Lear in South Carolina

And speaking of horribly unenlightened views, there is also Ashley Miller’s father, who has decided to stop talking to her, to disown her, to cut her off, to make her an undaughter, because her boyfriend is unwhite.

I can’t get my head around it. Imagine caring more about your racism than you care about your daughter! Imagine giving up a daughter for the sake of racism. What an incredibly bad bargain. What a pathetic, wrong-way-around exchange.

I suppose I am thankful that he waited until the day after Thanksgiving to do it.  Not that he told me, he made my stepmother his proxy as he was too angry to speak to me directly.  I have been disowned for loving someone my father does not approve of.

“Too angry” – as if there were an important principle involved.

I don’t know how one goes about coping with these things.  I have a very supportive family, friends, and boyfriend.  And Dad and I were never super close.  And, perhaps there were things I could have done better, but none of them change the fact that my dad is the kind of person who would disown their only child for dating “out of race”.

Just what I’m trying to get my head around. That kind of person. What kind of person would do that?

It’s heartbreaking.



  1. Martha says

    I remember feeling much the same way during the height of the AIDS epidemic, when families disowned their sons, even leaving them to die alone, just because they were gay. I cannot understand a “moral” system that makes one behave so cruelly to one’s own family.

    I hope Ashley’s father eventually finds a way to redeem himself. I really do.

  2. iknklast says

    There was a time when I thought Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967) might begin to look dated. Now I’m worried it will be ahead of the times.

    My parents would have disowned me for that very thing. I guess it’s fortunate for them that they settled us in a town where there weren’t any black people, and I dated before the Internet would have brought me into close proximity to the “wrong” kind of people.

    The mind boggles.

  3. says

    Martha @ 3 – it’s interesting – Shxpr was obsessed with the trope of fathers who do what Ashley’s father has done. He features it in play after play after play after play. And I mean exactly what Ashley’s father has done – fathers and daughters, specifically. Juliet’s father, Hero’s father, Perdita’s father, Cordelia’s, Imogen’s, Desdemona’s –

    He had a horror of it. The fathers are always wrong, the daughters are always wronged. He had two daughters himself.

    Or I could have said Agamemnon. He killed his daughter to get a good wind for sailing to Troy.

  4. says

    And now people all over the world know he is an asshole. I have 3 adult children, and I cannot imagine anything they mght do for me to respond this way. I feel so badly for Ashley.

  5. geocatherder says

    I left a supportive comment for Ashley this morning. I sincerely hope the title of your post is prescient, and that her father will reconcile with her.

  6. callistacat says

    My heart goes out to Ashley, it’s really sad that he thought skin color was more important than his daughter’s hapiness

    My dad never liked any boys I dated. When I introduced them he wouldn’t even acknowledge them or even say hi. When I went out on my first date (to a Dodgers game) my dad decided he needed to have ‘the talk’ with me about boys (I was 23 at the time). My boyfriend’s parents were from Costa Rica, so my dad gave me this lecture on how those Puerto Ricans all beat their wives and girlfriends and how they’re all angry and mean toward women. I just walked out of the room and said I’m NOT having this conversation.

    The sad thing is that when my boyfriend met my dad, he told me afterwards that my dad seemed like a really cool guy. I didn’t have the heart to tell him what my dad thought of him.

    My mom, on the otherhand, adored him. She was much more open-minded, even though she grew up in the same strict culture as my dad. They had a very cute relationship. He would have long conversations with her on the phone when he called for me, although she didn’t understand a lot of it (English isn’t her first language).

    When he died a few years later, my mother was the only one who cried and mourned him, and the only one who tried to console me. It was a very traumatic experience, I really could have used emotional support from my family, but my dad never said a word to me. Not one word. My siblings just said things like “I know how you feel, I felt that way when my girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with me.” Or that I just need to forget him and put away pictures or anything that reminded me of him. And after about two months they said my greiving was becoming “unhealthy”. It wasn’t because of his ethnicity for them, I guess I was just too much of a downer to be around for a while.

    Then my sister started dating an African-American man. She never even told me about it, I found out about it from someone else. She was so afraid of my dad finding out that she kept it a secret from most people.

  7. peterfran says

    It’s a father’s job to protect his family, if only in name. Traditionally he’s supposed to give his daughter to a man who can care and support her. A father sees babies every time an unrelated man kisses his unmarried daughter, so boyfriends not pursuing economic success are automatically disliked.
    The modern father loses legal ability to protect his daughter’s virginity when she becomes of age. Hopefully a sexually active daughter, who doesn’t want pregnancy, is practicing birth control. But it’s only within close parental bonds that these choices are jointly explored. If not, a father only has stigma and threats to impose family values. As premarital sex IS linked to unplanned pregnancy, broken hearts, kids, and dreams; casual and open relationships ARE ripe with STD’s; and the lack of fidelity and commitment DOES destroy marriage.
    Maybe he never loved his daughter, so now he’s just protecting himself. Or maybe she thwarted his protection, and having rejected him, he’s returning the favor.
    Daughters are special. They can rip the heart right out of loving dads. Children carry him into eternity. There’s no more dangerous territory for a man. It’s up us to acknowledge our parents fears, and become adults.

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