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Old 09-21-2006, 07:46 PM   #1
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I need advice regarding relatives and politics

I know I could have put this in Zoo Confessionals, but since it involves politics and some FYM'ers might be in the same boat as me I'm putting it here.

I have an aunt who is always forwarding me e-mails. Most of the time it's just harmless, but sometimes it's stuff that aggravates me. She, like a lot of the older people in my family, don't understand the separation of church and state, and that other religions in this country besides Christianity have a right to exist. Usually I just sigh and ignore it, but today I think I hit the proverbial last straw. She forwarded me an e-mail that got forwarded to her about the U.S. Postal Service issuing a stamp for Ramadan. Whoever did the original e-mail is up in arms about it because "they don't even worship Christ" and the 10 Commandments aren't allowed in courtrooms and 9/11 blah blah blah. But what I think really sent me over the edge is the part where the stamp was referred to as "nasty."

My aunt and I aren't exactly close. We only see each other about once or twice a year, if that. But I still hate to offend her. On the other hand, I feel like I have an obligation to speak out if someone is spewing bigoted nonsense.

Anyway, here's an e-mail reply I've got saved in my draft folder;

http://www.usps.com/communications/n...page=comstamps

As you will see from clicking on this link and scrolling down, the U.S. Postal service also is issuing a Christmas stamp with a Madonna and Child theme.

Why is it "nasty" for the law-abiding citizens who make up the great majority of the Muslim population in this country to celebrate one of their religious holidays by buying special stamps for it - just as Christians are allowed to do?

I love you and don’t want to offend you, but I believe misleading e-mails like these help spread hate and intolerance in a world that has far too much of it already.



Should I send it?
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Old 09-21-2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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Yes. I mean only you truly know whether you'd feel comfortable with it, what your relationship is like, but I guess if she wants to tell you what she thinks, you have every right in the world to tell her what you think.
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Old 09-21-2006, 08:00 PM   #3
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Is she particularly argumentative? Like Earnie said, if she is not going to listen, then it might be futile. Then again, it being futile is not a reason to give up.
I'd send it, but I have the bad habit of thinking everyone is entitled to my opinion.
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:00 AM   #4
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I got the same kind of e-mail from my mother-in-law last year over a holiday stamp that had an Arabic character on it. I thought the stamp was beautiful myself, and fumed for days over the unfairness of the whole thing. In the end I sent her Christmas card with the 'offensive' stamp prominently affixed to the front.
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:39 AM   #5
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I think you should send it. It's simply stated and still loving, and I agree-you have every right to respond. I have confronted relatives over bigoted matters, and at first it was tough. But for me it's much tougher to live with not saying anything. It's always your personal decision, but even if it's futile and she will never change her mind and you love her-at least you can always know that you lived by your convictions. Seems to me that relatives should be proud of you for doing that and for being that kind of person, but of course that's not always the case
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Old 09-22-2006, 09:31 AM   #6
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I think you should send it. It has a loving message and that's the important thing.
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Old 09-22-2006, 10:50 AM   #7
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I would send it. I think it's a great response. It's brief, to the point, and isn't attacking your relatives, just pointing out how their actions can unintentionally be a large part of the problem.

I don't like to get into politics with a lot of people in my family. I start learning that some of them have attitudes like "why should we send any money or help programs in Africa when they all have AIDS because they're prostitutes/unfaithful husbands?" or "I think we should just ignore the malaria pandemic because there's too many people in poor countries and we need survival of the fittest."

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Old 09-22-2006, 05:20 PM   #8
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Send the email.

I went throught the same sort of thing with a sister-in-law who kept on sending that sort of crap. I finally send a polite email (similar to yours) and the response has been for her to STOP adding me to her massive forward list. So yeah, she still thinks those things, but at least I don't have that crap in my in-box all the time.

Plus, think of it as standing your ground and saying to the world (well, to your aunt) that some things just aren't tolerated, nor should they be--something this little band called U2 band has tried to teach its fans.

Reminds me of an interview I saw once with Maya Angelou. She said something to the effect that staying silent when someone in a room is saying racist/hateful things is the same as agreeing with it. Yeah, it sucks to argue with relatives (which is why I don't bring this stuff up during get-togethers), but if they "start it" I think it's only right to state your feelings on the matter. Otherwise, you're silently agreeing.
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:54 PM   #9
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Well, I just sent the e-mail. I made a few changes in it because I thought the way I had it worded before made it sound like I am calling my aunt a bigot. I don't think she is - at least I hope not. I think she's just lived a very sheltered existence because she has lived in a small, very conservative community all her life. Besides, I don't want to upset her any more than I have to. I also explained to her that the reason I was sending it is because I don't feel I can keep silent when confronted with something I feel is wrong because then I'm implying agreement and contributing to the problem. (Thanks, Enggirl!)
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:42 AM   #10
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Yes, send the email. Maybe it will give her something to think about. I think the generations up to ours were all about racism and that's changed. It's sad. Some things my parents and grandparents said from time to time apalled me too. I respected them as I was taught to respect my elders, however I would tell them I disagreed with them. We all have a right to our own opinions.

I would just keep any contact regarding this topic short, sweet and be honest. It's the best and only way to be. Let us know what you decide to do and how it goes.
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
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Send it.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:00 AM   #12
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She said she did send it

I hope it all goes well, good for you Bono's Shades

One time I spoke up to a coworker for using the n word around me. When she said it I was just shocked-shocked that she would use that word at all, at work, and that she would think I wouldn't mind. That was the first time she had ever used it around me, and I told her flat out that I didn't like that word at all and it offended me. She seemed stunned I know a work relationship is nothing like a family relationship, but I did have a friendly relationship with her and she was more than twice my age. I was nothing but proud that I did it. It was so disheartening because I never thought she was that kind of person, and honestly I never felt the same way about her after that.
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Old 09-23-2006, 03:44 PM   #13
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I know what you mean, Mrs. S. I've known for some time by the kind of e-mails my aunt forwards to me that she and I don't see eye to eye politically, but the not-so-subtle bigotry in her latest e-mail shocked me. I had no idea she was capable of agreeing with such a hateful, ignorant message, let alone forwarding it to a whole bunch of people and asking them to forward it as well. I wonder if anyone else she forwarded it to (the list includes other people in my family, as well as some people I don't know) will say anything to her?
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:02 PM   #14
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Sorry though, I didn't have the right to imply that your aunt is a bigot. I realize that my posts came across that way and that I used the word, so I apologize for that. I know how tough it is to deal with a situation like that, and to love the person but hate what they did, and to struggle with the whole situation. For what it's worth I think you did the right thing.
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:35 PM   #15
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It's OK - I didn't think you were implying that. There's nothing to apologize for. In fact, I really appreciate your moral support.

Now that the deed is done I'm not sure why I was so hesitant. It's not like I've never confronted anyone in my family before over this kind of thing. But communicating over the Internet is so different from talking face to face. It's easier to hesitate rather than just blurt out how you feel.
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