But I think your fiance needs to be more than just supportive of you in this situation. I think it’s up to him to speak to both his brother and his parents.
To Racist Twin: “I don’t know why you’ve suddenly became racist and intolerant. That’s not the way we were raised, it’s backward and unacceptable, and my fiancee and I don’t want to hear about it and don’t want anything to do with you until you come to your senses.”
To his parents: “Have you heard what Racist Twin and Racist Twin’s wife are saying? You should know that they’ve attempted to forbidden us from attending family events at your house. Just thought you should know the full extent of how crazy your son has become and understand why we’re uncomfortable around him.”
Should you go to family events? Absolutely. Yes. Every. Single. One. Because you deserve to, and because you should get to know the decent people in your new circle. Added bonus: Maybe, by refusing to attend because of your presence and being isolated at home, your fiance’s brother and his wife will have some time to reflect on how isolating and boring it is to insist on being jerks.
Should you invite Racist Twin and Racist Twin’s wife to your wedding? Nope. There’s no better reason to exclude people from a celebration of your marriage than the fact that they are openly disgusted by said marriage. And possibly also by you as a human being. Because they’ve been openly rude and threatening along with that disapproval, I don’t think there’s a case here for politeness or for being the bigger person.
However, if you decide, for reasons of tradition or etiquette, to throw an invitation their way (knowing they’ll most likely skip the event in protest anyway), I have an idea: Use a Zora Neale Hurston quote, printed in a lovely font, on a “save the date” card designed especially for their household:
Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.
The Root’s staff writer, Jenée Desmond-Harris, covers the intersection of race with news, politics and culture. She wants to talk about the complicated ways in which ethnicity, color and identity arise in your personal life—and provide perspective on the ethics and etiquette surrounding race in a changing America. Follow her on Twitter.
Need race-related advice? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously in Race Manners: “Black Friend Paranoid About Racism? No, You Shouldn’t Tell Him”