How To Be a Better Dad: Dealing With Racism 

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How To Be a Better Dad: Dealing With Racism 

How To Be a Better Dad is the fatherhood and co-parenting section on SingleDad. Share and exchange great fatherhood advice from our members who are in all stages of fatherhood. This month, learn how to deal with and protect your child against racism. 

Dear SingleDad, 

My girlfriend and I have recently had a son. We aren’t apart but we aren’t married. A big reason for me that we aren’t married is I can’t stand her family. I’m Hispanic, they’re white, and extremely racist. Now that we have our son I feel even more bothered. I don’t want this to be normal coming from his own blood or to put up with it because it’s family even though I have for so long. What do I do as the father? 

-Sal, 27 

I am so sorry to hear you going through this and I can imagine the stress increasing with your son. How does your girlfriend feel about it? How does she act towards it? She can help play a big role in moving forward. 

  • Boundaries 

Again, your girlfriend can play a big role here. Being her family, raised in this type of closed minded, racist environment, but choosing to think differently, choosing to stand up for you and your son may cause an end to this. 

  • Confrontation 

The greatest outcome would be setting boundaries (ex: do not talk that way in front of Sal or our son) causes an end to this behavior. Usually with ignorant people, it’s never the ideal outcome. There may be questioning, becoming defensive, attacking, unhealthy communicating, tunnel vision, etc. This is when confrontation comes in – yourself and your girlfriend can say what is wrong, why it is wrong, why you no longer want it to happen. Try to keep your ego out of it as best as you can to maintain healthy communication (even if it’s only on your part) especially in front of your son. 

  • Letting Go 

If all else fails, which this sounds to me it has been going on for quite some time, it is time to let go. Blood or not, there is no rule or duty you owe someone your time and energy. We can not control others thoughts, behaviors, or beliefs. We can converse about them, maybe create change, maybe inspire or be inspired but there should be no force. Even if we feel something is wrong, we can not fight someone into understanding. Some people are stuck in their ways. If we feel they are wrong, we have the power to choose if we want them a part of our time spent. You and your girlfriend can have a conversation about this and work out something so you’re both comfortable- she wants to still see her family, you do not, and how do you both feel they treat your son? Is it healthy for him to be around them? Does your girlfriend want a relationship with them any longer? Letting go is perfectly okay. It is healthy and a part of life. A part of our freedom. A part of growth. Those questions and reassurance I hope can be of help. 

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