Sometimes the people we love do things we do not agree with. They might be a good person, but have bigoted ideas.
At what point should we stop defending their bigotry and end our relationship with them all together.
A Redditor encountered this very issue with his cousin. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for siding with my homophobic aunt against my queer cousin?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained in incredible detail:
“Cousin Ashley (not Debra’s daughter);”
OP provided more context.
“Context surrounding the conflict:”
“A few years back Australia held a national survey to gauge the nation’s opinion on legalizing same-sex marriages. It recently came to light that Aunt Debra voted against the legalization of same-sex marriages. This deeply hurt Ashley — a lesbian in a same-sex marriage — who has since disowned Aunt Debra.”
“Had Ashley stopped there, she would have had my full understanding and support. Unfortunately, Ashley is insisting that everyone else also disown Aunt Debra in a ‘stand against bigotry.'”
OP talked about his aunt.
“My relationship with Aunt Debra:”
“Aunt Debra has done a lot for my parents and I. When I was eight my mother hurt her spine at work, and we spiraled into financial hardship.”
“Aunt Debra welcomed us into her home rent free for over a year. When my parents finally saved up enough to repay Aunt Debra, she refused to take the money and told them to invest it into my education instead.”
“Her bigotry aside, Aunt Debra is a lovely person.”
“Had she not revealed how she voted in the national survey, no one would have known she was a homophobe. She has treated Ashley and her partner with nothing but kindness and respect. As disappointed as I am as to how Aunt Debra voted, that vote alone doesn’t write her off as a person. At least in my opinion.”
Then, things got complicated.
“Aunt Debra came to visit me last weekend.”
“When Ashley found out she texted me, ‘So you’re a homophobe too? Good to know.'”
“Which I’m not. The ensuing conversation can be succinctly described as a circular argument as to whether the mere association with a homophobe can make one a homophobe too.”
“To be frank Ashley isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. And attempting to discuss complex issues with some nuance with her is frustrating to say the least.”
“After thirty minutes of pointless back and forth Ashley gave me an ultimatum: her, or Aunt Debra.”
“To which I replied, ‘Aunt Debra may be a homophobe, but she’s still a better person than you in every other way,’ and hung up.”
So, OP asked:
“Am I the asshole?”
“I understand why Ashley is so upset. I would be too if my Aunt thought that my relationship was not deserving of legal recognition.”
“And I wholly support Ashley in disowning Aunt Debra. But to force me to disown her too, when Aunt Debra has been nothing but lovely to me, shows that Ashley lacks perspective and empathy. AITA?”
OP added some edits.
“Edit – Have I spoken to my Aunt about her bigotry?”
“I have sat down with Aunt Debra, and expressed my strong objections to her opinions on same-sex marriages. The conversation isn’t worth sharing, Aunt Debra’s ‘justifications’ for her bigotry are just the standard traditionalist dribble. She grew up in a different time and culture, and she’s too old of a dog to learn new tricks.”
“Which is extremely disappointing.”
“However as Aunt Debra has treated both Ashley and her partner — and everyone else, family or not — with nothing but kindness and respect, I’m willing to overlook this. But I understand entirely why Ashley isn’t.”
“I just don’t agree with Ashley’s dogmatic insistence that I too have to disown Aunt Debra, and her unwillingness to see where I am coming from.”
“Edit – Re: my comments about Ashley’s intelligence.”
“That was uncalled of me. I was trying to convey that Ashley wasn’t interested in discussing this issue with me, she just wanted to talk at me (rather, yell at me), and refused to take any of my points into consideration.”
“But you are all right, Ashley’s intelligence has no relevance here. It was a knee-jerk reaction to being repeatedly called a homophobe, and I take it back. But I’ll leave my original post as is for the sake of transparency.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors had some mixed opinions.
“You’re on Reddit so you’re gonna get mostly people who will disagree with what I’m about to say:”
“You’re allowed to disapprove of certain aspects of a person and still associate with them, that association does not automatically mean you approve of those aspects. This is of course dependent on how extreme these aspects are, and if you seek to combat them.”
“In your case it sounds like Deborah keeps her opinions to herself (Edit: by ‘keeps to herself’ I meant ‘not openly homophobic,’ obviously her vote is a homophobic act which indicates private beliefs) and you’ve voiced your support for Ashley on the matter.”
“So long as Deborah continues to keep her opinions to herself and you continue to support Ashley (in non-ultimatum ways) when it arises I think it’s reasonable to think a relationship with both can exist.”
“If Ashley chooses to interpret it differently and exclude you from her life as well that’s her right.”
“Perhaps there is some middle ground where you talk to your aunt with Ashley about this?” ~ V0mitBucket
“If we only ever associated with perfect people… would any of us have any friends or family left? I sure wouldn’t.” ~ Call_Me_Clark
“Theres a difference between imperfections like being late to everything, having no inside voice, or having a temper, and believing certain ppl are lesser and/or deserve less rights.”
“The other ones are things that ppl struggle to control, but being a bigot is 100% a choice.” ~ cherrycoloured
“Thank you! This post reminds me of how my (former) best friend used to excuse her friends’ racism around me.”
“Sure, I can’t dictate who you hang out with or who you want to stay friends with, but I don’t have to stick around listening to Trump supporters scream homophobic slurs at me and rant about how I’ve benefited from affirmative action. And if you want to stay friends with these people, that’s a f*cking choice.”
“The only reason they’re not directing their bigotry at you is because you fit their narrow conception of who deserves equal rights and who deserves to be seen as a human being.”
“Edited to add: ‘We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.’ –James Baldwin”
“Whether you’re screaming epithets or not…in both cases you’re still being homophobic when you vote against same sex marriage.”
“Curious to know whether the people downvoting me are also friends with those who think it’s okay to be homophobic or racist as long as you’re not openly so. It doesn’t count as racism if they only say the N word behind your back right?” ~ vicious–circe
Homophobia is not excusable.