If there’s one thing all parents hate, it’s being proven wrong by their children.
The situation only becomes more tense when it has to do with a touchy subject like racism.
Reddit user racistparentsaita is quarantined with some friends here in the U.S., but her parents still live in Asia. She was telling her friends (who she’s social distancing with) how her parents claim to “not care” about race, despite frequent racist behaviors.
While drinking, she and her friends came up with the perfect plan to put her parents in the hot seat. She reached out to them right away to let them know she’d fallen in love with one of her black friends while they’ve been stuck together.
After initially freaking out, her family is now angry at her for pulling a trick on them and the Original Poster (OP) visited the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” to see whether she’d done something wrong.
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
She titled her story “AITA for pranking my racist parents?“
“I go to college in the US but am originally from an East Asian country, where my parents still live. Thanks to [the virus] shutting down colleges, I’m quarantining with my friend and her family. Said friend and family are black (this is relevant I promise).”
“Friend has an older brother (J), and us three kiddos have been spending a lot of time together. One night, the three of us were drinking, chatting, generally having a good time, and we got onto the subject of anti-blackness in asian communities. I mentioned that my parents are super racist and yet constantly deny it when I call them out for it.”
“Growing up, I’ve seen them move subway cars to avoid black men, and they are constantly joking with their friends about how horrifying it would be if their kid dated a black or brown person. And yet, they will always always always claim that they ‘don’t care about race,’ they’re just soooo concerned about ‘cultural compatibility’ and making sure that my and my siblings’ partners share the same ‘values’ (but funnily enough this argument never comes up with regard to potential white SOs 😊).”
“Anyway I jokingly said to J that it’d be hilarious to call their bluff by telling them we’re dating—we’re very similar in terms of ‘culture’ and ‘values’ (read: their parents are also well educated, upper middle class). Idk maybe it was the alcohol but somehow we actually ended up texting my parents, ‘hey can we talk tomorrow I have some kinda important news.’”
“I wake up the next day to a million texts from my parents. J and I both still found the idea funny, so we FaceTimed my parents and basically told them that we fell in love after being quarantined together for so long.”
“You guys. The LOOK on father’s face will follow me to the grave. They didn’t respond and straight up just hung up on us. My mom called me back (no video) 15 minutes later and said ‘your dad and I need some time to process this information,’ and hung up again.”
“I didn’t hear from them in a while, but did hear from several family members asking me, ‘is it true you’re dating a black guy?’ My aunt suggested that my time in the US is ‘corrupting’ me and I should just fly home ASAP, [pandemic] be d*mned.”
“After not hearing from my parents for 2 weeks, I texted them saying it was a joke, and that I just wanted them to acknowledge that they are incredibly racist (and hopefully work on it, but baby steps I guess). My dad yelled at me for ~45 minutes and since then all my aunties and uncles and a handful of cousins have been calling and messaging to berate me for ‘giving [my] parents a heart attack.’ My brothers found it funny, at least.”
“AITA? TLDR: I told my parents I was dating a black guy to see how they’d react and to prove a point. They reacted very poorly and proved my point.”
“Edit to add: I’m rereading this post and I feel like it comes off super flippant, which isn’t how I feel. So I wanted to add that:”
“I do genuinely feel bad, because those 2 weeks were the longest I’ve ever gone without hearing from my parents at all, and even now things aren’t really the same between us. Even if I do care deeply about this issue, I still love my parents and don’t want to cause them unnecessary pain, and I wonder if it was selfish and dumb to create this much conflict just to prove a point.”
“This is a touchy personal issue, as an ex of mine is black. Even after being together for almost a year, I felt like I couldn’t tell my family because I figured they’d react poorly, try to break us up, etc. I really thought I was protecting my relationship by keeping it a secret from my parents, but my reluctance to tell my family ended up being a significant contributing factor to our breakup.”
“I’ve spent so much time regretting how cowardly I acted during that relationship. I truly never want to go through something like that again, and I guess I was trying to test the waters a little bit with this ‘joke.'”
Most people on Reddit felt the parents deserved to be taken down a peg.
“NTA. That’s hilarious. Fortunately, my asian parents aren’t this downright racist, but I find it so funny how they all react in similar ways when they get caught in their own contradictions.” –EggUnicorn
Racism goes by many names.
“NTA. Anytime someone claims they’re concerned about ‘cultural compatibility’ that’s just racism in a different outfit. Cultures aren’t bred in a vacuum. Every culture has been influenced by other cultures.” –SmoSays
One Redditor wrote about how different growing up in Asia can be.
“I’m American born, parents born in China. I’m not defending OP’s parents, but just some background to consider for anyone reading this…”
“I think there’s a lot of grey area when it comes to Asian racism. It’s not like Asia is full of Klan members or something. A lot of Asians that grew up in Asia just weren’t exposed to a variety of cultures or races. It’s understandable that they don’t feel immediately comfortable when put in a melting pot. At the same time, they also face racism themselves in countries like the US, so it’s a bit hard to be ‘arms wide open’ when dealing with those situations. It’s unfortunate, but personally I went to high school in the south and I dealt with many more cases of racism from African Americans than white people.”
“Race aside, there’s nationalistic pride, and even pride for your local region/city to consider. This is especially prevalent in China. Example – my Uncle wouldn’t allow my cousin to date anyone who wasn’t a native of their city.”
“As for their kids that might grow up in a Western country (i.e. the US), they’re basically culturally American. They grow up in the melting pot, and at least are attempted to be raised as tolerant individuals.”
“I say attempt since each individual’s experiences may vary – but at least in my public school experience, American education systems aren’t pushing a racist agenda, media generally tries to be tolerant, and outward racism is at least generally looked down on. This is all stuff we take for granted in the US but it’s really not like that abroad in Asia.”
“The other thing they have to deal with is not just their own beliefs, morals, etc. but also those of their family. It’s unfortunate, but OP’s parents could be incredibly tolerant but if the rest of the family isn’t, it could cause issues and could incite the same reaction (i.e. Dad is afraid of how the rest of the family would react).” –ZannX
OP likely wasn’t the only person hurt by her parents.
“NTA but I feel bad for J. It’s Always awful to be reminded that some people consider your race enough to have a panic attack over.” –rianavale
There were some online who felt OP was wrong to put her friend in this situation, even to make a good point.
“ESH except J. Your family, for being racist and refusing to admit it (typical). You, for essentially using your friend as the punchline to a joke that isn’t and will never actually be funny.”
“Even though he agreed to go along with it, for you, it couldn’t have felt good to be so aggressively reminded that your friend’s family is so repulsed by your existence, and the mere thought of you being involved romantically, that they were willing to all but disown their child.” –nrvsbrkdnce
The world is always growing and changing.
“NTA. Eff em. My parents were an interracial couple. Ironically it was the black side that was none too pleased. It’s just sh*tty values, stfu about cultural [compatibility]. Cultures blend and evolve. I’m proof of that.” –Educational_Stay
Hopefully, OP’s parents learned something about themselves.
“NTA. I think this was even something you needed to do for coping with the break up it caused by not telling your parents. Plus they were lying about the point,…”
“Remember who reacted in which way, and know with whom to stay near, with whom to go on a more distant relation for not being trustworthy people, also for not really respecting you. Everyone who puts reputation over the wellbeing of their children, nephews/nieces, grandkids,… is not worth any effort in my PO.” –tech_GG
Though there was some debate about OP’s tactics confronting racial prejudice, one thing everyone agreed on is that racism is still a very real issue throughout the world.
Many more open discussions will be needed to help correct the biases many of us unknowingly hold.