When should I hold my tongue and when should I speak up/remove myself (racism/homophobia/intolerance)?

I come from a family full of racist, homophobic, and just plain ignorant individuals. I've learned to hold my tongue when someone says something awful for the sake of family peace. If I ever so much as voice my opinion that we should maybe not generalize an entire religion/ethnicity as terrorists, I trigger a massive argument, so I try my best to just keep my mouth shut.

My relationship with my family has improved(ish) now that I'm away at college for most of the year and we're together less. However, since going off to school I've discovered I identify with more than one letter in the LGBT community and have made close friends out of multiple people some family members would despise on sight just because of their appearance and religion.

Now my family's politics not only clash with my own beliefs, but they've become personal and hurtful to me. I find myself biting my tongue constantly at family functions, and I don't know whether I prefer everyone taking my silence as agreement with their bigotry or initiating another fallout just because I kindly ask my uncle not to call someone with the same sexual orientation as me a f*ggot.

I guess my question is: what is the line between speech I should just let slide and suffer in silence and unacceptable behavior that needs to be called out? Should I even bother trying to make a relationship with my family work, or should I just distance myself further? I'd appreciate some advice from folks in a similar situation.

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Before speaking, ask yourself "What will it accomplish?". Most of the time, your speech will only start a pointless argument that will not change anyone's mind - neither yours nor theirs. In addition, it will shatter the ambiance of the family get-together, and perhaps create worry, sadness, or anger for some people, which will have to be dealt with later - all this for no gain.

    On rare occasions, it will accomplish a re-drawing of your personal boundaries - which can be a positive and necessary thing, but is not required every single time someone crosses them. The benefit from protecting who you are, and showing that you are no push-over, has to be weighed carefully against the negative aspects of setting off an inevitable argument.

    You have stupid family members. You aren't going to fix that, no matter how you try to educate them or how often you try. So you should always default to the "hold your tongue" position, since an argument that accomplishes nothing is simply a pastime for fools (on both sides). The only time you need to say anything is when you are convinced that they are piling it on in a pre-meditated effort to show other family members that you aren't worth sh-t, and can be abused by anyone. The issue then is not racism/homophobia/intolerance - it is simple respect, and you SHOULD speak up. You won't win any supporters, but you will show that you are not to be taken advantage of.

    The rest of the time, let the jackasses bray. It's the only way they can express themselves, poor things.

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Is everyone else who thinks different from you ignorant or only your family?

  • reme_1
    Lv 7
    3 years ago

    Maybe you could come up with a special word that would catch their attention when they start with bigotry comments. Just get their attention so they stop what they are saying.Try not to let them continue without getting into an argument. My best to you. Good luck. HUGS from a senior lesbian

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Buddha gave a great example on wise speech. Before words leave your mouth it should pass between a few gates.

    Is it true?

    Do they improve the situation?

    Is it the right time?

    Are they necessary?

    You should always try and tell the truth, but it may not be the right time. Try not to talk talk mindlessly. Try and have what ever you say make things better.

    Here is an article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/tricycle.org/trikedai...

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  • 3 years ago

    Accuse one of them of being a closet Liberal, then sit back and watch the fun. Bring popcorn.

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