An older friend who expresses bigoted remarks

by Whixley
(Denver, Colorado)

I have a close friend who is 20 years my senior. We are quite close and I am amazed at what she has accomplished. Recently, quite out of the blue, we touched on a subject of both welfare mothers and Mexican immigrants. She began a spirited and endless spew of horribly bigoted remarks. I was finally able to interrupt her and tell her, with my heart in my throat, that I could not continue listening to such awful remarks. Not only did I not believe her comments but that I was sickened by hearing them. Our conversation ended shortly after and we did not speak for severall weeks. This occurred over a month ago, but then tonight it happened again. My response to her remarks left no doubt that I was upset and again our conversation ended quickly. Do I continue this relationship or simply tell her that I cannot? She is a widow with a completely disabled son for whom she provides all of his care. Additionally, she has become a guardian to her two teenage grand daughters after their parents death. She volunteers about 15 hours a week at a rehab hospital and has a heart of gold. I am shocked and disappointed to find this side of her. I am at a loss as to how I communicate my discomfort, but know that when she speaks so disparagingly about a group or race of people I feel sick. If I listen to her I feel, then, that I am contributing to giving her opinions validity. I have already been very clear about how I feel about her sentiments. Your advice is most welcome.

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Friendship Decision
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Whixley,

It is not unusual to discover a dark side in a friend and can be very upsetting. May I suggest you ask your friend to cease commenting on these topics when you are together. There are, after all, many other things to discuss when spending time with a friend. If she is your friend, your request will be honored. If she continues with these upsetting remarks, you will have to decide if she is your friend or worth being your friend. One's politics need not agree with all our friends, however it is difficult to overlook overt racist, hateful and judgmental comments. My guess is she is trying to turn you to her way of thinking. If this is the case, you are better off out of the relationship. By the description of your emotional and physical reaction to her remarks you must take care of yourself first. Whatever you do, don't argue or try to persuade her she is wrong. That is a dead end.

I hope this is helpful.

Ms. Practical Etiquette

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