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Started by aliceison, January 23, 2011, 09:13:50 am

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aliceison

Am I a bigot?  The Thesaurus gives such words as "extremist, racist, hypocrite, chauvinist, etc., to offer words for bigot.... It sure seems contra to what I am and yet my son's claim I am. 

We are traditional white, middle class folk with a protestant orientation.  We have 2 adult sons, both over 35; one is married to a girl from Mexico and the other a Black girl.  Both girls I like a great deal, and really have nothing to say about them that I dislike.  I will admit that it's not easy having daughter-in-laws that are of different ethnic and race backgrounds, as daughter in laws and mother in laws have enough difficulty bonding without adding more.  I have never seen myself as a bigot or even prejudice but than too I have been predominantly associated with people of my same ethnicity my entire life so I agree that some uncomfortableness's might show from time to time.  I truly think that I try very hard and work even harder to not cause anger or resentment, but sure enough just when I "think" things are going well, I end up offending someone somehow. 

I believe that we can change minor "stuff" about ourselves but entire personalities....no, we are what we are, like it or not.  Having love in our heart, treating people with kindness, not being vindictive, being honest, fair, and striving for acceptance are the important things.  There simply are just some traits one can not change.  Learning to just "accept" the good with the bad needs to be everyone's goal; I never was able to do that with my own parents, so maybe this is my "payback"

My biggest fault is my mouth, my mom used to say to me, "people don't want to hear all that".  I always spoke my mind and said what I felt.  My parents were like most people, they would be nice to people to their face but as soon as out of sight they would say terrible things about them.  I always hated that, talking behind others backs, or saying one thing just to keep peace but feeling another or complaining.  So I go to the extreme I guess and just say my truth.  In my perception I have gotten a bit more subdued about it, now I often wait until I am asked.  But then one's perception is not always another's.

My other big down fall is I come off to others as thinking I know it all.  This one is really difficult because at times it is just me trying to identify or join in or be apart of, or let them know I understand them or accept them......but it comes off as knowing it all.  I really have a hard time with this.  I don't want to feel insecure or have low self esteem, but it seems to always be my battle.  When our children do not like us it just cements those tender negative thoughts of ourselves; such a way of it; I can't seem to "not care".

Not being a part of my children's lives is so painful; any parent knows what I mean.  I guess I need to practice what I preach and learn to accept, I can not "make" them accept and forgive me; to appreciate what my attempts are and the minor strides I do make.  I guess I need to just accept being alone is okay.  I want closeness with my boys and their wives just too much, I gotta let that go. 

I know me and regardless, I will continue to try and notice what I say, how I say it, and when I say it..... I will continue to try and change myself so I am "okay" in their perception.  But I too need to forgive myself when I fall short and not beat myself up for not being accepted.  I can not live the rest of my life in turmoil, sleepless nites, and self chastise-zation...

luise.volta

Welcome. Not knowing what you said or did to get called a bigot, I don't know what I can offer. You speak in generalities about your personality and presentation...and there's nothing there that is any more than being  an individual...that I can see.

Being outspoken can come back and bite us, that's how we learn to pull back...and appearing to know it all can wear heavily on others. Most of us here are working on polishing our interfacing skills.

What happened and how did you handle it? It may not be you. We have a lot of women here who have been banned just because they were once authority figures in their adult children's lives and apparently are never going to be forgiven for being human. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Pen

Aliceison, welcome. I appreciate your honesty about your shortcomings, as well as your questions regarding your traditionally held beliefs and attitudes. You've made a giant leap towards progress already and are willing to make more changes. I'm sorry things aren't better between you and your sons & DILs.

