It's not like you can ask someone the first time you meet them, "how do you feel about black people."

One way I've found to to sort of "test" people I'm not too familiar with if I suspect they might be racist is to bring up a recent crime (of which there are always plenty here in Memphis) and start talking about "crime" in general. I find that people will very quickly show their ignorance or intelligence on who or what they "blame" the plight of our city on. I haven't done this often, and I'm not sure if it would work everywhere, but it's such a big issue here that I can bring it up without sounding like I'm forcing some serious political discussion.

I'm sorry this keeps happening to you, but seriously, there are plenty of progressive, non-racist, non-judgmental people who are also smart, althletic, cute and confident. Go find one of them and be happy. Racist beliefs say a lot more about a person than just how they feel about minorities. It is an entire, toxic world-view and you deserve better. You should also try to set her straight before you leave and let her know why you are leaving. Also tell her to stop using the N-word, please.

Good luck! I hope everything works out.
posted by a.steele at 7:48 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess my question is it just fear and discomfort, or flat-out bigoted prejudice?

If she grown up in a sheltered, all-white world and you think she just needs some exposure to different cultures, then maybe you have an opportunity to open up her views and educate her.

If she is so far gone that she is against interracial couples and children, and "wouldn't let her kid learn Spanish because it just encourages the illegals" (I have a coworker who said this, verbatim), then she may be a lost cause.
posted by radioamy at 7:52 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


How did she respond when you called her out for using the n word?
posted by jeather at 7:55 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Nthing turgid dahlia. Could be that daddy told her all black men are rapists and all mexican men are women beaters. Maybe with a little exposure and education she'll have an epiphany moment and let go of her racial prejudices.

It's up to you to decide if you want to try to broaden her worldview.
posted by tinatiga at 7:55 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, your girlfriend is a racist. Fine. Try and do something about it for once. Solve a problem rather than ignoring it.

Yup. "Liberal" means you're tolerant. That answer should highlighted asap.
posted by Zambrano at 7:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with turgid dahlia here: educate the girl! Or at least talk to her about her racist attitudes and actions. If she can't or won't change or think about her racism, then dump her.

After the threesome, of course.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 7:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I met this girl online. She's not from Whiteyville, she's from a pretty diverse area of Chicago, and one of her best friends is black (really). I do know that about her. Again she's not the first one, whatsoever, so I don't think dumping her would solve the problem of me running into bigoted ass people in the dating market. They're cool with having a minority friend or two, but when it comes them as a group feelings change. It's something that has been going on since I've reached dating age. I'm just don't know what to do, since I go out of my way to avoid close-minded people.

Most women I have dated have been "open to threesomes", so it ain't all that rare. Stop thinking with your lower brain.

Perhaps, this is where things are going wrong. Maybe I'm meeting people who are open-minded in some ways, but not open-minded in other ways. I find it surprising that the same women who was open-minded enough to let another women go down on me, is not open-minded enough to accept people who has more melanin content in their skin.
posted by Eleutherios at 7:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Talk to her first about it. If she's unrepentant, pretend to think that's OK, have the threesome, then dump her.
posted by downing street memo at 7:57 PM on November 24, 2009


For the record, my advice about bringing up something like crime should not be used as a vetting device to find out if you should date someone. I'm with everyone else on getting to know a person better before you date them. That's just something I've used a couple times when a person has said something questionable and I happen to be talking to them at a party and I'm feeling a little inquisitive.

Also, I like DeltaForce's suggestion. You may, in fact, open her eyes a little. I don't think it's your responsibility to try and change her, though. And I definitely don't think it would be worth it, for your sake.
posted by a.steele at 7:58 PM on November 24, 2009


Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I don't know if I can go on dating a girl who has racial prejudices

This makes sense.

But "hanging out with liberal crowds" is pretty much orthogonal to "not meeting racists."

Yes, hard-core white supremacists are not going to be part of a liberal crowd, but casual racism certainly is.

As to "how do I stop going out with girls like this"? Maybe paying attention to what people say when you first meet them, even though this is difficult when one is in the first bloom of infatuation, might help.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:02 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


If she is so far gone that she is against interracial couples and children, and "wouldn't let her kid learn Spanish because it just encourages the illegals" (I have a coworker who said this, verbatim), then she may be a lost cause.

