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By October 1, 2011

Teen shocked to find out her parents are racists

I’m a 15 year old varsity cheerleader. My family is very religious and they think that what I want to do is wrong. See I have met this guy and he is very sweet, funny, and treats me like I am an angel! He is different from all the other guys. He makes me feel so good inside, like no one else has before. But there is one problem. He is black and I am white. My parents say that it is wrong because they say the Bible says it wrong. Is it?

And my cheerleader sponsor won’t let me be a cheerleader if she finds out about it. Some rumors have been started but I tell everyone we are just friends. We can’t talk at school and we get to see each other about once a month. We only get to talk on the phone. I love him so much and I just can’t stand it anymore. What should I do? If I date him then I can’t be a cheerleader because my sponsor won’t let me. That’s not right do you think? Do you think I should just give up and move on?

It would be interesting to have your parents show you where in the Bible it says that it is wrong for God’s children to mix. They won’t be able to because there is no such passage. I hate to say this to you but the fact is that racist or segregationist practices are based upon hatred due to race, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. There is also a lot of fear involved when people shun those that are different from themselves with no logical reason for doing so other than a long-standing practice of hatefulness. These types of attitudes are the antithesis of the “love your brother” theme of Christianity. I’m sorry, but if your parents truly believe this nonsense, they need to stop calling themselves religious and put on their white sheets and hoods on and get it over with!

You could ask them to please meet the young man in question with the hopes that they would see him as a human being and not as whatever they view Black people as. Tell them that you really like him, that he is a fine young man, and that you don’t want to stop seeing him. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you and your parents to grow closer, for you to show that you are a young woman with her own brain, and for your parents to begin to question their own (widely held) negative beliefs about Black people.

This could be a really great thing. Of course, if they continue to act up you will have no choice but to stop talking to him and wait until you are 18 or 21 (depending on the state you live in). Unless you are prepared to become financially independent, there really is no battle here for you to fight.

As for your sponsor, if she doesn’t want you on the team because of this I would say good riddance! Why would you want to be beholden to a racist violator of your civil rights? If your parents were on your side, this could be a battle they could successfully wage on your behalf. But as a minor child, you don’t really have much power here.

Though I understand your disappointment, try not to be too angry at the adults around you. Remember that good and bad people exist of all ages, all races, all socioeconomic levels, from all corners of the world. Racism is ugly, and teaches us to embrace negative stereotypes of each other – such as all White women with blonde hair are ditzy and stupid, all Black men are criminals, all Asians can’t drive, all Latinos are lazy, all White men are power hungry racists.

I believe it’s better for us to teach our children to accept or reject individuals on their own merit and appropriateness for our moral stance and goals in life – not to judge them because of their humble economic status nor they race or creed. If you can learn to do that and practice it as you grow into adulthood you will be a much better person for it.

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Posted in: Teen Dating FAQs

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