It’s hard to know everything about a person and their family, especially if there are secrets they would rather keep hidden.
But certain secrets, like racism, refuse to stay buried forever, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Nevertheless, Redditor Federal_Weather3786 was taken aback at their child’s engagement party when they discovered his daughter would be marrying into a family with a prominent racist history.
When they attempted to talk to the new in-laws about their concerns, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked by what they uncovered.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my daughter she cannot marry a racist?”
The OP had moved due to their wife’s promotion at work.
“Some background; my wife and I worked and lived in a somewhat larger city where my daughter was born.”
“My wife got a job opportunity in one of her employer’s field offices and it was too good to pass up. We moved to the boonies when my daughter (Amy) was a pre-teen and we have been here ever since.”
“The people are nice but we were quickly labeled as ‘city folk,’ so we never really integrated very well.”
That was until Amy was in college.
“Amy came back the summer between her freshman and sophomore years. She got a summer job, which is where she met her fiancé (Dan).”
“We have had him over to the house countless times since then and he is polite and respectful, and he seems to truly love my daughter.”
“He is a local and his family have been locals for generations. We rarely met up with his parents, but they also seemed nice when we did.”
“They dated long-distance all through her college years.”
But something dark was revealed during their engagement.
“This past summer, they got engaged. His parents decided to throw an engagement last weekend at their house.”
“We had never been there and I was excited to see the home where he grew up and meet his extended family.”
“The party was fine, we did our best to fit in but, as I mentioned, we were from the city and they poked fun a little bit.”
“His dad gave a speech and while it wasn’t overtly racist, he mentioned how he was happy that his son found a ‘nice white girl’ and looking forward to ‘white grandbabies.'”
“As the night progressed, they started to share a bit of family history so that we would know the ‘proud’ lineage our family would now be a part of. Without going into too much detail, they are descended from members of a hate group.”
“We decided to be polite and not say anything but we didn’t stay much longer.”
The OP attempted to express their concerns to their daughter.
“I let this stew for a few days until Amy returned home. She tells me that she was not aware of his family history but it doesn’t change her mind.”
“I don’t want her to marry into this family and I told her so.”
“She says Dan doesn’t wholly believe what his parents do but I’m not convinced. You can’t be raised to believe you are of a superior race and not have it becomes internalized to some degree.”
“She assures me that they have a lifetime for her to point out all the ways his parents are wrong.”
“But I am worried that if they never leave his hometown, there will be too much pushback from his family.”
“I told her that I am going to be firm on this. That I don’t want her to marry into that family.”
“She called me an a**hole and has been ignoring me ever since.”
“I feel horrible but this isn’t what I had hoped for her.”
“So, is she right? Am I being an a**hole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP and said they’d be worried about this, too.
“I just want to say I don’t think you’re an a**hole, and I’d be absolutely sick about this too. Good luck, this is a rock and hard place.” – santawartooth
“Here’s what stood out to me the most. His parents were nice and polite at first and then let the mask slip at the engagement party. Dan might be better at hiding it, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less racist than his parents.” – caesar____augustus
“I just came here to say that white supremacy also has a correlation to domestic violence.”
“OP, tread carefully because if he is in fact like his family, just better at hiding it, he could also turn out to be an abuser, and she will need you to be there for her no matter what.” – KiSpacePanda
“I’m Black, and I agree with the OP’s concerns. These aren’t ‘just’ racists, they’re small-town racists. Small towns often breed conformity and since there are fewer people, the kids are less likely to get exposed to different beliefs or types of people to counter the racism of their parents and neighbors.”
“Also, those who aren’t racist but have racist families generally distance themselves from their families somewhat, if not completely, or at least denounce their behaviors and beliefs. Dan is still heavily involved with his family and doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong with their behavior, so Dad’s not wrong.”
“Dad can’t control who his daughter married to, but he’d be a bad dad if he didn’t point out what his daughter is marrying into and who her fiancé likely is.” – Low-Aerie1917
“OP is not locking his daughter in a tower, or even threatening to disown her. He is using strong language to let her know this is a terrible decision and really unacceptable.”
“His daughter’s current position is that Dan doesn’t ‘wholly believe in klan stuff’ so nothing to worry about. This is bananas logic. You don’t stop being a parent when your kid is 18, I would definitely try to talk my kid out of this marriage.”
“How exactly are grandparents supposed to stop racist traditions from being passed down by a kid’s father? NTA!” – starchy2ber
“I don’t know. Seems like the hill to die on.”
“If my daughter married into a white supremacist family knowing that this is who they were and that their future kids would be raised in this culture, I would be absolutely devastated. I would feel like an enormous failure as a parent. I would probably never speak to my child again.”
“This is an evil family. What they are espousing is nothing less than evil.” – Deerpacolyps
Others thought further discussions needed to happen before a decision was made.
“Frankly, I don’t see how OP didn’t see this coming when they moved ‘to the boonies.’ Why did they think they were labeled ‘city folk’ and never ‘integrated well’? Did he think the country folk were afraid of their newfangled toaster and microwave oven? Of course not! Absurd!”
“The country folk KNOW that they have a totally different value system. That’s why they’ve kept their distance until now. I just moved back to my home city after spending 10 years in a small town in the deep country. If OP thinks the problem is JUST this family, he’s hilariously naïve.”
“OP, your daughter is probably not as liberal as you think she is! She’s been going to school among these people, growing up among them while her brain is learning lessons and forming patterns that will influence the rest of her life.”
“I hope whatever that job offer was, it was worth raising your kid in a Petri soup of bigotry and plenty of good old-fashioned values, like really firm gender roles and casual misogyny.”
“I searched and searched for friends while I lived there, but whenever I thought I’d found someone who was thoughtful and against the grain, they’d eventually get comfortable enough to reveal whatever horrifying beliefs they don’t always say upfront.”
“(And yeah, I dated a guy who ‘wasn’t like his parents.’ Ha ha ha ha. The wording he used when revealing to me this ‘personal growth’ is too offensive to type here.)” – rabbitturbofox
“I know some really wonderful people that have come from some really awful families. It doesn’t always ‘pass down.’ However, her statement about having a lifetime to convince him they are wrong definitely gave me pause.”
“If he doesn’t already acknowledge that, that’s a concern for sure.” – KirinoLover
“YWBTA (You would be the a**hole). Your heart is in the right place and you can voice your opinions against it, but at the end of the day, it’ll be her choice.”
“I’d advise talking to Dan himself (in private if possible) though. I’m a Black person myself and you’d be surprised how often the least racist kids come from the worst parents.”
“I just want to add you’d be totally within your rights to explain to her that you do not want any of those ‘traditions’ passed on to any potential grandkids.” – SK111W
“My father was one of the worst racists I’ve ever met. Trying to get him to stop one of his rants would have resulted in his doubling down and trying to see just how offensive and obnoxious he could be.”
“He had me equally brainwashed until I was 11 and started junior high. In other words, until I was exposed to the real world. Then I discovered what a vicious, hateful person he was, and rejected him and his racist bulls**t for all time. I’m 67 now and have spent the last 50-odd years fighting this poison everywhere I found it.”
“Maybe Dan is a bigot and maybe he reacted the way I did; I don’t know. But the advice to talk to him about it is solid. Just give him a chance to explain who he is before you judge him.” – Charming_Pickle7511
“I’m friends with a nice middle-aged couple who tried so hard to have kids. When she had to have a hysterectomy, they grieved so desperately. Then a couple they were friends with (Jeannie cried to me about this convo) said as long as they don’t adopt some bleeping bleep baby, it’s all okay.”
“Yes, the worst racial slur you are thinking of, is the one they used. It blew my mind and hers.”
“This family is definitely passing on this racism, and they will do all they can to pass it to grandkids, too. That doesn’t mean it stuck with the son, and it doesn’t mean it would stick with the grandkids, but they will try.”
“OP needs to stop being polite, and call that crap out, seriously and loudly, and then let the chips fall where they may.”
“Host an engagement party of your own, invite all the potential in-laws, and get loud about how evil racism is, and how it’s not acceptable, how pathetic racists are that all they have to be proud of is their race.”
“Let his family be the ones to try to break them up instead of you. NTA.” – tiredtonight101
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update in another post.
“Some asked that I update when I could. A lot has happened in the past few weeks so I thought I would share.”
“Not long after I posted, Amy came to me to apologize. I was surprised because based on the responses I was getting, I was preparing to apologize to her.”
“She said she lashed out because she was trying to reconcile her relationship as she knew with the new information about who he was.”
“I asked her if she really had no idea and she said that, looking back, there were warning signs but nothing that would lead her to believe that he was overtly racist. I guess being long-distance and liking him so much allowed her to remain mostly ignorant.”
“She wanted to know what she should do.”
“I told her that I was going to talk to Dan and try to get a beat on who HE is apart from his parents. She seemed to think that was a good idea.”
“A lot of people said that I was being unfair in labeling him a racist before, but now that we have spoken, I can tell you for certain that he is a racist. A lot of you were trying to figure out what Amy meant by him not being ‘wholly’ racist, and I think I can answer that now.”
“He told me that he doesn’t harbor any hatred for anyone, but he believes the white race will go extinct eventually and he is proud of who he is and of his race and he doesn’t want that to happen. Which I guess also explains his father’s comment about white grandbabies.”
“I told him that his heritage is nothing to be proud of and that his beliefs will have no place in our family or in my household. He said that Amy seemed to understand him and that I might not have a choice of whether or not his beliefs will be a part of my family.”
“I said that he was right, if Amy wants to move forward with the wedding, then there is nothing I can do to stop her. He sneered and told me that he supposed we had nothing more to discuss and that was the end of it.”
“I told Amy what he and I discussed, and she decided to call it all off.”
“She broke up with him and he has not taken too kindly to it. He has been to the house a lot, so we decided to get her an apartment back in the city. Her work is going to start phasing back into the office anyway so the timing works out.”
“His parents called us and came to speak with us a few times. At first, they were just trying to figure out what was going on but it quickly turned into them berating us. I got some Reddit flak for not standing up to them initially, so this time I made sure they knew where I stood.”
The description of a situation “escalating quickly” is often overused, but the potential husband’s and in-law’s reactions at the OP’s home after the break-up seem to warrant it.
Given what was discovered at the engagement party, and the reactions they’ve seen since, it seems likely the OP’s daughter dodged a questionable marriage.