On Tuesday, Slate Magazine released their weekly “Dear Prudence” segment, wherein readers call advice columnist Mallory Ortberg and leave a message with their most burning questions. Prudence answers questions pertaining to just about anything, from relationships, careers, and even the odd psychic query or two.
In her most recent column, Prudence answers a question from an Asian woman in the midst of planning her wedding to a non-Asian man. The woman left a message for Prudence, confused about an email exchange she accidentally read between her fiance and her soon-to-be brother-in-law about her “Asian genes” and the implications he feared they’d have on his future sons.
“Q. Fiancé worried my genes will affect his son’s ‘package:’ I have recently become engaged to my longtime boyfriend. Whenever the topic of children came up, he would insist he only wanted girls because his siblings were all brothers so another male in the family would be boring. Last week, however, he forwarded me an email from his brother (also his best man) with some information I needed for wedding planning, but the email was part of a much larger running conversation. I was mortified when I read his real reason for not wanting a son is that my ‘Asian genes’ would mean his son would have a ‘small package!’ My brother was bullied by jocks using this idiotic stereotype in high school so I was incredibly angered, but I haven’t said anything about what I read yet. He has begun asking why I am so distant lately, but I have no idea how to confront him!”
Prudence answered back in her typical calm, collected, and logical style:
“A: I can understand why you have no idea how to speak to him about it, because finding out your almost-husband is a racist who’s bizarrely fixated on the size of his hypothetical son’s dick has got to be jarring and shocking for you (not to mention the fact that he’s dumb enough to forward you an email about it). I imagine that, were you to bring this up to him, he will likely sputter and try to explain why you’re overreacting, or that what he said wasn’t that bad, or that he’s not ‘really like that’. He is really like that. That’s why he said it. Is there an answer he could give you that would make what he said seem reasonable, kind, loving, intelligent, or in any way acceptable? I certainly can’t think of one.
“He has given you a valuable insight into his character, how he sees the world, how he assigns value to people based on race, and how he sees any future children the two of you might have together. If what you saw doesn’t seem like something you want for yourself or for any children you may someday have, I think you should consider yourself lucky you got to see this before you married him, and call it off.”
Her insight is valid — is there really an answer that the fiance can give that comes across as reasonable or acceptable, especially considering the woman’s history with the sentiment?
What do you think, should the couple press forward with the marriage, knowing full well that they may have sons someday, or should she call off the whole thing? Let us know what you think in the comments!