When couples from different cultures marry, there are some adjustments and accommodations that need to be made.
What’s standard practice in one culture may be completely unfamiliar in the other.
How those differences are handled says a lot about the love, commitment, and character of members of the new, blended family.
And that extends beyond the cross-cultural couple.
Their respective families are also factors in achieving a happy, harmonious life.
So what happens when the in-laws show no respect—or worse—mock a family member’s cultural traditions?
A mother is wrestling with that question, so she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not letting my daughter go over to my SIL’s house after her kids dumped my daughter’s bindi bag?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“I (40, female) am South Asian and my husband ‘Luke’ (42, male) and the rest of his family are White. We have a beautiful daughter, ‘Amara’ (14, female) who has decided to start wearing bindis in day-to-day life two months ago.”
“Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t pressure her into this decision.”
“This was all on her own, and I don’t even wear bindis daily. I helped her buy a bindi bag, and Amara carried it around with her whenever she’d be gone from home for more than a day ever since.”
“Last weekend, I let Amara go to my sister-in-law (SIL) ‘Bree’s’ (45, female) house. Bree has two kids, ‘Danielle’ (15, female) and ