How To Deal With Racist Family Members Over the Holidays

December 6th 2015

Diana Crandall

You may have family members who don't share your political, religious, or culturally sensitive stances on current issues this holiday season.

But how do you react when holiday small talk threatens to turn toxic? Instead of engaging in an argument or holding a grudge that could last years, consider this advice from Nadra Kareem Nittle, whom About News described as a race relations expert.

RELATED: Mizzou Students Take Strong Stance Against Racism

1. Establish that you're uncomfortable

Confrontations are never easy at holiday gatherings, Nittle writes. But it's unfair for you to sit and listen to a family member use racial slurs or offensive commentary.

“If calling your relative out in front of others will make [your family member] more defensive, ask to speak with [him] privately, and then make your feelings known,” Nittle suggests.

2. Avoid arguments

As tempting as it might be to engage, it’s better to agree to disagree, Nittle writes. Nittle offers advice on how to combat rude behavior peacefully.

"Stick to the following script: 'I find your comments hurtful. Please don’t make these remarks in front of me again.' Arguing with the relative will likely be a waste of your time,” Nittle said. Arguing with your family member isn’t going to teach your family member anything about racial insensitivity, she adds.

RELATED: The Subtle Hollywood Racism Nobody Talks About

3. Expose them to racial sensitivity in a different way

Getting boozy and fighting about hot topics won’t change any minds. Nittle suggests exposing your family or friends to cultural sensitivity in different, more effective ways. Some of Nittle’s ideas:

  • Host a movie night with a film that addresses racial inequity.
  • Organize a trip to a museum with a social justice focus.
  • Start a family book club, and highlight anti-racist literature.

For more advice on how to handle racist family members, check out Nittle’s advice here.

If you can’t bite back a few remarks, YouTuber chescaleigh has some advice on how to handle racist relatives. Take a look below.

When all else fails, play bingo

Or there's this: The Daily Dot made a Bingo game out of your attempts to deal with racist relatives.

However you end up deciding to deal with the discomfort, we wish you luck and happy holidays!

RELATED: Why Your Family Gives You Anxiety Over the Holidays