This is the most difficult post I’ve written so far. And I am really struggling about how to deal with this with my mom. I was brought up in a very liberal Democrat household. I remember as kids we were brought up to be respectful of all people … black, white, Asian, Latino. We lived in an old mill town in RI with people from all incomes.
Heck, my grandparents both came over here from Europe — one from Portugal, the other from Poland. They lived among other immigrants. My dad had a funny sounding Polish name until he changed it. My mom’s family had olive skin. In fact, my grandfather on my mom’s side is also part Native American Indian.
So here’s what has me in a tizzy. My mom refers to any dark-skinned person as colored or Negroes. I never remember any member of my family saying this in my household. I’ve tried to tell her that it’s not kind or politically correct to use terms that might be hurtful or insensitive to other people. We have this discussion every week, week after week. I’m ready to pull my hair out because when she says something like this it literally makes my stomach turn.
I know she doesn’t mean it. But my worst fear is she’ll be out in public and say something offensive. How do you tell someone you love that words hurt, even if she doesn’t mean it? Any suggestions? I’m sure I’m not the first person to deal with old-found prejudices, buried deep, now rearing their head.