I started reading Slate’s “Dear Prudence” because it reminded me of a beloved Siouxsie Sioux cover from 1983 (and you scoffed when I said I was a Goth in high school); I continued to read Prudie because her work is quite interesting. Beyond composing her advice column, every week, Prudence (also known as Emily Yoffe) chats online via the Washington Post with people, “about their romantic, family, financial, and workplace problems”. Today’s chat included a doozy of a problem, starring an EVIL BROWN MAN!
Q. Interracial Relationships: My long-term boyfriend recently informed me that, because I’m white and he’s Indian and Muslim, I could never be a good parent to children (that don’t yet exist) that are half his. Basically, he didn’t want to continue our relationship because he believes that Indian/Muslim children should have two Indian/Muslim parents, not one white parent and one Indian/Muslim parent (although if we had children, obviously half of their genes would come from me). When I tried to counter his arguments, he called me racist and said that I would never understand. I had to break up with him, but I’m still so enraged–I would be a great mom to any children, and I seriously think he’s wrong. I think he’s afraid to talk to his parents about our relationship (they have relatively firm religious beliefs, whereas he is nonreligious but values Muslim cultural traditions), so he decided that ending things was the best plan. How should I have reacted, and how do I react now, since he still wants to be friends? (Note: This isn’t about religion. He is quite firmly against organized religion, so he would never ask me to take up any religious beliefs, and offering to do that wouldn’t help the situation, as it would fly in the face of his beliefs about organized religion.)
A: I’m afraid that when someone says he finds you unsuitable as a potential mother to his children, he wins that argument by default. You are understandably enraged at the end of this relationship. But over the long run, you will be happier that you didn’t try to force someone to merge his DNA with yours just to show you how wrong he was. For some people, when it comes time to make marriage and reproduction decisions, their spouse’s ethnic or religious background doesn’t matter. Other people find it does. Of course it’s painful that your boyfriend has now informed you he’s in this latter camp after several years together. But since you want to become a mother, you have to move on and find someone else you can spend your life with. And for your own emotional health, that may mean taking a pass on his offer of “friendship.”
Oh, dear. I don’t want to seem unsympathetic to this woman’s complaints because, sister, we’ve all been there…brown, white, black, olive…who among us hasn’t been blue over love? As someone who spent the totality of her teens convinced that she would never, ever have a boyfriend and would never, ever be loved, I will always feel for anyone whose heart is aching. It’s pure awfulness with a chaser of real pain. There’s no denying how brutal rejection is, how it reaches in to your core and eviscerates you as if you are an extra in an extra-vile video game. It hurts. It hurts so very much. Continue reading