She says she is not against interracial dating, but she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.
posted by Eleutherios at 8:02 PM on November 24, 2009


I find it surprising that the same women who was open-minded enough to let another women go down on me, is not open-minded enough to accept people who has more melanin content in their skin.

Ah! This may be the source of your dilemma.

Racism is a set of choices of words and actions that show disrespect for people whose racial and ethnic self-identification is different from your own. It is not some kind of metaphysical cooties from which being kinky protects you.

The way to tell if people are racist in ways that make you uncomfortable is to see whether or not they say and do things that are racist in ways that make you uncomfortable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:06 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.

HOLY FUCK

Where do you hang out that you "hear that quite often"? I mean the "I wouldn't date someone who had been in an interracial relationship previously?"

Because I can imagine someone with reasonable self-knowledge deciding that they wouldn't be up to dealing with the potential social challenges of an interracial relationship. Someone saying they wouldn't date someone who had been in an interracial relationship just seems like a really bizarre "you'll catch the {race} cooties" 19th-century craziness.

Maybe you need to find a circle of friends that includes fewer stone racists if you don't want to keep dating racists.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:09 PM on November 24, 2009 [33 favorites]


wouldn't... date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship.

That's more than discomfort. That's full-on illogical minority-cootie-fearing bigotry. She's telling you that if you had dated a black person, she wouldn't be with you. WTF?
posted by hermitosis at 8:09 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Point by point:

She has already dropped the N-bomb twice.
Certainly a bad thing, and indicative of a certain ignorance. I find it pretty amazing someone could walk around a city like Chicago talking like this and still be alive. However I suppose there is an outside outside chance she was raised around this and doesn't realize how horribly offensive most people consider it.

She refers to Hispanics as "Mexicans".
Again, ignorant, but not necessarily evil.

She locks her car doors whenever she sees a man of color, even if he's wearing a business suit and she's driving in the financial district!
Seriously? This one kind of beggars belief a little bit. Not really sure what to say.

When we go to parties, she's super outgoing even if she doesn't know the people, but when I took her to a black party once, she suddenly got shy and stayed by my side the whole night.
Well, she was willing to go to the "black party," right, so that's something, I guess.

But yeah, all of this adds up to a person who is super not-comfortable around people of other races. It's doubtful you're going to "convert" her, and you are under no Sacred Liberal Duty to attempt to do so. If you don't want to date her, don't date her.

However, I'm also no fan of ridiculous (and apparently very popular) songs that tell people to be absurdly judgmental and flat out dump friends with extreme prejudice. There's no real harm in talking to her about it. Racists who are ostracized get more angry and racist, not less so.

problem of me running into bigoted ass people in the dating market
Well there is no way to solve this. Dating is all about running into assholes, flakes and weirdos of various stripes. That's why so much film, ink, and stand-up comedy is expended on dating misadventures. To some extent this particular problem could be a function of living in Chicago which, while a great city, is not exactly famous for racial tolerance.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:12 PM on November 24, 2009


...or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.

Wait... what?
posted by you're a kitty! at 8:13 PM on November 24, 2009


She says she is not against interracial dating, but she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship

I missed that. THAT is flat-out racist, moreso than all the rest. Fast train to Dumpsville is my revised opinion.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:14 PM on November 24, 2009


I can't get on the dump her! train. I guess because it seems like she's just going to go off and meet another racist and they are going to breed some super racist kids. At least I think you should tell her she's an asshole for the sake of the world and see what happens. Just because she grew up in a mixed area, that doesn't mean her experience with minorities has been positive. Her parents could have been racist assholes. I'm not sure what the end goal of the knee jerk reaction is. It's certainly not going to help her not be an asshole.
posted by sully75 at 8:14 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


As has been suggested upthread, talk to her about it. Actually get her to examine her own thought process, and find the circumstances, events, and influences that caused her to arrive at her present set of generalizations.

Odds are, she just hasn't really discussed these issues with someone who has taken the time to gently untangle her assumptions, and then challenge them in a substantive way.

Bottom-line: Probe deeply enough, and you'll find some weird little logical jumps that you can get her to see really are logical jumps; and getting her to see these jumps for what they are can perhaps the reduce the amount of fear in her life... as well as, yeah, getting you that threesome.

