Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

How To: Call Out Your Racist Family Members

The holidays are known for two things, great food, and ridiculously racist family members. 

Over the last four years, we’ve seen certain people become way too comfortable with being openly racist. Something about the holidays just brings out their inner racist tendencies, especially with those aunts or uncles you see once a year. If you’re someone who’s uncomfortable with any type of confrontations, I’m going to help you call them out without causing a scene at the holiday dinner table. 

  1. Be prepared. 

You know it’s coming. I guarantee you know exactly which family member is going to make the remark and you probably know what they’re going to say too. If you’re scared of confrontation like I am, it’s time to look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do this. When the joke is made, cut them off immediately. Don’t give them the time to let the joke sink into everyone's minds.

  1. Ask them to explain the joke. 

This is my personal favorite. To execute to perfection, you need to play dumb. You’re going to force them to explain every aspect of the joke to you. When they stutter and try to find a nicer word choice to explain their joke, do not give in. If there’s one thing a racist hates, it’s being called out and labeled. By having to explain the joke to you, they essentially expose themselves. If they didn’t look like a jerk before, they definitely will now. 

  1. Keep your cool. 

I know it’s insanely frustrating having to hear these types of comments. But, screaming across the dinner table is not going to help you. In fact, it might actually make the situation worse. Your mom will join in and tell you to stop “being rude” and then you’ll never get your point across. A fight is not going to educate the person who made the comment or those who laughed. 

  1. Appeal to their principals. 

As you read before, no one likes being called a racist. If you tell them they’re racist, they’ll just deny it. They’ll also tell you to lighten up because “You’re sounding like a snowflake!”. You can start by telling that person things like, 

“I always thought of you as a kind and intelligent person, but you sound extremely racist right now”. While this can seem lame because you are starting the statement off with a compliment, it can still pack a punch. After hearing that, your racist family member might rethink their comment and change their attitude. 

  1. Be vigilant. 

Do not let a single comment slide. To prove your point, you need to call out every single remark. You cannot succumb to the idea that because they’re older this language is acceptable. It never was acceptable and it never will be. If you think the comment sounds racist, it probably is.

Remember, your silence enables these types of jokes. Whether that person knows they’re being racist or not, they need to be educated and stopped. While you can’t ask them to leave your parents’ home, you can still do your part in letting them know this behavior will not be tolerated.  If they really don’t care about what they’re saying, eventually they’ll get so annoyed with you that they’ll just stop. While this is not the desired outcome, it will definitely show you that you got your point across. No matter which tip you use, you always need to be able to stand up to your racist family members at all times, not just during the holidays. 

Julia Merola is a journalism major at Temple University. She’s currently focusing on campus lifestyle articles. In her spare time, you can find her reading, writing poetry, or trying the newest online workout challenge.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️