Hello. I am Hélène Diop with Thriveworks, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. So today I will attempt to answer the following question: “What should I do if a loved one is prejudiced?”
So first, I will say, reevaluate “What does it mean to be prejudiced?” Also, making sure that you don’t have just one example or a few examples, but you have a long experience with that family member exhibiting a prejudiced attitude, or beliefs, or statements against someone, someone else, or a group or a specific ethnic group.
Second, understand that being prejudiced is a lifelong process. It starts usually in childhood at school with teacher interacting a certain way with kids of different ethnicity or group of kids of different ethnicity. Also it’s true TV, movies, you know, advertisement, jokes, culture at large, that foster this prejudice. Basically, it’s almost a worldview.
Third, I would advise not to sever or not to end that relationship with that loved one who has exhibited prejudice. Because if you do so, you will not have the opportunity to allow that loved one, to share what they have to share and also to model and to offer them a different reading, as you interact with those people of different ethnicity than yours. So being in that relationship can give you an opportunity to provide a different model of relationship, a different experience that your loved one can see, take in, and work with.
Also I would like to say that it’s important to understand that you may have, you may be the only person close enough from that loved one to really enter their worldview. It’s not easy to enter someone else’s worldview, and it’s not easy to have them discover a different worldview.
As I said earlier, it’s a lifelong process. So if you have grown up, grew up in a setting where ethnicity is seen as problematic, it will continue for a long time. So it’s an opportunity to really, to offer a different reading, model a different reading add more information to what they already have.
Then I would like to finish with the ratio. When you are with a loved one that is prejudice, when you want to offer a talk about some issues, it’s important to keep in mind that you have to have at least five positive encounters with that person to one negative encounter or one difficult relationship or conversation. The goal is to be able to keep that relationship open so that you can address problematic issues like prejudiced behavior or statement while having at least five positive or comfortable contact with that loved one.
Then I would add to close, that if you really love that person and that family member, it takes time. It takes patience. It takes love, to be able to stay with a person that you love, but that does not share your value to bring them slowly to embrace some of your values. And one of which is not to be prejudiced or be aware of one’s prejudice and being willing to change and change takes time. Thank you for listening.