I think my father might secretly be racist. I have been dating my boyfriend for about a year now, and decided it was finally time to introduce him to my parents, who live two hours away from me. Although emails and pictures have been sent over the past eleven months, my parents have never met “
Elmont” in person. Elmont is a
light-skinned black man, so it can be difficult to tell his race from
pictures. Since his race has never
mattered to me, I never thought to mention to my parents that he is black.
Over the Labor Day weekend,
and I took a trip back to my home to visit with my parents and have a meet and
greet with the family. My mother was her
usual cordial self but my father was not.
Dad is normally a very welcoming person; he has a big Irish personality
and is the kind of person who likes everybody and everybody likes. This is why I was very surprised to see him
greet Elmont with a handshake instead of a big
hug. His excuse was that he was coming
down with a cold and did not wish to spread it, but I thought he looked fine.
That evening, after dinner, Dad did not offer
Elmont a drink as is his custom when he and Mom host
guests. When I pulled him aside to ask
why, Dad blamed his non-existent cold.
Although the conversation was polite, Dad seemed detached; he claimed it
was the cold medicine he was taking.
The next morning was Sunday, and
and I had planned on taking Mom and Dad out for brunch but Mom said that my
father was not feeling very well, and that perhaps brunch could wait until the
next day. Tazi, we had a barbecue to
attend the next day; we didn’t want to make it a full day of eating and
socializing so Elmont and I went to brunch by
ourselves. Later, my father told me that
he was hurt that we did not want to wait a day to have brunch with him and my
On Labor Day,
Elmont and I
attended a barbeque with family and friends and everyone was happy to meet
him. I thought once my father saw how
everyone loved Elmont that he would warm up to my boyfriend, but he claimed
that he was not feeling well and left the party early; by the time Elmont and I
returned from the party it was late and we had to start back home because we
were working the next day.
At first I thought I was just being paranoid about my father’s coolness towards
Elmont, but he
mentioned to me that he thought my father did not like him. After I got home I called my Mom to let her
know that we were home safe, and I asked her how my father was. Mom told me that Dad was “resting in front of
the TV” and that the weekend had really worn him out. Tazi, he didn’t do anything! I asked Mom to put Dad on the phone so I
could talk to him, and once again he seemed fine – no hint of a cold!
This week, when I spoke to my parents in my weekly phone call, I broached the idea about
Elmont and I
coming home for Thanksgiving, but Mom told me that she and Dad had plans! They will supposedly be taking a four-day
cruise with my aunt and uncle. When I
mentioned that Auntie and Uncle made no mention of the cruise on Labor Day my
mother responded that Labor Day was when the plans were first made; that it was
a last minute thing. I feel like my
parents made these plans just to avoid spending Thanksgiving with Elmont! When I
told my mother this, she was hurt that I could think such a thing and defended
my Dad, saying he really was feeling under the weather.
Tazi, do you think I am being paranoid and hypersensitive, like my Mom says I am? Or could my father be a closet racist, like
Elmont and I
are thinking? I have never seen my
father act this way before, but I also grew up in an exclusive, all-white
neighborhood so I have no standard of reference by which to judge.
Dear Biracial Blues:
Late August and early September is high time for ragweed allergies to make their appearance, making those susceptible feel horrible by turning them into an itchy, watery-eyed, sneezing mess. Allergy medications and cough and cold syrups can help alleviate these symptoms so as to appear like nothing is wrong, but the side effects include lethargy. If your father is one of millions who suffer from allergies this could explain his aberrant behavior.
Although it seems deliberate that your parents have planned to be away for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is probably just a coincidence. You do not say if you have siblings still living at or near home, but you do mention that you live two hours away from your parents and have not been home to visit in several months. Your parents probably decided to plan some “me” time for the holidays and Thanksgiving was the logical choice; it is
busiest travel time of the year.
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.