He reprimanded me in front of everyone


DEAR HARRIETTE: At Christmas dinner, my dad called me out about my outfit in front of everyone.

Harriette Cole 

He told me that what I was wearing was completely inappropriate and that I should change immediately.

I’m a grown woman, and I was absolutely humiliated by the way my dad spoke to me in front of friends and family. I’m not even sure why he still feels that he can talk to me that way.

I haven’t spoken to him since the incident, and I’m not sure when I will speak to him again. When I do speak to him, what should I say?

Dad Called Me Out

DEAR DAD CALLED ME OUT: You have triggered a memory for me.

I remember going back to my very strict family home for the holidays wearing my hair curly and natural, kind of like a big ‘fro. My father told me that I could not sit down at the table with the family. He offered me a comb and told me to go comb my hair.

I was so upset. I never came back to the table. And I didn’t go home to visit for a while.

After I calmed down — much later — I realized that my conservative father, who had grown up under Jim Crow, only understood that you needed to conform in the way that you presented yourself in order to get ahead. He was harsh, but in his mind, he was giving me tough love that would protect me in the long run.



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