Family Bigotry Upsets Grandpa
Q: My grandson and son are not allowed to see or speak to anyone on their father's side of the family due to my daughter-in-law's strong racist views against her English mother-in-law whose English family were army people. One of the officers married a gura woman, and therefore she had inherited an Asian look. Being English myself, I fail to see why an event that took place 6000 miles away and 150 years ago makes us bad people. My question is should an 8 year old be allowed to know the truth when he turns 15? Having us sit around a table to try to discuss this issue is out of the question due to the violence that might ensue. -- Robert, 70
Dr. Susan: One would hope that such bigotry had died out by now, but alas, as you see in your own family, the younger generations carry it on. Of course it's nonsense for your grandson to be denied knowledge of his genealogy and history. I would suggest you try talking to your son before divulging family "secrets" to your grandson. Secrets cause a lot of harm, and your son should never have agreed to cut off his own side of the family for such nebulous (and nutty) reasons. Forget sitting around a table at this point. Whenever your grandson asks questions of you or his father, he should be answered honestly. Certainly by the time he's an adult this ugly/silly/irrational prejudice in your family ought to be ended.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.