IMHO, becoming more tolerant and accepting is always a good thing. Do it for you, not just for your kids. If they cannot appreciate the effort you're making, perhaps they're just grasping at any excuse to break away from you. We've seen that happen, as Luise said, over some really minor issues. Best wishes.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Pooh

I think Pen nailed it with the words "tolerance and acceptance".  I think bigotry is flat out intolerance or acceptance of other people (can be color, race, sexual orientation, etc.).  I think just you saying how much you like your DILs shows that you are not.  My best friend is gay.  I love her and accept her for who she is, but it doesn't mean I want to be gay myself.  I go to birthday parties for her where I am in the minority, and have been uncomfortable at times. I don't see that as bigotry but as Luise said, individualism.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

aliceison

Wow.... I am so thrilled to have found this site, already can see there are kindred spirits here.  Thanks already.  It was asked of me to offer some examples.... that is really hard for me because what they call prejudice I don't see so its like, "what are you taking about".  In my attempt to give you examples, after writing it down, it all sounds "stupid".  Most things I have done that they have told me of, I think about and than feel badly I did it, but yet really did not mean anything by it.  Like once when I told my son that a mutual friend's daughter had a baby girl by a black man and the one thing her mom was so concerned about with the baby having really "kinky hair".  The reason was that my friend would have difficulty combing her new granddaughter's hair herself.  My son found that to be very very rude.  I guess the reference to "kinky"?  Now I get it, I guess, but that is the sort of thing.  My Hispanic DIL and myself have worked through lots of issues, but I still have difficulty with her and her friends speaking Spanish when people are around that don't speak Spanish.  I really appreciate the words of Pen for saying "they might just be grasping at any excuse to break away from you".  Sadly I think this is partly the answer, for if it was not, I would be told "in kindness" when I might be doing or saying inappropriate things & or (MOST OF ALL) given the benefit of doubt on "any" issue.  It is sooo sooo sooo hard to see ourselves how others see us, not sure it's even possible; and than to change something, wow......   I now can see much more clearly how difficult it must have been for my mom when I wanted her to understand something and she just could not "get it".

luise.volta

Good for you for taking a step back. Not easy to do but it can offer clarity. And by the way if bi-lingual people speak a language around me that I can't understand and they could just as well use English, I think it's rude! I just stand there looking stupid and wonder if they are talking about me. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Pen

I was called racist once for mixing up "Roomba" (the robot vacuum) with "Zoomba" (the dance exercise program.) It certainly wasn't intentional on my part, but I get what they meant.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

LaurieS

I had to chuckle over the "kinky" hair comment, only because I could see that easily happening especially in my household.... Had your son been so offended then why did he not take the time to inform you of what is considered an acceptable term.  I think any mature adult can judge first the manner in which a word is used, and if there is nothing malicious being implied then it might be time to lighten up a little.

Being accepting does not mean that you are blind either.  Nor does it mean that you are dumb.. and speaking in another language only to prevent someone from being privy to what is being said.. is rude. 

Pen, wasn't that a silly stupid thing for someone to attempt to label you a racist over? 

MrsKitty

On the issue of speaking a different language in front of others--I think people really need to be more understanding when others speak in their first language (not English) among friends. I did a study abroad program in high school and one of the program rules was you had to speak entirely in the foreign language for the several months that you were in the country. It was a great learning experience because I learned the language so much better than I would have if I had reverted back to English when I couldn't figure out how to say something. Instead, I had to try to come up with words that I did know, and ask a native speaker for help. Let me tell you, my brain HURT at the end of every night for about a month because you don't realize how much you have to actively THINK in order to speak in a foreign language, if it is not your first language. So, please give people a break when they speak in their mother language--their brains might hurt from trying to think in English all the time!

Pooh

MrsKitty, I think the difference is you were abroad.  If I went to France, and they were speaking French around me, I wouldn't consider that rude.  But if you are in my living room, and know English, then I expect it.  I am with Luise in thinking that if someone reverts to another language around me, I am wondering if they are saying something they don't want me to hear.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

LaurieS

Sure they are Pooh... probably saying to each other that your table is dusty :) 

Pooh

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

luise.volta

Three cheers for dusty tables...we have better things to do...even if it's nothing! 8)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Pooh

I figure if I let enough dust accumulate, I can draw in it and claim it's new dust art.... ;D
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

luise.volta

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama