Saturday 23 September 2017

Dear Mary: My brother has ignored my wife, could he be racist?

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Mary O’Conor

Seven years ago I married a lovely lady who is a different race to myself.

It was a small informal register office wedding for family and close friends.

When I telephoned my brother to invite him and his wife he said they were too busy but would be in the area a month after the wedding and would catch up with me then.

However, there was no card or greeting sent to us. Then he did not get in touch a month later as promised.

I did not hear from him until he suddenly turned up at my house after five years looking for a favour.

I introduced him to my wife then and he said that we must go out with him and his wife soon. However nothing materialised. We now have the situation where his wife has never met my wife and he only met my wife briefly because she was with me when he was looking for his favour. I find myself asking whether they just do not know the correct way to behave or are deliberately ignoring my wife. I hope they are not racist.

My wife is very classy and says it is their problem not ours. My own thinking is that there was an obligation on him and his wife to at least send a card or meet my wife as soon as possible after the wedding. Now it seems too late. I had hoped things had changed when he finally turned up looking for the favour.

Am I being oversensitive or am I and my wife being ignored? Nobody else in my family had a problem and they all get on very well with my wife.

Mary replies:  We hear so much about racism and bigotry in the US and it is truly sad to hear about it happening in our own country. It seem to me that your fears are well founded and that your brother and his wife are being racist.

I'm so happy that your brother is the only one who has behaved like this. Any form of bigotry is very hard to take, but particularly when it involves somebody who you love.

Your brother had quite a nerve to call looking for a favour, having never acknowledged your marriage.

You must have found it very difficult when you realised what he was at.

If you wanted to you could telephone him and ask to meet him on your own and then tackle him about this issue. However, he would probably deny everything and then continue on ignoring you and your lovely wife. So the best things to do is to keep your counsel, get on with your life and enjoy the company of those whom you love.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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