I'm going to try to make this long story as short as I can but I'm really upset right now so that make that happen.
My husband and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last month and I'm embarrassed to say that I am still uncomfortable around his parents. My husband is of Italian/Scottish/Irish descent. I am Hispanic. We live in a suburb south of Boston. This is his first marriage, my second. DH adopted my daughter from my previous marriage. We have since added two more girls to the family, age 5 and 21 months.
The problem is that I can no longer ignore the issues they have with my race/ethnicity. Although they have never said or done anything blatant, there have been subtle, covert forms of what I consider racism coming from them towards me. The Christmas before my husband and I married I remember seeing a check they had given my husband for several thousand dollars as a gift. We don't need their money but I find it strange that since we've been married, they have never given us any gifts. They do get something small for the children even though they are financially secure and doing well with their business, pensions, and rental property. Again, we don't need their money, just an observation.
My husband has one brother who is older (and single) and just as successful. His parents redid his entire kitchen (new cabinets and granite countertops). My husband's only comment was "if they have money to spare I wish they would send it this way since we are the ones with three kids". That comment was made to me, not his parents. One of our friends, who is an accountant, and happens to be the accountant my husband's parents use, made a comment shortly after to the effect of waiting to see what we would get. Months later they ended up getting the kids a new swing set. We went with them to pick it out and they spent about $2,300. We showed gratitude and the kids have been enjoying the swing set ever since.
My father in law on more than one occasion has an issue with introducing me as his daughter in law. A few days ago we got together to view fireworks in their town and ran into a friend of his that he had apparently not seen in a while. He introduced my husband but did not acknowledge me. I sense, that because they live in a wealthy suburb of Boston, he is uncomfortable with people of color. I have sense a lot of that in this area and am truly blown away that covert racism is still alive and well regardless of how liberal and educated people in this area tend to be.
I know this is probably not a good idea for many of you, but I have refrained from sharing this with my husband. Until last night. He responded exactly how I though he would respond. He thought maybe I was reading into this too much and to let it go. I can let it go but unfortunately, this didn't happen just once. I can let things go if it was a total stranger, however, it's harder to do when it's a family member. My husband said it was his dad being absent minded. I understand his need to defend his dad. A part of me believes that my husband doesn't really want to believe this is going on. If it was blatant, he would be very vocal of his disapproval. HOwever, since it's subtle, it's easy to dismiss by everyone other than the person it is happening to, me.
I have always been very polite, respectful, and cordial with my in laws. I firmly believe they have an issue with race and I have seen the disdain in their speech, especially when they discuss illegal immigration in this country. Like I said, I am of Hispanic descent, born in NYC, raised and educated in New England. And although I am conservative politically, I don't agree with a lot of their views (they also are politically conservative).
I don't know what else to say other than to express disappointment. I am 40 years old and I know who I am. I accept who I am. But this type of behavior can chip away at even the most confident person self esteem. I can't accuse my mother in law of doing the same thing but she has a way about her that has made it difficult for me to trust her. I have wanted to get close to her but her inconsistent behavior makes it hard to do so.