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How do I address the racism in my husband’s family? | News, Sports, Jobs

Dear Annie: I am in an interracial relationship and am the step-parent of a 7 year old girl. When COVID-19 happened, my mother-in-law was out of work and between two places. We only have two rooms, one for us and one for my daughter-in-law.

My mother-in-law had nowhere to go, so we offered her our couch. My husband, who was looking after her financially, asked her if she could stay for a few weeks. Of course, that wasn’t a problem at all.

A few weeks turned into months. She constantly berated both of our parents and undermined us all the time. Things came to a head and my husband couldn’t stand her being here with us. It turned into a heated argument which led to the police forcing her to leave.

During the argument, I was scratched on the face. While removing things at home, she called me all the racist names in the book and left me feeling like I was no good. I did nothing other than help this woman. I even tried to help her find a job.

My husband has not had any contact with her since. What worries me is that there is a 7 year old grandchild involved. My mother-in-law did not apologize to me and I have no contact with her. I want to forgive him, but my heart won’t allow me to. I don’t want my stepdaughter to miss her grandmother, but the things she said were so hurtful. Is there a way to get over this knowing what his real feelings are? – Not so black and white

Dear not so black and white: Congratulations on making your daughter-in-law priority after such an attack.

Often people with such fanatics are not malicious but ignorant, uneducated and small in mind. That’s not an excuse. It just shows that there is hope for her to change.

I would discuss the subject in depth with your husband and come up with some clear and firm boundaries to present to his mother – the first being that hatred, racism and violence are not welcome in your home. You will be doing your daughter-in-law no service by exposing her to these views.

After your mother-in-law has gone through therapy to deal with her bouts of violence and hatred – assuming she does – you can discuss the steps you need to take to bring her back into your family’s life.

Dear Annie: Your response to “My heart lacks attention” who was upset by their spouse’s lack of affection, assumed the writer was a wife with grievances against her husband. However, in the letter, there was no indication of the gender or role of either spouse, writer or their loved one. I find it curious that you assumed it was written in a female voice, when I think such information was irrelevant and intentionally excluded. I wonder if you would have given different instructions if you had seen the perpetrator as the husband or the male? – I wonder in Westminster

Dear I wonder: You are absolutely right and I apologize for this assumption. There are indeed many husbands who seek the intimacy and affection of their wives.

My advice is valid, however: if both spouses are unwilling to work, reconciliation is almost impossible.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is now available! Annie Lane’s first book – with her favorite columns on love, friendship, family, and etiquette – is available in paperback and eBook. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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