man placing engagement ring with KKK hood as a jewel on a woman's finger

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Woman engaged to a racist seeks advice online—and the internet obliges

What to do when you're engaged to "great guy" who is also a bigot.


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 4, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:08 am CDT

“I am engaged to a great guy with many wonderful qualities…” is probably how a lot of conversations about shitty dudes start.

In this case a woman was asking Carolyn Hax, a syndicated advice columnist for the Washington Post, what she should do about her fiancé. A man she admits is an angry racist who works in law enforcement.

But he is prejudiced against one specific race, which also happens to be the race of several of my ex-boyfriends. He works in law enforcement, so part of me wants to attribute the racism to the fact that he has seen this particular race do many horrible things that I haven’t. This seems like a pretty trivial thing—we all have some sort of bias or prejudice—but it’s getting to the point where I can’t even talk to a member of this race in a work meeting about a work-related project without my fiance turning it into a huge fight and accusing me of trying to be a liaison for all [race] people.

If the entire premise of the letter leaves you smacking your head you aren’t alone. Here’s how Hax begins her response.

First thing I’ll do when I finish this column is send my forehead some flowers.

If thinking you’re superior by birth to an entire group of humans is “trivial,” then what exactly is significant?

You can read the full letter and response on the Washington Post website.

Twitter also had no problem telling this woman exactly how they felt about her situation.

Most people have someone, or multiple someones, in their lives who harbor racist or bigoted beliefs. Some of us have even been lucky enough to see those people change.

But that doesn’t mean we need to accept those beliefs as a necessary evil, especially when the person is particularly adamant, as this man seems to be, and has greater than average responsibly and power, as this man clearly does.

Often advice columnists avoid directly telling a person to end a relationship. Every individual situation is different and they know they usually aren’t getting the entire story in a short letter. In this case, however, Hax had no problem telling this woman exactly what she thought needed to be done.

You can break up with your fiance immediately. Over these terrible, horrible, not at all trivial things.

And be careful when you do. Anger is notorious for splashing onto whoever stands too close.

However, Twitter would probably be willing to help her out.

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2017, 12:49 pm CST