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Should we cut off contact?

(86 Posts)
Factfinder Wed 28-Apr-21 22:36:57

Recently when we were going through some challenging times, our next door neighbours, who barely knew us, were kind to us. As we got to know them more, we were disconcerted by racist remarks coming from the man of the couple, some relating to my husband's nationality. Now my husband does not want any contact with this couple, and I can understand that. But I got on well with the woman and value the help they gave us at a difficult time. I don't know how to play this, going forward. Any advice?

Shandy57 Wed 28-Apr-21 22:47:30

The racist comments came from the man, but his wife did nothing to stop him. Her silence condones his behaviour, and unfortunately her unspoken thoughts.

I would be grateful they helped me in my hour of need, but an ongoing friendship wouldn't be possible because of their racism.

Hithere Wed 28-Apr-21 23:16:23

The husband dropped the racist comment but he is married to his wife - they have more in common than you think.
Unless she corrected him on the spot and made her dissatisfaction known, she could very well agree with him.

I would support my husband and not associate with any racist people, directly or by association.

keepingquiet Wed 28-Apr-21 23:39:12

Me too- it is unpleasant when people assume we are going to agree with, or at least silently accept offensive remarks. I have had to step away from a rekindled friendship for this reason. Stand by your husband.

welbeck Thu 29-Apr-21 00:39:33

surely your husband is far more important to you than these people.
you can be civil to them, but don't fraternise.

BrightandBreezy Thu 29-Apr-21 01:04:45

I would help them in an emergency just as I would help anybody in an emergency but I would not be wanting a close relationship with them.

3dognight Thu 29-Apr-21 03:43:28

Stand by your husband, I agree that the wife should have corrected him immediately.

Did they make racist comments while helping you? I hope that man realises his mistake, I think going forward polite but at arms length.

Smileless2012 Thu 29-Apr-21 13:16:05

Why didn't you and/or your H say something as soon as the first racist remark was made? Far better to 'strike while the iron's hot'.

I think it unfair for anyone to say this man's wife should have corrected him at the time, when neither you nor your H did. I don't know how well you know them but depending on the nature of their relationship, correcting her H in public simply may not be something she's willing or able to do.

As it was her H that made the racist remarks, I see nothing wrong with the two of you maintaining contact without either of your H's being involved.

Grandmabatty Thu 29-Apr-21 16:28:49

I have a cousin who occasionally makes racist remarks. She is otherwise a kind person and I find it difficult to reconcile the two. I pull her up if she says anything untoward but still have a relationship with her and her family. That way, I can perhaps persuade her that she is wrong.

Madgran77 Thu 29-Apr-21 16:38:18

I don't really understand why your husband or yourself didn't point out the racist remark at the time. It doesn't seem fair to criticise his wife for not pulling him up when neither of you said anything. She may have spoken to him about it afterwards. I would not be happy pulling my husband up in front if other people but would certainly comment afterwards to him

In the end I think you have to stand by your husband but if it was me I would go and have a conversation with them about the remark, why it concerned you ...and see how that goes, and decode your way forward from there. . At least then you have done something constructive about the racism which can make people think and help them to learn

NanaandGrampy Thu 29-Apr-21 16:41:46

I think its wrong to assume the wife condones her husbands behaviour. There are many reasons why a wife might not contradict her husband in public.

Personally , I would simply pull him up on it next time, your quarrel is with him not her she cannot be held responsible for her husbands failings.

M0nica Thu 29-Apr-21 17:37:21

These people have been kind and helpful when you were in need. But the man has made unacceptable racist comments about your husband. Why didn't you say something at this time? If neither the person insulted or the insultees wife says nothing, which of the two is more heinous?

It is a quandary, but no on is perfect. That the wife said nothing may be embarrassment, fear, a determination to address the subject in the privacy of her home. We do not know.

I would continue to be friendly with her. Hallos. a few words now and again but ignore him

You do not want to turn them into enemies. It is a narrow line to be trod between keeping things courteous and antagonising them. You will need to take care.

LovelyCuppa Thu 29-Apr-21 18:11:35

Challenge or remove yourself. It's a no brainier.

Factfinder Fri 30-Apr-21 09:45:17

To clarify, I was not present when the questionable remarks were made. I just heard about them from my husband. I'm not sure the wife of the couple was present at the time either.

Madgran77 Fri 30-Apr-21 16:18:43

Oh right, if you and wife weren't present that explains it. It still seems right for someone to explain and discuss the issue with them, but in the end that is up to your husband as it happened to him.

eazybee Fri 30-Apr-21 18:04:57

This couple were kind to you when you needed help. Your husband is now offended by some remarks made to him which he considers racist, but you have not heard, and has told you not to continue the relationship with them.

You have to use your own judgement here, but I would want evidence of racism first hand before I agreed to 'unfriend' a neighbour who was not involved and had been very kind to me.

Hithere Fri 30-Apr-21 19:50:41

What was the remark and the context when it was said?

"You have to use your own judgement here, but I would want evidence of racism first hand before I agreed to 'unfriend' a neighbour who was not involved and had been very kind to me."
That would mean OP does not believe her husband and does not support him unless she hears it with her own ears - implying he is a liar

Bad move.

timetogo2016 Sat 01-May-21 09:49:48

I agree with Hithere 100%.

mumofmadboys Sat 01-May-21 10:25:47

Could you continue to be friendly but question any further racist remark should it happen? Say you totally disagree and say all people are equal in your eyes. Perhaps they or he just needs to be challenged on his views. You may even educate him!

Alexa Sat 01-May-21 10:35:35

Factfinder, it is true that husbands and wives very often think alike although that may not be obvious to an outsider..

Can you keep on friendly terms with the man and/or the wife whilst you voice your disapproval of racist terms and preferences? If you cannot speak your mind to friends are they worth calling 'friends'?

Madgran77 Sat 01-May-21 15:04:35

If you cannot speak your mind to friends are they worth calling 'friends'?

Good question!

TrendyNannie6 Mon 03-May-21 15:50:41

I don’t understand why your husband didn’t say anything at the time of this happening!

Madgran77 Mon 03-May-21 16:33:47

I don’t understand why your husband didn’t say anything at the time of this happening!

Well I know what you mean but if someone is facing a racist remark about themselves/family/heritage then maybe it is much harder to challenge immediately because of shock/deep hurt or whatever. If his response is to cut off contact from them which is an understandable personal choice and may well stem from his past experiences of similar circumstances, then it is fort the OP to decide how she manages that for her own circumstances.

Not an easy one Factfinder flowers

love0c Tue 04-May-21 08:34:58

Tread carefully. As they are neighbours you will very likely be bumping into them in the street, at the gate etc. I wouldn't want to be anxious about leaving my house in case I saw the neighbours. Just continue to say 'morning' comment on the weather and then carry on with your business. keep it simple and keep it stress free. Life is stressful as it is without having stress with the neighbours.

SuzieHi Tue 04-May-21 08:45:19

I agree with keeping it simple- say hello, quick wave. You don’t need friction between you & neighbours. You don’t have to do more than this if husband is not comfortable with them or their views. We have some neighbours we mix with socially and some we don’t- normal I’d say. I’m sure you were grateful when they helped you. You’d probably help them if it was an emergency too but you don’t have to be friends