Maybe even with someone of a type she would never have expected, a short while ago.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:23 PM on November 24, 2009


...or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.

WTF. That's the first time I have heard that in my life.

You don't need a new girlfriend. You need an entire new peer group.
posted by rokusan at 8:32 PM on November 24, 2009 [23 favorites]


She says she is not against interracial dating, but she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship.

She believes in cooties. I think that's not something you can fix, and you'd be more comfortable finding a kinky, progressive woman to date, introduce to your friends, and have threesomes with.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:35 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Are you sure this isn't performance art? From what I can tell, you're a woman, too. Your girlfriend's remarks sound like what my fundy Christian relatives would say about gay relationships in order to sound hip without actually being open-minded. Seriously: She says she is not against interracial same-sex dating, but she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial same sex relationship.

If this is an elaborate, socially-conscious hoax, then this is some Lady Gaga-level shit. If not, then I don't even know what to say except get out. And (even though I'm sure you've gotten the point by now) as someone who's been in a couple of interracial relationships, this is really deeply offensive.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:53 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


She says she is not against interracial dating, but she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.

I've heard this charming little bit of prejudice too. It's fucked up.

And, in the case of several of my friends, leads to incredibly tiresome arguments when the black guy/girl you dated briefly ten years ago magically becomes some sort of twisted ammo regarding your judgment during an attack of the alcohol-induced fightys and then in the morning the totally racist shit is pooh-poohed as "exaggeration" and "not accurate."

Ugh.
posted by desuetude at 8:55 PM on November 24, 2009


I can't get on the dump her! train. I guess because it seems like she's just going to go off and meet another racist and they are going to breed some super racist kids.

So now she and the OP's kids can just be half-racist. Or, the OP could proceed with the intent of changing her mind about a whole lot of ideas that seem to be reinforced by lots of other people in their community.

Based on my reading of the OP's contributions to other threads, I'm pretty sure Eleutherios is a woman.

On preview: Everything oinopaponton said.
posted by bakerina at 9:05 PM on November 24, 2009


[few comments removed - chicago and threesome tangents need to go to email or metatalk, sorry folks. thanks.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 PM on November 24, 2009


Based on my reading of the OP's contributions to other threads, I'm pretty sure Eleutherios is a woman.

Not to derail or jump on you, but they can still raise kids together. (I'm guessing/hoping they won't though!)
posted by crabintheocean at 9:11 PM on November 24, 2009


@crabintheocean: Oof. Indeed. That was a wee bit heterosexist of me -- ironic, as I just finished my last LGBT civil rights class of the semester four hours ago.

(Great class. I'm sad it's over.)
posted by bakerina at 9:20 PM on November 24, 2009


DTMFA
posted by paultopia at 9:27 PM on November 24, 2009


Your story doesn't totally add up for me, for some reason.

She's dropped the n-bomb; but she lived in a diverse Chicago neighborhood, has a black best friend, and went to a "black party" with you. What is the context of these n-bombs? Was it a stupid expression, like "n* please," (still not cool, I know) or was it in reference to a bunch of black people she was trying to degrade? It just needs a little more context; white people dropping n-bombs are not racist per se.

You say she won't date anybody of a different race, or somebody who's dated somebody of a different race; but isn't against interracial dating. People who believe they are not attracted to other races are not necessarily racist. They are gross (to me), but not always racist.

I'm not sure I am seeing intolerance per se. I think I am seeing ignorance, and perhaps even curiosity. People speak and act as bigots often because they just don't know any better. I'm not saying you have to be the PC police around her, but maybe she needs to learn how to not be prejudiced from you.

Then again, I'm still going to weigh in on the DTMFA side, even if I don't think she's the klansgirl some people are making her out to be, because: it's a brand new, superficial relationship anyways, she's got issues you really shouldn't have to deal with, so there's no reason to waste more time on her. DTMFA.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


People can change. The only way someone who is racist will learn is to be exposed to minorities. They may think, "hey John is great guy and it really doesn't matter that he's black." I'd see if she changes after she gets to know some of your friends. If she can't or won't change,then dump her.
posted by bananafish at 9:42 PM on November 24, 2009


I was going to try to give her the benefit of the doubt since some of your details might not indicate that she's a terrible person. Calls Hispanics "Mexican"? OK, that's imprecise, but have you ever casually referred to someone as "Arab" who's actually Persian or Afghan or Pakistani etc.? I wouldn't be surprised, and I wouldn't call you a racist because of it. Locks her car door? That's always a good idea; it might have been a coincidence that a black person was nearby. Used the "n" word? That's always a bad idea, but maybe, just maybe, she was quoting song lyrics or making some reference that you didn't get. Wouldn't date interracially? Well, everyone is superficial, and many people are attracted to people who look like them, which goes along with being attracted to people of their own race.

But then I saw this:

She says she ... wouldn't ... date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship.

Whaaa?!?!?!

Put aside the "racism" question for a second. This is more fundamental than that. How can you even respect her intelligence or sanity? You don't need to dump her because she's racist; dump her because she's a completely unreasonable person.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:03 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


FYI, those born in Mexico are Mexicans. It's not a pejorative term.
And yeah, dump her and tell her why.
posted by Linnee at 10:11 PM on November 24, 2009


...or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship.

This is off the deep end. She isn't just racist, she is significantly more racist than a lot of other racist people. This isn't just a vague prejudice; it is an active and deliberate ideology.

The combination of traits that you care about (smart, athletic, cute, confident, willing to have a threesome) is much more common than you think it is.

In other news, your girlfriend sure doesn't sound very smart or confident. I'll take your word for it on athletic and cute, which are both really part of the same criterion. So let's rephrase:

Your criteria is that you want a cute girl who is wiling to have a threesome with you.

There are lots of such girls out there. Many of them will keep the threesome offer on the table, even when they found out that the other woman once had a black boyfriend.
posted by bingo at 10:16 PM on November 24, 2009


she's smart

Might want to recalibrate your smart-detector. Yes, dump her, undoubtedly.

FYI, those born in Mexico are Mexicans. It's not a pejorative term.

Could be wrong, but I think what the OP meant is that she calls any Spanish-speaking person "Mexican", whether they were born in Mexico or Puerto Rico or Venezuela or Chicago.
posted by equalpants at 10:28 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


FYI, those born in Mexico are Mexicans. It's not a pejorative term.

The OP said her girlfriend refers to Hispanics as Mexicans. Not all Hispanics were born in Mexico. So, while "Mexican" is not pejorative, it is a careless term to use unless one knows that the subject is indeed Mexican.
posted by maqsarian at 10:29 PM on November 24, 2009


Or, what equalpants said.
posted by maqsarian at 10:31 PM on November 24, 2009


The more you post, the wackier she sounds. Not even for a threesome should you tolerate this brand of crazy.

End it now. Or you could just tell her that you're from a racially mixed family and she'll probably dump you. Either way, she's gone.
posted by 26.2 at 10:36 PM on November 24, 2009


I dated a racist before. It was not a very serious relationship and I didn't notice it for a while, but when I did things started to go downhill fast. I found her racism to be indicative of further character traits (mostly pride and lack of curiosity) that made it hard to look at her the same way.

I would bring it up in a concerned but nonconfrontational manner and try and figure out why she is racist. Go from there. And don't be afraid to trust your instincts.
posted by ropeladder at 10:44 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


you didn't note whether you are male or female - either way, she is bisexual or lesbian and dating someone who is also bisexual. her prejudice may end at skin color or be more widespread... all might not be totally lost in trying to approach her about her ridiculous outlook - you already have an example to play to her logic about how she can be more tolerant, open-minded.

does she know that you have dated both men and women?
if you are a male, i am curious as to what she thinks about that situation....
if you are female, well, you are already playing on the same team (you did mention 'being turned down for not being blonde' and that seems like a female comment, since men can be visual and shallow seekers - hah)

red flags
1) you met her online (these nasty personality traits never show up on a dating profile or CL ad)
2) you are justifying a relationship which goes against your personal values and beliefs, all in the name of sexual adventures
3) this woman has the power to isolate you from your friends/family

I ignored all three of these red flags in my most recent relationship.....it didn't bode well, left me feeling empty, alone and resentful towards myself. the sexual adventures were wild, enthralling (in the moment)....that feeling does not persist after you have destroyed a part of yourself and what you believe in.

do yourself a favor and run before you get more attached (or do something crazy like, i dunno, move in together).

or stand up, stand strong, and challenge her racism.
posted by Gaeacon at 10:45 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're not going to change her any time soon. I know some people are advising you to "do something about her racism," but it is very, very unlikely that she hasn't heard reasonable arguments about why your genealogy does not determine your behavior. Rays of enlightenment are not going strike her dome when you introduce her to your nice, stereotype-defying Puerto Rican friend. Most likely, she was told that certain races are dangerous and inferior repeatedly growing up, and you can't undo that quickly no matter what you say.

I've known at least three racists off and on for long-ish periods of time. Two are still every bit as racist as they were in high school. One of them (who believed that Hispanics might not be human) gave it up after several years of constant peer pressure in college, although he still really enjoys racist jokes. The others are just as racist as they always were, and I dropped contact with them because I was fatigued by disgust and embarrassment.

Dump her now. You should fight racism by calling it out when you see it. However, it isn't your duty to be this person's personal caseworker.
posted by ignignokt at 11:20 PM on November 24, 2009


Sorry for going off on a tangent, but I don't know if I can go on dating a girl who has racial prejudices. I have close friends of all sorts of different backgrounds, I even have a somewhat racially mixed family, on my dad's side...If I do break up with her, how should I avoid meeting women like this in the future?

Date some non-white people?

Benefits:
1. Less likely to be minority-haters.
2. If it doesn't work out, you have now self-selected yourself out of the acceptable dating pool for those allergic to minority cooties.
posted by granted at 11:48 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


she wouldn't do it herself, or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship. I hear that quite often, not just from her.

That's one of the most bizarrely racist things I've ever heard.

And I'm from Utah.
posted by mmoncur at 1:18 AM on November 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


The obvious solution is to suggest a threesome where the third party is a minority.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:20 AM on November 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


As someone who lives in a "Whiteyville," as you put it, it sounds like she's scared of minorities. The whole "all blacks and Mexicans are criminals" attitude is pretty prevalent over here. And I'm not far from Chicago.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:42 AM on November 25, 2009


No intention of derailing but asking for clarification, so, two questions:

Don't let me get started on how many times I get turned down, because I'm not blonde. Huh? What does that mean; and

I even have a somewhat racially mixed family. I don't understand your wording here. How can people me somewhat racially mixed?
posted by dzaz at 2:47 AM on November 25, 2009


*be
posted by dzaz at 2:47 AM on November 25, 2009


Seconding larkspur. Not so much turgid dahlia.
posted by krilli at 3:15 AM on November 25, 2009


How can people me somewhat racially mixed?

It's not like being pregnant, where you either are or aren't. Racial categories are heavily socially constructed, so ideas of what constitutes "racially mixed" will change from one person to another, from one place to another, and over time.

Back to the original question, I think you should ditch her, but that you should have the courage to say why. And I think you need to reexamine your own actions, such that you seem to be finding and attracting people who take their racism beyond the casual level. (Similarly, I think you should think about how you reacted the first time she used the N word, such that she felt comfortable using it again. Why did you not make your feelings crystal clear that first time?)

...or date someone who was previously in an interracial relationship.

That's just nuts, and way past casually racist in my book. Anyone one that crazy is going to have other weird ideas just waiting in the wings. Run far, far away.
posted by Forktine at 3:48 AM on November 25, 2009


Even if this weren't an ignorant and immoral stance, it'd be a sign of stupidity, which is a pretty good thing to avoid, relationship-wise.

Find a smarter person to have a threesome with.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:56 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


>>How can people me somewhat racially mixed?

>It's not like being pregnant, where you either are or aren't. Racial categories are heavily socially constructed, so ideas of what constitutes "racially mixed" will change from one person to another, from one place to another, and over time.


And adding on to that, ideas of what is "family" fluctuate, too. If your divorced father remarries a woman of another race late in his life, when you are already an adult, does that give you a racially-mixed family? What about adopted siblings? For some people the answer would be clearly yes, for others, not so much so -- I can think of plenty of examples in contemporary society that might count as "somewhat."
posted by Forktine at 4:23 AM on November 25, 2009


She's dropped the n-bomb; but she lived in a diverse Chicago neighborhood, has a black best friend, and went to a "black party" with you. What is the context of these n-bombs?

