Strangers harass me on the street about my latest fashion purchase.

Dear Prudence is Slate’s advice column. Submit your questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear Prudence,

About a year ago I picked up a beautiful Off-White windbreaker on sale with the brand’s iconic logo in an all over monogram print. It was from the late Virgil Abloh’s last collection. The jacket fits me perfectly, is comfortable and luxurious, and is a bit of a showpiece. Lately, however, this has been problematic. While walking through Soho last week, a man who was strangely shouting random statements at passers-by noticed this coat and it led him to proclaim, “Hey Big Man – with the Off-White, stop by and say hello!” I continued to walk in stride, but her demeanor quickly turned accusatory… “You’re wearing a black man’s jacket but you’re not saying hello.” Yesterday at a branch of Chase the jacket caught the attention of a security guard, and while chatting with the bank teller the wiretapping officer found a comment which I characterized as cause of moralizing laughter. The other week, some local high school kids were walking by my block from their school to the subway, and one of them used a derogatory homophobic slur to describe me to his friends. I feel like I’m often told that I should support black businesses, artists, and designers, but that only seems to get me unwanted attention, hate, and homophobia. It’s just a windbreaker, but it causes a palpable reaction. How should I respond to these comments and react in the future?

“Off-White is not correct?”

Dear Off White,

I’m completely out of the fashion loop and had to search for “Off-White” and wow, congratulations on the wealth! Even though it was on sale, it was not a cheap item of clothing. I see now that you paid a lot of money, planning to be seen as stylish and cool and instead getting yelled at and laughed at. No wonder you’re upset.

But I have to say that I read your letter carefully, and I think you are very in your own head about your racial politics and also a bit paranoid. Here we have a person who was randomly yelling things at everyone who was probably sick and yelling something at you too. We have perceived judgmental laughter, the source of which we cannot determine. And we have a truly disturbing homophobic attack with no clear connection to your attire.

Listen, you don’t have to buy black artists if you really think it leads to you being victimized in public. (And you could take all you spent on it and probably buy several small Etsy stop artworks instead of attention-grabbing clothes. There are options here!) But I think what’s going on is that you were hoping buying that special windbreaker would get you some kind of public credit, or kudos, or nice points from black people and it didn’t work out. If so, go ahead and resell it or stop wearing it. If you really like the item of clothing for what it is and want it to be part of your wardrobe – because it’s your style, not because you’re following orders you claim to have been given – keep the, with headphones to drown out nasty remarks that may or may not have something to do with what you’re wearing.

Do you have a question about children, parenthood or family life? Submit it to Care and Feeding!

Dear Prudence,

My daughter is 20, a freshman in college, and lives on the west coast now away from home. She gained about 20 pounds (compared to high school where she couldn’t eat that much due to health issues), but is not obese. She is active, continues to have health issues and I am proud of her for her hard work in school and for her health. My husband expresses his “concern” by calling her fat, fat, ugly and criticizing her dress sense. He expects her to dress like a 50-year-old woman, which is obviously not practical. He complains to me and her, and when they talk, it’s explosive. I tried to clarify her efforts to stay healthy, but also to help her respect her individuality and preferences. He won’t listen to any of this. He rejects the fact that I’m just by his side and that I “give” him too much freedom. I want her to be comfortable being herself with us when she comes home, but this behavior breaks their relationship and honestly erodes my respect for my husband as well. She is an independent young woman and I entrust my life to her. I want to respect my husband’s opinions, but I can’t control our responses. What do you recommend?

– I can’t hold this long

Dear can’t take this,

Stop respecting your husband’s opinion. Seriously, I understand it would be nice if he had an opinion worthy of respect, but he doesn’t. It’s not that you’re caught in a debate between a spouse and daughter who each want to watch something different on family movie night, or who can’t agree on where to set the thermostat in your home. There’s an innocent person who’s still very young, and a violent, more powerful person who should know better, especially because you’ve already carefully explained why his vision is ridiculous. Your relationship with your husband, if you stay there, will continue to be bad because he is a mean and sexist person, but here is a great opportunity to deepen your bond with your daughter by protecting her. Let him know that’s the plan.

