Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: “Blame Game Fail”

This week, Jenée Desmond-Harris and Akoto Ofori-Atta discuss a Prudie letter: “Blame Game Fail

Akoto Ofori-Atta: It’s funny because every time you send me the responses to choose from, I’m mostly like “ehh, don’t feel like talking about racism today, let’s go with some messy relationship drama instead.” I couldn’t ignore this one though, and it still has relationship drama, so let’s go!

I have to say, I commend the LW. He did the right thing, and he knows he did the right thing, which is good!

Jenée Desmond-Harris: Yeah, like I said in my response, he made a MUCH better choice than a lot of parents who date or remarry and just very much want to create a fake happy family at any cost.

Akoto: Right. He also went through an exercise in his letter that I think would be useful to him in helping ease the pain of this break up. Like, yes, what happens if you guys have kids? What do you do when half of your imaginary kid’s family/potential caretakers despise imaginary kid’s sister? How can you rely on them in any meaningful way? The relationship just doesn’t seem tenable long-term!

Jenée: Right! Or even if—and I think this is more likely—they don’t despise her but they want to be free to be racist around her.

Akoto Ofori-Atta: Omg totally.

It’s funny because every time you send me the responses to choose from, I’m mostly like “ehh, don’t feel like talking about racism today, let’s go with some messy relationship drama instead.” I couldn’t ignore this one though, and it still has relationship drama, so let’s go!

I have to say, I commend the LW. He did the right thing, and he knows he did the right thing, which is good!

Jenée: Also, can we talk about this: “My GF’s argument is that she keeps in touch with them because otherwise they won’t hear any other point of view.” I mean … what.

Akoto: I lol’d at that—your brother has a swastika tattoo.

Jenée: I’m really hard on people for being racist and really hard on people for being dumb, I realize this. But I want him to realize that this was kind of a worthless person he was dating. You didn’t break up because of like, an unsustainable long-distance situation. You broke up because of her bad thinking and horrible values! Go ahead and be mad!

Akoto: I am a believer in transformation, but this entire family is gone. Her siblings went and found out-and-proud racists to marry! It’s over for them. They are beyond saving.

Jenée: Again, he did a great thing for his daughter.

Akoto: Also, the ex really told on herself by letting him leave Thanksgiving and go off on his own.

Jenée: Right! She was going to choose someone with a Nazi tattoo over her partner and possibly future spouse.

Akoto: She is “this is my man and Ima stick beside ‘em” personified.

Jenée: You know what I just realized? He thinks the racism was a problem for his daughter but not for him. Like, he wasn’t personally offended.

Akoto: EXACTLY.

Jenée: He’s just a protective dad, and being a good dad is huge. But also, maybe, try to be a good person? Try to muster up the idea that you, too, are a person who doesn’t want to be around racists?

Akoto: Right, but he needs to reorient some things here.

Jenée: Especially for the sake of his kid, going forward.

Akoto: He has a lot of generous readings of racism.

Jenée: As a biracial kid, you want your white parent to be as disgusted by racism as you are—not just strategic about protecting you from it.

Akoto: “My grandma said something she overheard in the 50s and hasn’t thought about since.” No sir. She’s thought about it, that’s why she remembers it 70 years later! And yes, that is an excellent point. If you have a biracial child, this woman shouldn’t have made it very far.

Jenée: I’m proud of him for leaving (during Thanksgiving! in a way that required staying at a seedy hotel!), but I’m worried that he still loves her and is having a hard time feeling mad at her or disappointed in her.

Akoto: He does love her.

Jenée: He’s very vulnerable to going back.

Akoto: But to your point, he’s going to have to change who he is before he realizes he has something to be mad at her for.

Jenée: All she would have to say would be “okay, I’ll talk to my family about using slurs in your daughter’s face” and he might think that would be a reasonable compromise, because love makes everyone irrational.

Akoto: Love does make everyone irrational. But he does seem to understand that he needs to protect his daughter, and even if he agreed to some compromise, it would only be a matter of time before he’d have to make a choice again.

Jenée: Right, which is a good start. I guess my bottom line is: Try to be a little mad at her.
And work some stuff about family into your first-date screening questions.

Akoto: There are lots of reasons to be! It also seems she wasn’t even upfront about how horrible her family was at the beginning. Don’t go back bro! There are other beautiful, smart, and kind people you can date who have normal families you wouldn’t have to protect your daughter from.