As we know, the openness of young people often puts the older generations on guard.
It’s bad enough catching shade for the things that make us comfortable, but it’s even worse when it comes from someone were obliged to be polite too.
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit offered a case in point.
The Original Poster (OP), known as pachiche on the site, laid out the issue in the post’s title.
“AITA for politely but firmly telling my boyfriend’s racist-a** mother that I will ‘not be told what to wear in my own apartment’ “
OP began with a quick sketch of the mother in question.
“Most of the information is pretty much in the title. I love my boyfriend but his immigrant South Asian mother is a really stubborn insular person.”
“I knew her staying with us is not going to be pleasant for many reasons, but I think being polite and firm would be the way to go. For some reason, my bf thinks that I should be ‘more tactful, even if I’m not wrong.’ “
Then came a comment.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back is her apparent hatred for me wearing shorts. Granted they’re pretty short but it’s 2021 and it’s summer.”
“And I’ve got killer legs lady, don’t blame me for that. I’m pretty sure your son gets off on that.”
And OP never heard the end of it.
“She told me that ‘it’s disrespectful to wear them around’ when she’s there and she knows ‘kids our age’ do ‘all sorts of crazy things’ but ‘to keep them out of sight as a sign of respect for parents.’ “
“She doesn’t really like me for one simple reason: I’m white and have non-traditional jobs (office admin, bartending), unlike [her] perfect little engineering son.”
OP closed with a question for Redditors.
“Should one always be tactful to racist insensitive elders? Or is it important to draw a line and draw it firmly and early in such messy relationships?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Though Redditors’ responses were varied, a majority of people assured OP she was not the a**hole.
Many called out OP’s boyfriend.
“It’s actually more disrespectful to assume that wearing shorts leads to “all sorts of crazy things” as if she knows what’s in your head. The mother should keep her thought to herself, because she’s a guest.”
“NTA. There is a limit to how tactful one can be. Your boyfriend didn’t meet you yesterday. He knew what you wear for a while.”
“He can’t do 180 and turn this into a YOU problem when it’s his Mother’s problem. Boyfriend needs a new spine so he can stand up for you and deal with his Mother himself.” — ChewMyFudge
“NTA. ‘It’s easier to dump a momma’s boy than to divorce one and both are easier than trying to change a momma’s boy.’ “
“You are fighting against years of cultural conditioning that taught your SO to place his mother (and father) above his wife and children. Being a disrespectful child is virtually anathema in some cultures.”
“Unless he is willing to change and go to therapy to achieve it you are facing a lifetime of him trying to get you (but not her) to stop rocking the boat. Good luck to you.” — terrapharma
“NTA but honestly – do you see this getting better? Do you see your bf growing a spine? Do you think she’ll improve as a mother-in-law? As a grandmother?”
“You need to take an honest look at your future here, and have an honest conversation with your BF.” — bob_the_driver
Others felt that both were to blame.
“ESH.There’s a big cultural difference here, and you might want to ask your bf to deal with that…”
And you should definitely set some boundaries, but it really doesn’t sound very polite by the way you describe it. Maybe you want to consider doing it ‘kindly’ instead of ‘firmly’? It’ll give you a chance to build a respectful relationship with your MIL.” — Accomplished-Use1199
“ESH, her for policing what you wear in your own home, you for not respecting her, and your boyfriend for letting her treat you like sh**.”
“You’re not the biggest AH, but honestly you really need to reevaluate if this relationship is worth it. Also I’m struggling to see the racist part? Or am I just being clueless?”
Plenty of people shared that sentiment. They schooled OP on what racism actually is.
“ESH – you are white and you are calling a non white person racist. You cannot be the victim of racism, someone can be prejudiced against you.”
“Yes, respect your own body autonomy but drop the entitlement of someone’s culture not meshing with yours.” — aclassybroad
“Lmfaoooo umm are you sure you know what racist means? Like the actual having the power to adversely effect and disenfranchise a large group of ppl. His mother isn’t racist. She literally can’t be.”
“She is prejudice like mf though and you aren’t wrong NTA but be careful with those words. Getting your feelings hurt isn’t racism. It’s wack but it’s not racism. There’s only one group of ppl who holds the power and financial prowess for that. Let’s not downplay that.” — Money_Mammoth_8457
“ESH, but definitely OP more than the mom. There’s cultural differences at play here, but she shouldn’t force her culture on you. However, OP is clearly supremely disrespectful, and you can tell even from how she writes her post.”
“Not to mention, OP bizzarely thinks that the stereotype of white girls liking dogs equates to racism… It’s pretty clear there’s two sides to the story here.” — xiecer
“ESH. She’s being an a**hole. Your boyfriend can’t say stand up to his mommy. You think a PoC saying something bad about you is racism (it’s not).” — foreverponderingsgf
Perhaps the Reddit feedback will give OP enough encouragement to level with her boyfriend and his mom–and learn a bit more about how what is and is not racism.