Elderly people, offensive comments

<p>My niece is getting married, to a wonderful young man. We're all thrilled. But my mother constantly harps on the fact that the groom is Jewish, while my family is Catholic. When my mother makes comments in a disparaging tone about the groom's religion, another niece, the bride's cousin, will say, "Don't say that, Grandma, it's anti-semitic." </p>

<p>My niece is correct; my mother is anti-semitic, I'm sorry to say. But I can't think my niece is doing the right thing in the situation by correcting her grandmother all the time. On the other hand, just letting the offensive comments go, or saying something like, "Isn't it wonderful that they're in love," which is what I do when I visit, also seems like the wrong thing. </p>

<p>What would you do?</p>

<p>Personally, I don’t feel that age gives one a pass from refraining to express racist, anti-semitic, or otherwise prejudiced attitudes. Grandma is entitled to her opinions, but she’s also asking for rebuttal should she speak them out loud.</p>

<p>I think otherwise, it’s treating an older person like a child who can’t be expected to think and act responsibly. </p>

<p>That being said, it sounds like cousin’s response is not working, nor is yours, unfortunately. Maybe someone needs to sit down with her and explain that by continuing to voice such an attitude, she’s hurting herself in the eyes of her granddaughter and her gd’s new husband.</p>

<p>I think that your niece is doing the right thing. To say nothing is to allow her to think that you agree with her.</p>

<p>Ask her if she would like to attend the wedding? Then she’d better “hush” on the topic of religion.
Sometimes elderly people lack self control–they are like little kids. Most people will cut them a lot of slack for rude comments. (My mom had a stroke and comes out with a lot of odd comments.) You can tell people “don’t mind her–her mind is going. . .” And if it isn’t, that will drive her nuts. ;)</p>

<p>Correcting her behavior now may work to curb bad behavior at the wedding. She may still think bad things, but knows that it won’t be well received with the others.</p>

<p>When ds1 was infant I told my father that if he ever used the N-word in front of my son, I’d never bring him back to their house. And 21 years later, he never has.</p>

<p>I would tell your mother that while you can understand that her original preference was for your niece to marry within her own religion or tradition, that the young man is now a member of the family and you don’t want to hear any more about it. You especially won’t tolerate or listen to anything that disparages niece’s fianc</p>

<p>Can you imagine what the groom’s grandmother is saying?</p>

<p>My H and I are both Jewish, but I don’t look like one. When my H first introduced us, his mother told my H that she already has enough problems and now he brought a non-jew (she actually used a derogatory term) into her house. When she found out I was jewish, she had no problems repeating this to me. She could not understand why I found this offensive.</p>

<p>You cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but at the same time I think your niece is doing the right thing. And she should not be the only one who tells her grandmother not to say this. Everyone should do the same. The grandmother will remain antisemitic, but she might learn to keep her thoughts to herself. Maybe. My MIL have not learned in 18 years I’ve been married to her son.</p>

<p>Her comments aren’t usually overtly anti-Semitic. It’s more that she constantly harps on his religion: isn’t it too bad that Lovely Bride won’t be married in church, blah blah blah. She very obviously is unhappy that Lovely Bride is marrying a Jew. So one can’t really call her on it (usually). She is coming to visit me next week, and I’ll have to make it clear that I don’t want to hear these comments, I guess.</p>

<p>I wouldn’t tolerate it. I’d say something like, “If you want to be included with my family, then you not only learn to shut your mouth but you change your thinking.” </p>

<p>It’s a drag that we have to deal with problems caused by blood relations.</p>

<p>Good for the niece! </p>

<p>Personally, I believe in never allowing someone to speak like that, no matter what age or blood relation they are. I have no tolerance for bigots. If I were the bride, I wouldn’t invite someone who spoke about my fiance like that to the wedding. Many will disagree, but personally there is no way I would want a relationship with someone who is offensive to my future husband (and just because she is anti-Semitic a few times and not every time doesn’t make it that much better).</p>

<p>I’d say, “It’s clear you aren’t happy that Sally is marrying outside her faith, but your constant remarks could be perceived as anti-Semitic and is creating strife. If I were her mother (or dad, if it’s that side of the family) I’d limit your participation in the wedding if you can’t to at least pretend to be delighted. Is that what you want? To miss out on Sally’s special day?”</p>