Dear Prudence,

Christmas is coming and I will finally introduce my loving, kind and intelligent partner of over 3 years to my extended family. I should be excited, but I’m honestly worried. I’m white, my partner is Korean, and the only other interracial relationship in the entire family involved a black gentleman facing racial hostility. My parents consider themselves open-minded, but even they ask my partner probing questions about citizenship and have stereotypical opinions. I do a solid job of protecting him from my parents, but I’m afraid I can’t protect him with extended family if they make offensive comments. I expressed my concerns to my parents and their response was “if they make comments, it’s probably not intentional and [boyfriend] must be an adult and suck it. I’m not going to make him “suck up” racism in the name of keeping the peace. What is a script to tell my family about it? If something offensive happens, what’s the trickiest way to handle it?

– Beg the family to behave

Dear beggar family,

The first conversation you need to have, if you haven’t already, is with your partner. Can I give you a script you didn’t ask for?

“So Christmas is coming and I wanted to know how you feel about being with my family. As you know, they range from ignorant to horribly racist. I don’t want to ruin your holiday by asking you to absorb any comments they might make, and I’m not entirely sure I can prevent them. Would you just like to make a very quick appearance, or stay home and celebrate with both of us? I never want to send the message that the things they say are okay or it’s up to you to deal with them.

If he says, “No no no, I’m all for attending, that stuff just kind of hits me.” You can say, “Okay, but I have my limits when it comes to what I can bear to hear. Even though you’re fine, hearing racism from my family upsets me and I don’t want to be a person who tolerates it. Can we come up with a plan together to prevent and respond to any comments? »

Then allow him to edit a text for the family that starts something like this, which I wrote so that he blames you for any conflict, not him: “Hi family. I can’t wait to see everyone at Christmas. The boyfriend will be with me. In everyone’s interest that we have a great day, I wanted to ask you to reflect on the remarks you make about race and ethnicity. Please do not ask about his citizenship or [other topics] or comments on [whatever]. He is very patient, but I find these words upsetting and I will have to leave if I hear them. I’m sure that won’t be necessary now that everyone is warned.

Dear Prudence,

Is there anything normal to say after someone calls you “nice”? I don’t think I’m a nice person, but at work (mall food court) I’m very cheerful, I do my best to compliment people if I like their clothes, not in a scary way, just like “cool”. hat!” – and I’m a people pleaser, so if they ask anything, I try to accommodate their request. I did those things and afterwards my co-workers said things like “you you’re so nice that I could never” or “oh, she’s so nice”. don’t know what to tell them. What’s neutral to say? Should I stop telling people I think their hats are cool? Please help.

– Not mean, not nice

Dear Not Naughty,

Here I am, again acting like a useless parent to a college kid: just keep being yourself! Don’t worry about what they say!

Seriously, you’re probably right that some of your colleagues can be a little critical. But don’t stop. That quality of yours – wanting to do something that costs you nothing to brighten people’s day a little – is good. It will make your life more meaningful and bring joy to many people long after you quit food. to research.

Catch up on this week’s Prudie.

More tips from Slate

In recent weeks, my mother has turned Christmas into a weapon. Every call – and there are a lot of calls, even if I don’t pick up – seems to include the question of when we’re coming home for Christmas and how we can stay longer. We don’t want to travel this year. All of the concerns I mentioned about the pandemic, the stress of travel, and the expense (and fear) of leaving my dog ​​with a stranger are met with criticism and dismissed. She sends family group texts of photos of all the Christmas decorations she puts up for me. If I don’t answer, she sends texts that sound like there’s an emergency, but there isn’t. I’m getting to the point where I want to leave my phone on silent and never pick up…

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