If your grandparents are anything like ours, they’re lovely people who also happen to be wildly racist. They’ll do anything for you and they just want to talk to you about their day. But for some reason, their storytelling includes whispering a person’s ethnicity like it’s a little secret they’re letting you in on. No grandma, your fall themed sweatshirt doesn’t distract us from the fact that you think the Muslim family next door is “up to no good”.
Here are 10 foolproof ways to cope with your grandparents’ insanely racist tendencies so you no longer have to talk yourself down from that ledge.
- Calmly explain to them that what they are saying is racist.
This one is a nice starting point. We all know this won’t make a dent in the situation itself. It just serves as a fun way to gauge the severity of your loved one’s prejudice. Really take the time to listen to their response. The more offended they get, the more severe a situation you have on your hands. It’s OK though, we can get through this together.
- Quickly change the subject.
Pretend you did not hear what they said and bring up something else to talk about. It’s like how they pretend to not be uncomfortable passing black people on the sidewalk, except with acceptable conversation. Topics of distraction may include this weekend’s forecast, the menu at Cracker Barrel, Jimmy Fallon, or nearby specials on Deli meat.
- Give them something to eat.
Old people love treats and it’s hard to talk with chocolate in your mouth. So…
- Turn on the television.
The local news, a program featuring an unlikely friendship between a small animal and a slightly larger animal, or even a commercial with some sort of train will work. Really draw their attention to whatever it is you settle on. “OH WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT!”, “Aw, isn’t that precious?”, and “Looks like a storm is coming in…again.” are all great attention grabbers.
- Pour yourself a drink.
It may not make the room less uncomfortable, but it will certainly help you sleep tonight. And hey, you deserve a little something.
- Tell them you need to leave.
Whenever they say something offensive just pretend like you have to go home or run an errand. Maybe over time, it will condition them to understand when they do or say something offensive, it isn’t welcomed behavior. Much like training a cat.
- Point to something.
Anything. Just ask how it got there and that will usually transition into a story about an outlet mall or coupons to buy things at Walmart. Look, we didn’t say it’d be a fun story.
- Ask how to prepare a dish.
They assume you can’t cook so any little interest shown in how they prepare meals will win you points for the day. Non-racist points for all. Yay.
- Break something.
A glass, your back, a chair…whatever it takes. Really commit.
- Have a friend of color come over.
To go in the completely opposite direction, have a friend who happens to be of another ethnicity casually show up. This will not only throw your grandparents off guard, it will force them to act comfortable around them. Endless hours of entertainment. You’re welcome.
If none of these work, maybe consider taking your grandparents to a show here at Stand Up NY. It’s always worth a shot. At the bar. We have a bar.