The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Carolyn Hax: Yes, you should stop being friends with a bigot

(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
3 min

Dear Carolyn: A couple of years ago we relocated and started hanging out with some of our new neighbors. We embraced one couple in particular and spend a good deal of time with them.

It was after we developed this friendship that issues arose: “Linda” is a bigot. She talks down about Black people, Mexicans, Asians, you name it. She wasn’t like this initially, but her derogatory references have been increasing lately. I guess as she’s gotten more comfortable around us.

We are of opposite political persuasion but never discuss politics or religion, and I certainly don’t want to open that can of worms.

I find my side of our friendship fraying as I become more and more bothered by the references to migrants, immigrants and people of color, but I usually don’t respond. The look on my face when she drove up my driveway one day to warn me that “a carload of [unprintable racial slurs] are coming around the bend” gave me away, however.

Because we became friends before she exhibited this kind of behavior, I don’t want to terminate our relationship. For now, I act like a duck and try to let her comments roll like water off my back, but I don’t know I can keep it up. Any suggestions?

— Going Quackers

Going Quackers: Sweet mother of dog.

The only answer to Linda’s remark about the “carload” of [human beings!] was to point to the street and ask her to remove herself from your property. Permanently.

Instead you chose to be an accessory after the fact to her hatred because she seemed sooo! nice! when she was lying to you about who she really was inside.

She was feeling you out before she said anything, yes. You did read that correctly. But keep reading: That she showed her true self to you means Linda thinks your true self is like hers. Or at minimum thinks you’re not going to hold her accountable for beliefs that dehumanize, oppress and kill people. So far she’s right about that. Shooting her a super-duper-shocked face doesn’t count.

She is going to keep thinking this about you until you show the moral courage to prioritize others’ humanity over your Yahtzee night.

And perhaps donate copiously to anti-racist causes. And shower for a month.

Dear Carolyn: My 1-year-old daughter started day care last month. It’s been a rough transition, but we’ve finally gotten to the point where she doesn’t cry when she’s dropped off, and she’s taking naps there (shorter ones, but still). Next week, I have a week off from work, and some family members were appalled when I said I planned to continue taking my daughter to day care, thereby having the day to myself to go to the movies or read a book. My thought process was that pulling her out for the week would perhaps set us back in terms of adjustment, and also, I want a week to go to the movies or read a book, something I have not done since she was born. This is okay, right?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Get your rest. You’ll be a better parent for it. And yes, interrupting a difficult transition just as your baby is starting to settle in is not a great idea.

I’m sorry your people aren’t more supportive. That’s on them. Customs evolve constantly, but the sport of judging and criticizing new parents always seems to stand the test of time.