Once during a road rage incident. The second time, she referred to some of the clients at work as that word.

Could be wrong, but I think what the OP meant is that she calls any Spanish-speaking person "Mexican", whether they were born in Mexico or Puerto Rico or Venezuela or Chicago.


You are correct.

I don't understand your wording here. How can people me somewhat racially mixed?
I'm really close to my first cousins on that side of the family, and interact with them on a regular basis. One is dating a black guy. Another one is married to an Iraqi woman. A third one has adopted three hispanic children.

Huh? What does that mean

What I said. I've lost count on how many times I've been turned down previously because I'm not blonde. I just mentioned that because I think that is another symptom of people out there being intolerant and closed-minded. I mean, how uncultured do you have to be, to be ONLY attracted to blondes and you're an adult?

Date some non-white people?

I have tried that before, but I ran into two problems: I have trouble finding non-white people that I can relate to well enough to date (cultural differences), and the ones I have related well to (less cultural differences) rejected me. And some of the non-whites are prejudiced against other non-whites, especially those from the second group. Which leads to....

It seems like I just need to be more patient and get to know folks before I try to date them. I guess I'm using the wrong criteria (liberal, from diverse area, have minority friends, and even being minorities themselves) to gage people's open-mindedness. Or perhaps this is just a numbers thing, the more I get out, the more likely find someone less closed-minded.
posted by Eleutherios at 5:36 AM on November 25, 2009


Well, again, what did she say when you called her out for using the n-word?
posted by Danila at 7:09 AM on November 25, 2009


I think the non-blond thing is separate. Someone who is attracted to a particular body type or characteristic isn't necessarily racist. A preference for blonds is really no different than liking large breasts or a certain height for a partner. Sexual attraction isn't egalitarian. I'm a bit stumped as to why so many people have told you specifically that being a non-blond is an issue. That seems odd.

The criteria you're using to find someone open-minded won't work as well as meeting people through friends who share your views.
posted by 26.2 at 7:52 AM on November 25, 2009


It's not like 3 weeks is a huge time commitment or anything - if it were me, I'd run.
posted by Kurichina at 8:17 AM on November 25, 2009


I'm a bit stumped as to why so many people have told you specifically that being a non-blond is an issue. That seems odd.

Not odd for a peer group in which one hears "I wouldn't date someone who had been in an interracial relationship" frequently. I am still freaked out by that one, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:43 AM on November 25, 2009


Should I break up with her?

Fuck yes. How is this even a question? How did you not break up sooner?

And it's not your job to educate people about the evils of racism. Little kids can figure this shit out, I'd like to think adults can too.
posted by chunking express at 8:56 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You need to break up with her and make sure she knows why and that it's not okay to be an adult and act that way. She's past the point where she should have learned this. Being tolerant of someone else's blatant intolerance is not the way to handle this.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:36 AM on November 25, 2009


I assume you didn't say a thing when she said racist things, because you don't mention what she did when you said something. And okay, the first time maybe you're floored. But the second time? The third? She's racist, and you're sort of okay with her racism and sort of not. If you're dating someone racist and just ignoring the racism, everyone will -- correctly, I believe -- assume you are also racist. So you can either dump her, or tell her you do not like the racism, and then call her out on it when she says racist stuff.
posted by jeather at 9:56 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, that depends. I have had success with "turning" people - one anti-Semite and two homophobes. It was a long campaign in each case, but I was successful. However. I only attempted this with people I did spend a fair amount of time, and all were intelligent open-minded people. There is the kind I wouldn't even bother with - vicious, stupid and filled with hate.

So you have to make a judgment call. Is this girl open minded? Does she admit when she's wrong, is she open to arguments, or is it like in the Monty Python parrot skit - she'll invent more and more outlandish "arguments" to cling to her position.

