Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
By The Bad Advisor
“I am engaged to a great guy with many wonderful qualities, and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him.
But he is prejudiced against one specific race, which also happens to be the race of several of my ex-boyfriends. He works in law enforcement, so part of me wants to attribute the racism to the fact that he has seen this particular race do many horrible things that I haven’t. This seems like a pretty trivial thing — we all have some sort of bias or prejudice — but it’s getting to the point where I can’t even talk to a member of this race in a work meeting about a work-related project without my fiance turning it into a huge fight and accusing me of trying to be a liaison for all [race] people.
He doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong, and I end up being the one to apologize and try to fix things — even though I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong either. The amount of time and energy we have spent arguing about this race is downright embarrassing.
I know you can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself, but short of moving to a commune in Massachusetts, I’m not sure what I can do. This seems like such a small thing to break up over, but it also seems like something I can’t argue about for the rest of my life.”
— From “Fiancee” via “Carolyn Hax,” Washington Post, 2 December 2017
Ugh, it is always such a drag when a little wholesale, virulent racism gets in the way of your dream wedding to a huge, obsessive racist! You’re just over here madly in love with an amazing man who believes that an entire race of people are fundamentally inferior to other humans, just trying to live your life like anybody who would rather not be mildly inconvenienced by the unabashed, rampant bigotry of their loved ones, and this piddly little matter of your dear fiance’s unchecked hatred rears its tiny, silly little head.
What an awful position you are in — imagine the potential outcome of staying together forever with this awesome dude who can’t abide the mention of an entire race of people without berating you at length for acknowledging their existence! You might have to discuss it further! Nothing on earth could possibly be worse than having to occasionally talk about racial prejudice with a police officer who lives to deride and attack those he has sworn to serve. Yep, that is 100% for sure the worst possible thing about a racist cop, is that people who affirmatively choose to bone him for eternity might have to listen to his bullshit, a terrible and unthinkable consequence that would be the most ghastly thing a human being on earth could ever go through.
And really, why should you break up over something as inconsequential as the vile and repulsive beliefs that occupy your racist partner’s thoughts both at work and at home, making up a core aspect of his racist personality? We all have flaws! Some people chew with their mouths open, others tell the same stories over and over, and some of us, like the man you dream of spending the rest of your life with, are odious, repugnant racists who live to espouse and rehash their foul ideologies day in and day out. Your future husband probably puts up with your quirks — you probably leave your socks under the coffee table or forget to pick up kitty litter on occasion — so try to be a little more understanding when your fiance, who is regularly armed with a deadly weapon and encouraged to use it with almost indiscriminate power, repeatedly reiterates his deep and abiding hatred for people based on the color of their skin. You needn’t move to a commune in Massachusetts to give yourself the gift of ceasing to pretend like you care.
“I need your help. Over the past few weeks, I have been vacationing at my mother-in-law’s home. The other day I was browsing on her computer and accidentally opened her browsing history. It turns out that she regularly looks at and responds to Craigslist personals.
I was shocked when I read some of the perverted requests she has responded to. The language she used would make a sailor blush. Keep in mind, my mother-in-law is a married woman.
I don’t know how to react. Should I tell my wife? Keep it to myself? Make a fake Craigslist post and catch her in the act? “
— From “KINKS IN THE FAMILY” via “Dear Abby,” 12 November 2017
Dear Kinks in the Family,
What a trauma it must have been for you to make the agent and affirmative decision to go out of your way to intentionally and on purpose read many of your mother-in-law’s responses to personal ads. I’m so sorry for what you endured after you had the option not to dive into your mother-in-law’s browsing history and did it anyway. This whole situation that you absolutely could have avoided is really unfortunate for you.
The only solution is, as you say, to make a big public show of catching your mother-in-law in a perverted sex act, maybe even one with you, which is a real thing that is definitely a possibility and a favor your entire family will really appreciate the next time they accidentally read about it in the Penthouse letters section.
“I submit that even if my conduct is incorrect, I am entitled to a presumption that said conduct is an honest mistake, unless the conduct is truly heinous — which, in my case, it never is. Of course, others are likewise entitled to the same presumption from me. What do you think?”
— Via “Miss Manners,” Washington Post, 27 November 2017
You’re great and everybody likes you and is dying to be around you all the time because you’re delightful and interesting and nobody on earth thinks you should just shut the fuck up already about the incident at the office holiday party, Kevin. It’s been eight years.