My boyfriend is Muslim and I'm Christian. We don't mind
since we share the same values and we're crazy for each other. Even better, my
parents adore him and his adore me. The only problem is that when my mom told
her sister, she freaked out and said he can't be trusted because of his faith.
I'm not going to break up with him because I know he's a good person, but it
bums me that my aunt doesn't see it that way. Is there anything I can do to
change her mind?
First, awesome job on finding a guy who both you and your parents like. And kudos for being open-minded.
But as you so unfortunately discovered, not everyone dismisses stereotypes so
readily. Prejudice is an easy thing to find and a difficult thing to face –
especially when it's coming from a family member. This advice isn't going to
rid all of the world's intolerance (we wish), but hopefully it will patch up
this sticky family sitch.
Open mind, open discussion
Start off with a warm and heartfelt talk. Tell her that
though you respect her, you were hoping she would be more tolerant and
accepting of your boyfriend and his beliefs. Calmly stand true to your
principles, but more importantly, avoid any blame games or sweeping
generalizations. After all, those pesky presumptions are what started this
problem in the first place.
Knowledge is power
They say people fear what they do not know. Suggest
discussing some of his religion's beliefs with her. If she's open to it, your
aunt will find that unlike the extremists portrayed in the media, Islam
promotes good will and peace. Once she understands this, she'll be able to see
your guy for who he is, and not the negative stereotypes she has ingrained in
If she won't budge in taking off her bigoted blinders, don't
let that bother you. Realize that those beliefs are hers – no matter how much
you disagree – and put this discordance out of your minds at family
get-togethers. Most importantly, remember to stick to your convictions while
still being considerate of others' opinions. Your aunt might not change her mind,
but maybe you'll inspire others to be more accepting.
Good luck, girl!
BY KARMEN FOX ON 12/6/2011 12:55:00 PM
POSTED IN happy holidays, problems with my parents, 411 on family feuds, my parents are way-strict, how to talk to parents, religion