<p>If she says, “Isn’t it too bad she’s not getting married in church?”, your response is, “Why, no. She’s marrying the man she loves.” Similar responses to any left-handed anti-Semitism (and I, as a Jew, will give Grandma the benefit of the doubt that she’d say things like this if the groom were Lutheran). Also, remind Grandma that many Catholics marrying Catholics don’t get married in church.</p>

<p>And if you get fed up, “Well, Grandma, since you’re so upset, you needn’t come to the wedding. We only want people there who are happy for the couple and want to celebrate with them.”</p>

<p>I like youdon’tsay’s advice, but keep in mind that unfortunately sometimes this is an early sign of dementia. If it is you may want another approach, like explaining to the groom’s side of the family that she can no longer help herself.</p>

<p>I do understand there’s a difference between being really disappointed that your child is marrying outside your religion and actually being anti-Semitic. So I can see letting her gripe in safe circles if she could be trusted to keep it to a few selected people.</p>

<p>Lovely Bride is my niece. I’m not in a position to issue or refuse to issue invitations to the wedding, and there is no chance at all that my mother will not be invited, nor do I think it would make anyone happy to exclude her.</p>



<p>Yeah that’s pretty much exactly what I said yesterday when I talked to her.</p>

<p>I bet it’s less anti-Semitism and more anti-anything-NOT-Catholic. I married into a Catholic family :-).</p>

<p>My dad gets less “filtered” as he ages. He once asked “who’s that fat kid on the soccer team?” nearby a group of parents which easily could have (but thankfully didn’t) include the kids’ parents.</p>

<p>Regarding Catholics marrying other Catholics, but not in church: (from the Catholic Education Resource Center).</p>

<p>“If a Catholic enters marriage outside of the Catholic Church without the necessary dispensation (that is, special permission given by the bishop to marry in a Protestant/Christian church), then the marriage is considered invalid and is not recognized by the Church. Moreover, this action places the person in a state of mortal sin. For instance, if a Catholic marrying either another Catholic or anyone else just decides to be married in some other Church or by a Justice of the Peace, that marriage is invalid. While such a marriage may have legal standing in the eyes of the state, it has no legitimate standing in the eyes of the Church.”</p>

<p>Actually, practicing Catholics are “required” to marry in church. We all may know people who come from Catholic families, but who no longer practice the faith, who marry each other outside the church. But the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize those marriages.
Those who get a dispensation to have the ceremony in a Protestant church must promise to raise their children as Catholics.<br>
It is extremely rare for two Catholics who marry each other to get married outside of a church building. Special permission is required to do so. (from Catholic Exchange) “There are few known cases here in the U.S. where bishops have granted permission for Catholics to marry in a place other than a church, in the presence of a Catholic priest. All of them, however, have involved at least one spouse who was a celebrity.” (And this was done for reasons of privacy and security.)</p>

<p>Mixed faith marriages are often difficult for families to accept. My Catholic grandma never got over one of her sons “turning Lutheran” to marry a Lutheran girl.</p>

<p>Grandma won’t change her feelings/opinions at this age, but she needs to just zip her lips, smile, and congratulate the happy couple.</p>

<p>IS she anti-Semitic? Or is she simply a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic who cannot fathom her grandchild marrying outside the Church?</p>

<p>You can’t presume without knowing for sure that she has something against Jews. </p>

<p>I think the only thing to do here is politely tell Mom that she is marrying this man and she should accept it - and as a Catholic, pray! That’s the answer for the Christian.</p>

<p>I think this is the best advice:


<p>I married into Catholic family, but in a Presbyterian church. Both his grandmothers refused to attend. His cousin had a big Catholic wedding 2 weeks before ours and I overheard my MIL say how disappointed she was ours was not going to be like that. However, she said it to her DH when she did not know I was in hearing distance so I pretended it never happened. After the wedding we were on fine terms and I even went to the grandmothers homes for holidays. On the other side, the only reason my grandmother attended was because it WAS in the Presbyterian church. She could ignore his religion that way. I say try to discourage her from saying things in front of the other family. Then just get through the wedding. It’s an emotional day for everyone and it may sort itself out aferwards.</p>

<p>You can try to correct the behavior of the grandparents but I think there is only so much you can do. I have a grandparent on each side of my family who has a problem behaving in public… though they usually like to make hell leading up to a big event and then when the time actually comes they behave, just to screw with everyone. I found what gave me most peace of mind going into my engagement party was that I had prepped FMIL so she knew what to expect and could dispense whatever information she felt necessary to the rest of the family. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but an “oh, by the way, if grandma makes you uncomfortable you might want to talk about the weather instead” went a long way.</p>