A Response to the White Woman Who Thinks She’s Progressive for Having a Black Son-in-Law

Posted on
Aug 9, 2016
Posted in: Rants and Raves

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Have you been on the internet recently? If not, let me sum up the entirety of it for you:

Trump, like, ate a baby or something. His constituents are thrilled, because they’re pretty sure the baby was a radical.

The Olympics are showcasing the miraculous things humans can do, even if they have the misfortune of being born women. Seriously, the coverage is so damn sexist that I’m pretty sure that NBC’s announcers are like, 2 seconds away from describing the female weightlifters as “little ladies.” Help us, Leslie Jones. You’re our only hope.

(I am watching this on repeat because it makes me feel better about everything.)

Oh, and a piece of crap article has recently gone viral, as they so often do. The writer is a woman who is filled with God’s love and also possibly methamphetamines. Let’s talk about that last one, because it is currently making me the stabbiest.

This is, I shit you not, the title of the article:

When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband.”

This is actually something that someone willingly wrote, presumably not under torture. I can only assume that there are other pieces in this series, including:

“When God Sends You a … I Think She Might be Pakistani or Maybe Indian? Hairdresser.”

“When God Sends You a Jewish Lawyer (You Say ‘Thank You!’)”

“When God Sends You an Italian Cleaning Lady and You Are Pretty Sure She’s Stealing But You Can’t Get Her Deported Because She’s a Citizen Which Doesn’t Make Sense Because She’s Italian.”

“When God Sends Your Neighbor A Chinese Baby.”

“When Satan Sends Your Husband a Gay Boyfriend.”

Now, I didn’t really want to read this article, because life is short and I’d rather spend it doing virtually anything else, but my family taught me long ago that you can’t truly destroy someone without knowing them. So I read the entire thing, while wincing and sending a play-by-play account of it to my friend Marika (subject of my future article, “When God Sends You a Girlfriend Who Will Fuck Shit Up When Shit Needs Fucking Up.”)
Here’s my email to Marika:

OMG. God “called her bluff” by sending her daughter a black man. “You think you like black people but what happens when the call is coming from INSIDE YOUR DAUGHTER’S VAGINA? AUUUUGGGHHHH!” – God

She calls him “an African American,” which sounds grammatically problematic in a racist way. Like, “the gays.”

Is … is she actually talking him up in a way that suggests that the good things about him are surprising, given his dreads and blackness? Like, “He’s black, but look! He holds doors open for her. WHO KNEW BLACK MEN HAD MANNERS.”

I want to punch this woman in the esophagus.

I’m now just going to pull quotes from this piece of digital crap and scream about them in all caps.

“Glenn moved from being a black man to beloved son when I saw his true identity as … a fellow heir to God’s promises”

WHY DID HE NEED TO “MOVE” FROM BEING A BLACK MAN IN ORDER TO DO THAT? Honestly, she’s so fucking proud of herself for being able to ignore this man’s racial identity, as though being black is antithetical to being a good person.

“loving her well means not only permitting an interracial marriage but also celebrating it.”

Wait, wait, wait. Is there actually a fucking reality where she thinks she could NOT “permit” an interracial marriage?

“Calling Uncle Fred a bigot because he doesn’t want your daughter in an interracial marriage dehumanizes him and doesn’t help your daughter either.”

Actually, it sounds like a great idea, because Uncle Fred is a bigot and I suspect cutting him off might teach him something. Also, I can think of lots of ways in which it would TOTALLY FUCKING HELP YOUR DAUGHTER TO CUT OFF BIGOTS WHO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HER HUSBAND.

“Several people asked Anna and Glenn, “Which world will you live in—black or white?””

I need to know where these people live. I feel like the answer will be “1963.”

I … I don’t even know what to do with myself. The worst part is that I think she genuinely thinks she’s being progressive. I look forward to Glenn’s follow-up article, “What to do When God Sends You A Racist Mother In Law”

Marika’s response was delightful:

Also…could I just interject something here about Anna that confuses me, being a non-godly semi-atheist with Buddhist tendencies?

“He loves Jesus, Mom. That’s it. That’s my wish list. Jesus lover.”

Not even…”I hope he’s nice” or “May his dong be filled with righteousness” or “I want a guy with a Trans Am.” Just… JESUS LOVER. Is it me or is that just like… pretty BASIC? There are billions of people who love Jesus, no? She got a Starbucks coffee and the barista was like “I love Jesus!” and she was all “MARRY ME!” Sorry, Anna, to throw you under the bus. Maybe her mom was minimizing and Anna actually said “It’s really awesome he’s so cute and owns a house and treats me good and has a dong filled with righteous Christ milk, right Mom?” or whatever.

YES, MARIKA, YES.

 

The premise of this article is fucking terrifying. This is a woman who is trying to deal with the idea that her daughter’s husband is black. That is literally the entirety of the mental obstacle she had to overcome and for the record REALIZING THAT SOMEONE IS SIMULTANEOUSLY BLACK AND A GOOD PERSON SHOULD NOT BE A MENTAL OBSTACLE FOR ANYONE. And ignoring or overcoming someone’s racial identity is fucked up for lots of reasons. It suggests that there is something that you need to ignore or overcome. It robs the other person of a key part of their identity, it prevents you from truly being empathetic to their experiences. To quote the awesome Hari Kondabolu, “If you don’t see race then you don’t see racism, and what good are you?”

Overlooking someone’s race because they share the same value system as you doesn’t make you open-minded – it makes you a bigot. And not even a very self-aware bigot.

And the author didn’t just have these thoughts, she felt the need to write them down for the entire world. Because she sincerely thought that her words were kind and enlightened and progressive. That her ideas were nuanced and important and that someone could learn something from them. But honestly, the only thing anyone needs to learn from this is that bigots are out there, and they haven’t got the faintest clue that they’re bigots.

Leave a Comment

  • Brian Glick

    Wow! A tour de force of awesomeness.

  • Bravo.

  • Dani Fagan

    Can totally relate to this story although must have been living under a rock to have missed its vile viralness. I was at a dinner a few weeks ago where a guy was talking about his sister and her black husband. He spent about 15 mins defending his sisters choice by wittering on about him having a good job and being nice to her even though he had deadlocks etc etc. I was utterly stunned. Our generation too not even oldies with no clueys!

  • Theresa

    I’ve missed your quick-witted, salty humor in this space over the last couple of weeks. This post had me literally laughing out loud (and then kind of wanting to cry). I shared it with my husband who comes from a family with similar evangelical inclinations and progressive delusions. He (my husband) then found this. Apparently her twitter is now bloated with religious humility and remorse… :

  • Theresa

    Also… I love how her only REAL acceptance of her son in law boils down to his relationship with Jesus. Like what if it was a relationship with Buddha? Or Allah? Or heaven forbid he was an atheist or humanist?! Then I guess he’d still just be a filthy rotten black man to her? What in the actual fuck?

    • Then it would be her wholehearted mission in life to convert him to white Jesus.

  • Merry Morud

    Wait.
    You skipped over the part where her “unrealistic expectations” (thank god she’s pious enough not to hope too much) would’ve included him being a nuclear rocket scientist and taking that expertise to the mission field… ? Wh-wh-whaaaaat?

  • Thank you for pointing out what many people probably wouldn’t even notice, Geraldine. People seem to like to convince themselves how kind/progressive/Christian they are by seeing enough good in someone to enable them to be able to overlook the obvious bad. SMH

  • I would laugh if it wasn’t so sad to see that there are actual still so many small minded people. We still have a long way to go!

  • Thomas

    Hmmm.

    Here’s my read of the article you criticize:

    “I thought I was a reasonable and open-minded person about my daughter’s future, especially about the one who will be her husband.

    But something happened and showed me it was not the case: her husband was black.

    Contrary to what I was more or less unconsciously assuming, he is a very fine man and I regret my presumptions. Anna, my daughter, actually showed me the most important thing, in our eyes: he loves Jesus.

    I thought I never shared the prejudice against interracial marriage. But, as it appears, it was in principle only because I considered the issue to be abstract and so remote it would never affect me in any way.

    Had I thought like a Christian should, I would have remembered the 8 following things:

    (…)

    Anna definitely remembered them and, as I witnessed her judgment being worthy of trust, it reminded these to me.”

    So. In my eyes, it’s clear that this woman is presenting herself, right from the beginning, as not that open-minded and even that she deluded herself thinking she was!

    It’s also clear that, yes, there are some people in the world for whom there is a mental obstacle about the situation of being simultaneously black and a good person. I did not need Ms. Clark’s article to learn about that.

    Ms. Clark shared her personal story about her presumptions and how she got passed them. I thus think her article is worthy of consideration because it is certainly able to engage with interesting ideas people who are more bigoted and less open to change than her. Giving her own example is a powerful way to initiate brand new thinking in other people.

    Several times you quite point out the notion of “not real progressivism”. But, by definition, it’s a movement of growth, not a particular place one can locate precisely. Yet your reasoning appears to say just that.

    You seem to take offense that this woman, who progressed in a direction you’re definitely rooting for, hasn’t reached a level enlightened enough (despite she and her daughter’s husband probably will get along well).

    And you even seem to take offense at the fact she documented her growth. I would think one praising progressivism would praise the change, however humble.

  • Lisa

    I love your blog Geraldine, I think you’re amazing, but this makes me sad. I don’t think that your words are very kind or enlightened or progressive either. I can’t read the article, it has been taken down, but from what you wrote and the comments, it sounds like this woman is living in a very small religious bubble and has quite possibly had to muster some courage in admitting publicly the component of her bigotry that she has been able to overcome. While in your mind – and mine and the global left wing as a whole – she still has a (very) long way to go, showering individuals with hatred from a high horse doesn’t contribute to progress. We can’t bully people into changing their worldview. The Trump campaign will win if hatred wins.

    Aren’t we all bigots to some extent? Don’t most people react with instinctual xenophobia sometimes, even if we are able to suppress it intellectually? Even you? In the post you published the day after this one, you’re quite rude to the entire Spanish culture, and you also feel the need to point out that your friend is gay even though his sexuality has nothing to do with the topic of the post.

    Anyway. Still think you’re awesome, if not perfect, as all of us.

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