If Your Significant Other’s Family Members Are Racist, Is That a Dealbreaker?

It recently came out that my future husband and one of the most loveliest Olympians in the world, Ryan Lochte, has a very racist sister. In fact she seems to have a great affinity for the word “chink” when talking about Asians. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use that word since the show All in the Family was on forever ago.

After coming back from the 2008 Olympics, Megan Lochte went on some show in Baltimore called Closing Time where she proceeded to say some really disgusting and offensive stuff about the people of Beijing. Her ignorance is more reminiscent of something from the 1800′s as opposed to anything you’d hear today. I’d like to believe she’s joking in some fucked up way, but if you watch the video, you’ll see that she’s not only not joking, but actually finds herself quite humorous.

So what happens when you find out the love of your life is a related to a racist? Is it a dealbreaker? Do you run for the hills? Because we all know that family dinners are going to blow if you have to listen to someone drop a racial slur every few minutes. And if you have kids, exactly how are you going to explain to your teacher the reason your daughter keeps calling her Asian classmates something that they think is appropriate because your sister-in-law is an asshole?

Personally, I’d run. Not just because she’s a racist twit, but that hat of hers is pretty nauseating, too.


Photo: YouTube

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    • Katy

      As someone WITH a racist family I’m quite thankful that my love didn’t run. Let me explain. We aren’t all a bunch of back alley redneck racists. My mother’s side of the family is a very inviting, liberal & open minded. My father’s… is not. (They were never married)
      Now, it’s not like every meal racism is brought up & luckily for the peace between me & my father my love is the same ethnicity as me, but there was one time when Dad had had a few too many & made an off color joke & my Mister held his tongue. For my sake. I apologized for putting him in that position & he said something to the effect of “you aren’t your father & you can’t control what he says” (have I mentioned he’s wonderful?)

      So, that being said I don’t believe you should judge someone by the people who happen to be in their family. Yes, it could increase the chances of that person being a racist, but that’s not always the case

    • Southerngirl

      I agree with the first commenter that you are not your family. But saying that I would be crystal clear with any potential soul mates about ANYTHING that is a non negotiatable. Even though I am a multi generational southerner neither of my parents have racial prejudices. My mother had no tolerance for bad manners, but that is about it. Never asked Daddy if that bugged him, ;)

    • Kj

      Much like commenters above, I hope it’s not a deal breaker.

      I have a brother who thinks that the “N” word is hilarious, and parents for whom bashing south asians is a daily pastime. I have already been labeled the PC Police for calling them out on it occasionally, so I have learned to mostly keep my mouth shut for the sake of household harmony. Thing is, they are generally good people and would not let it particularly affect their behaviour (and trust me, this is not me saying, “they have (insert race) friends, so they can’t be racist!”) – but they don’t realize that spouting racist shit is just as bad as doing racist shit in many cases – especially since they are teachers, and I feel bad about the subtle effect that this must have on their students of colour, knowing that they come home and talk about how all students of “x race” look dead behind the eyes, and that they don’t realize that saying “child y of x race has that special intelligence that so few of *them* have” is actually a really fucking racist thing to say.

      Yeah, so anyhoo that was pretty rambling and incoherent, but my point is that we have gotten into screaming matches about this, so no, nooooo I am not my racist family and I sure hope it’s not a deal breaker.

    • Nicole

      In this situation, probably a deal breaker. If it was say racist grandparents or aunt/uncle or even parent maybe, I’d give it a shot, but sister seems too close, considering that they were probably raised with the same values morals and the like. And even if he’s not racist as well, he probably has some other closed-minded views that he’s not aware are completely wrong, and I don’t want to find out about those 6 months down the line.

    • Me

      I’m Mexican and my boyfriends are usually white with semi-racist family members who don’t really like Mexicans, but I couldn’t care less.

    • Jenniwren

      There are a few variables here. For instance, is it the whole family, or just one crazy/angry member that everyone else really hopes won’t get started during Christmas dinner (I’ve been there)? Is your significant other bothered by it too? Or do they just ignore it and get defensive when the subject is broached?
      I think it’s very true that you’re never going to love or even like ALL of your S.O.’s family or friends, but I think as long as your S.O. supports you and isn’t all, ” love me, love Mildred my homophobic aunt” and you actually do like the majority then you can live with it. And also, by the time you start meeting family members it’s to be hoped that you know your S.O. well enough to be sure that they aren’t racist or homophobic or sexist.

    • Steve P

      I was very fortunate to be raised in a home that was prejudice-free. My father came to this country as a refugee from the Holocaust and his parents, and most of his other relatives, died in concentration camps. Therefore, in the home I grew up in prejudice of any kind was strongly frowned upon, to put it mildly.
      My wife came from a different background and her parents, particularly her father were quite prejudiced in many ways. In our case it was not a deal breaker, for which I am thankful, because we had a wonderful 33 year long marriage which only ended with her untimely passing 4½ years ago.
      One reason why it was not a deal breaker for us was that in spite of the prejudices that she was raised with she was flexible and open-minded enough that she was willing to learn. She was not afraid to reexamine and reconsider the ideas that she had been brought up with. For my part, I was aware of how fortunate I had been in my upbringing, and consequently knew enough to be patient as she struggled with these issues. She also careful to never pass any prejudices on to our children.
      In response to the question you pose, as to whether it is a deal breaker if your significant other’s family is racist, I have to reply that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the two individuals involved and to a lesser extent on their families.

    • Maggie

      My ex’s parents were both extremely prejudiced; his Dad was straight up racist, whereas his Mom was your garden variety ignorant a**hole. His father was in the military and started talking once about how he “saw some piece of sh*t in a turban walking around base” and didn’t get why they would “let those people in the army.” His Mom also spouted this gem: “I don’t think lesbians should be allowed to use dildos, they made their choice.” Yeah. That bad. I talked to my ex about it and he told me to “lighten up” cause that was how they were. That made me see him in a totally different way; he put up with blatant racism and homophobia, and laughed at the jokes. It was a serious red flag, because if he thought it was funny, what would he teach our potential future children? The relationship ended pretty soon after that, thank god.