Look, it's up to you. There are downsides to hanging out with someone whose outlook is so different in crucial ways. You never know when they'll say something racist that'll just be a downer to you, or socially embarrassing, or hurtful to someone, even as you're trying to "educate" her. And that's the "mild" case. You may discover that her prejudice is actually more malign - not the casual racism born of ignorance and lack of thought. And then you realize that being with someone who is filled with hate is toxic, and you must leave. Better get to the bottom of that sooner rather than later. Is she educable or not?
posted by VikingSword at 1:47 PM on November 25, 2009


Where the hell do you live? I'm Texas, my family is from the RURAL deep south, I have many racist relatives, and I have NEVER heard people use the n-word who wasn't over the age of 70. Seriously. I find it utterly shocking that you have met multiple people who won't date you because you're not blonde, and that you know lots of people who won't date people who have dated interracially.
You have two options: dump her, and TELL HER it's because she's racist and you find it patently offensive, or, really try to set her straight on not being racist anymore. If I thought a potential partner was somehow salvageable despite being a bigot (not likely), I would try to get them to see the error of their ways, and if that didn't work, give them an ultimatum, and if that didn't work, DTMFA. No matter what, you must tell her ASAP that her behavior is completely unacceptable to you. There is very little excuse for a young white person in this day and age thinking it's okay to say the n-word. Do they not have TV or the internet or friends their age who are from various places?
Beyond dealing with this girl, you should maybe look around and evaluate what kind of people you're socializing with because it seems like you're around a disproportionate number of racists.
Also: if she lives in any non-super racist region (I know these exist all over America, in places ranging from the sticks to huge cities) and is under the age of 50, and is still a racist, she is not that "smart."
posted by ishotjr at 4:11 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've lost count on how many times I've been turned down previously because I'm not blonde.

I have to say that this is really bizarre. Even if it's true, the fact that you are actually having conversations about it is odd. Most people, when rejecting a potential partner, do not call out what physical trait was the deal-breaker (and most people don't ask, either). And I would expect such conversations to take place less in a culture that's progressive and diverse than anywhere else. Really, the behaviors you describe of the people you interact with make it sound like you live in a trailer park in the middle of the desert in 1950. I don't think I know anybody who would ever say, even under torture, that they had decided not to date someone because their hair wasn't blonde, even if that was actually the reason.

If your story is true, then I think you could benefit from a major re-evaluation of your whole social situation.
posted by bingo at 5:18 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


One thing everyone here is missing is maybe the girl is racist because she knows a lot of blacks and/or hispanics and they are sleazeballs*. If she has had enough bad interactions that could make her racist. If she spent enough time in a different situation, with a group of blacks/hispanics that behave differently, her racism might very well dissipate.



* I'm NOT suggesting that all blacks/african americans or hispanics are sleazeballs, just the groups that the girl in question knows best and possibly has spent a lot of time around are.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 9:02 AM on November 26, 2009


Before things get serious, let her know it bugs you. Then see how things go - you like her otherwise so date her until you know you can't tolerate it anymore or until she realizes that there's no need to be that racist.. and if a threesome happens in the meantime then that's great, and if you decide you can't tolerate her then at least it won't come as a surprise when you break up with her since you've mentioned to her that her racism bugs you. I guess I'm saying make the most of it while you're still enjoying her company and don't think ahead. In a way, I agree with turgid dahlia - if you both *want* the threesome there's nothing wrong with getting that from her, no need to feel guilty about having the threesome and then dumping her, *if* she knows that the racism an issue for you. If you don't mention it to her just to keep dating her for the threesome then you'd be an asshole.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 11:30 AM on November 26, 2009


Sigh...I had a talk with her about the issue and she did not take it well. I would not be surprised if she actually dumped *me*.

For those asking me how did I react when she dropped the N-bomb. I didn't say anything, out of shock. Both times.

I will keep you all updated on the situation. At this point I'm 85% sure that I will break this up within the next week or two, if she doesn't first.
posted by Eleutherios at 11:53 PM on November 26, 2009


Hmm. Are you now just waiting around, waiting for this thing to die? Maybe your relationships would benefit from you actually being clear about what you want and need. If her being racist truly bothers you, break up with her.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:18 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


i really would like to know how this turns out, if you happen to check this later.
posted by anthropomorphic at 11:02 PM on February 17, 2010


anthropomorphic, Eleutherios' account is closed, just fyi.
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:45 PM on February 18, 2010


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