Auntie SparkNotes: My Friend Is a Racist Hater
Hi Auntie SparkNotes!
I have an issue with a friend I have. We get along well, we have fun, all the things friends should do. Things should be good, right?
Sadly, no. From some of our conversations, and just judging by what he complains about, he's shown to me that he is a hater. A TRUE hater, and a racist, too. He always makes racial remarks about Asians, some of which are not jokes. He talks about Mexicans who always "jump the border" and how we should just get rid of Mexico by "blowing it up" (speaking of which, I'm half Mexican). What really gets at me is how much hatred he harbors for Muslims, or anyone who is Middle Eastern or wears a head covering. He's basically stereotyped everyone because of 9/11. Don't get me wrong, 9/11 was terrible, but we were 5! And he blames everyone for that and thinks it's justified to hate anyone who uses the word "Allah."
I'm sure that I won't deal with this, since I am basically the exact opposite, but I have no idea how to point out to him how hateful he is without ruining our friendship. Not only that, but I feel that he won't listen to me, since I am a so called "liberal loudmouth-feminist-atheist." Any ideas?
Just one: that when you say "I'm sure that I won't deal with this," I take it to mean that you're confident that your friend, however hateful he is toward other people, won't ever turn his anger on you personally—because you're not a member of any of the groups that draw his ire. And if that's the case, then I have just one thought for you:
Because ugh, it's just so freakin' gross, and cold-blooded, and mercenary, to shrug off a friend's casual hatred and raging racism just because it's not directed at you. And make no mistake, Sparkler: just because he's not flinging his crap directly at you, that doesn't mean he's not still getting his crap all over you by association. I mean, where does it stop? Are you waiting for him to burn a cross on someone's lawn, or join a white supremacist group, or set an opossum on fire? Is there any point at which his awfulness becomes a problem for you?
Or in other words: forget about finding a way to tell this guy he's disgusting and hateful without ruining the friendship; why do you want to be friends with a disgusting, hateful person?
No, really: that's the question you need to be asking yourself, because that's the part of this situation over which you actually have some control. This guy may or may not stop spewing hate when you tell him you're not okay with it; that's up to him. What's up to you is the choice to speak up or not—which means deciding whether keeping this guy's friendship is worth the cost of keeping quiet while he spews.
Obviously, it's your call. But know this: your integrity dies by inches every time you smile and nod through another racist diatribe. So unless you've got a compelling reason for keeping this dude in your life (and considering how awful he is, "compelling" would have to be something in the vein of "he once saved my whole family from a burning building and then took us all on vacation to France"), I hope you'll respond to your friend's next hideous remark by telling him you're not cool with it and making a graceful exit from the room.
Because if you won't deprive him of your friendship over his hater-ation, then you can at least deprive him of an audience for it. And also, because there's something to be said for having the courage of your convictions even when they're inconvenient, and standing up for basic decency even when it's not you being dissed.
Have you ever stood up to a hater friend? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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