"I've been dating my boyfriend for a little over four years. We have a house and two beautiful little fur babies that are the center of our world. Both of us have good jobs and we are doing really well for being in our 20s. However, there's a problem that seems to come up every so often that I'm not quite sure how to handle any more. He's White and I'm Mexican. It hasn't ever been a problem for either one of us. Both of our families are very supportive of our relationship and have been since the beginning. It did take some getting used to for him since not everyone in my family speaks English and he doesn't really speak Spanish. The problem is when we are out in groups that include our friends and then our friend's friends.
I don't look like I'm Mexican. Most people can tell I'm not White, but they don't know exactly what I am. Again, that's never been an issue. The issue is when people start talking about Mexicans in a way that is very demeaning. For example, we went home over the 4th of July weekend and attended a sand volleyball tournament with some friends and family. During one of their breaks, some of the people on our family's team started talking about how one of the local fast food restaurants had been taken over by Mexicans. They went on to say that now no one who worked there spoke English and that it took them forever to get their food because there were only ever three Mexicans working in there at a time. Then of course of any and all jokes about how service has gone down the drain because of them, but that they are FAST! Like that makes anything that they were saying any better. That's when they remembered that I'm Mexican. Then all of a sudden it was "Oh my god! I didn't mean that in a bad way!" and "I hope I didn't offend you!" One of them even patted my knee with a look on her face like she felt bad for me due to the fact that I am Mexican. And I didn't say anything.
Another example happened just a few days ago while out with friends at the local river. A guy I had only just met made a comment that he would like to take an AR-15 and go down to the border and shoot all of the people coming across...including kids. I couldn't believe it. Again, I just sat there while my little sister listened and turned red with anger. One of our friends then started to try to get the guy to shut up because he just kept going on and on. He had been drinking but I have a feeling that wouldn't have stopped him from spewing his degrading opinion. That's when our friend looked over at us and very bluntly asked my sister and I how many times our dad had crossed the boarder. We answered that he had crossed three times and that he was now legal and had made something of himself. Both of our parents have. That of course made him try to dig himself out of the very deep hole he had dug himself by saying that people crossing over was not an issue to him as long as they were doing it legally so that they could pay their dues like the rest of us. I have no idea what he meant by this. But by that point I was so livid that anything that would have come out of my mouth would have been offensive to him and that's not how I want to handle this.
My question is: How do I handle situations like this? For some reason it's been happening more and more and it usually seems to happen when my boyfriend is not around. It affects our relationship in the sense that I don't know how to handle the situation and then I end up upset for the rest of the day and my boyfriend doesn't know what to do to help. I know that if he were around he would say something and try to defend me, but I don't want to be dependent on him for that. This is something that I need to take control of and I just don't know what to do.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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