Good Enough Mother has some fantastic, enlightened friends and honestly cannot imagine that any of them has a racist bone in their body.  But what if, lets say, we were out somewhere, the wine was flowing, the talk was loose and an N bomb just slipped out? Would I, could I, still be their friend?

That’s what I wondered today as I read that actress Jodie Foster, in an interview with MORE magazine, said she is standing by Mel Gibson in the wake of accusations (and audio tape) of domestic abuse. Foster, who met Gibson back in 1994 while working on “Maverick” described the 54-year old Gibson as “the easiest, nicest person I have ever worked with.” That may be true of her experience with the actor but easy and nice are not two words that come to mind when you listen to the audiotape of Gibson screaming obscenities and threats at his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

I wonder if Jodie heard that tape, I mean really listened to the words he was spitting out at his ex and the venom with which he said them.  Doesn’t she wonder how the man who is so “easy and nice” to her harbors such poison and hate for the mother of his child? I know I do. I don’t doubt for a minute that Jodie has a good relationship with Gibson. But when faced with the evidence, wouldn’t that make you question what or who your friend really was? It’s admirable that Jodie Foster is there for Gibson but how does she reconcile those two drastically different sides of the same man?

Personally I think if you give people enough time they will ultimately show you who they really are. Which brings me back to my example up top. If someone I called a friend dropped an N bomb or told a racist joke (hey, it was a JOKE!) in my presence that would be pretty much all I would need to excise him or her from my life. If they would talk like that in front of me, what on earth are they saying behind my back? Because I am certain if they can make their lips form around those ugly words, then you know damn well they live somewhere in their heart.

But what about you? How far would you go to defend a friend? Have any of your close friends crossed the line? Start sharing your stories…

Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.


  1. Terri

    September 22, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Crossed the line? Yes, but I call them on it. Does it mean that I won’t be friends with them anymore? It depends. If they went so far over the line that I am now looking at them in a different light?? I don’t know if I would want to be associated with them anymore. If it was just a wine flowing kinda thing (aka NOT what Mel Gibson did) then we would probably remain friends. BUT with that said, I would still let my feelings known that what they said was wrong in my eyes.

  2. Rene Syler

    September 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Oh yes, absolutely I would let them know before I cut them out. But I don’t believe wine makes people say or do something they would not have otherwise done. In other words, I don’t think it changes what they feel inside as much as removes the filter. That I could not accept.

  3. Okisweetpea

    September 22, 2010 at 8:05 am

    I like this post because it’s true that you never really know a person until they show their true colors.-sometimes that happens by accident. If they felt so comfortable with me to drop a racists comment or joke around me that would be the icing on the cake that I needed to see them for who they really are. If it was a joke, it depends on the joke, people joke around all the time. If we are talking about something that has a serious type of aspect behind it and those racists type veiws came out then I would question them and our friendship. I would bring it to their attention first, gauge the response and then cut ties if that was what needed to happen. Mel Gibson was not joking, he meant every word that he said to his baby mother. If he was a friend of mine then he would be cut off big time.

  4. Erin

    September 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Hmm, a good question for a Wednesday morning. Oddly, I think things like this have to be handled in a case by case situtation. Im sure we have all had a “friend”…and frankly, I use the term loosely, say something in our presence that makes you think twice about your commitment to the friendship. However, sometimes, it is excusable, and sometimes it isnt. I dont think a blanket statement like “id cut ALL friends loose” would be fair, since im fairly certain you or someone you know has at one time or another given someone just one more shot to NOT be a jerk! Now, in the case of mel Gibson, I think that spousal abuse is a no-no, but I wonder if the “stand by Mel” statement os more of a “hey, if he calls me up, and needs a friend, yes, I could have coffee with him, and tell him what I think, but im still going to let him know it isnt ok with me” rather than a “yes, I support him hurting his girlfriend” sort of thing. In the case of the N-word being dropped, while I whole heartidly disagree with it being used in ANY context (rap included) I think you have to weigh the context, adress the hurt, and then decide whether to cut a friend loose or not. Would you really let go of say a 20 year friendship with someone who uses bad judgement with a joke? Because then….what are we teaching our children about forgiveness?? (You may begin my stoning now). I say with experiance that I have had to make that call, and yes, I have cut people loose, but I have also sat them down, explained my hurt, and then let time and distance heal things while still knowing that if they needed me, or visa versa, we would be there for each other…..Love always!

  5. Gayle Mahoney

    September 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I think it greatly depends on the relationship and the situation. At times I have experienced homophobia from people I cared for deeply (and who should have known better); sometimes I have walked away from those relationships, but other times I have confronted those people and expressed how hurt I was and why it was wrong to say what they said. I found those times to be important growth experiences for me, for the friend, and for the relationships. No matter how “evolved” we may be (or think we are!), we can always learn more about tolerance and how to walk in the shoes of those who are different from us. Thank God for the people who stand by me when I say or do something stupid!

  6. Erin

    September 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Thank Goodness Gayle could say what I was thinking so so so much better than I could ever say it!!

  7. M.E. Johnson

    September 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Erin has said it very well. Now what about relatives who continue to love the one who commited the heinous murder. The neighbors who won’t stop saying how nice he was to them. We ALL have a dark side altho we may never have reason to show it. But we never know what will set it off. So lets not be too smug, righteous, whatever. Go Erin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *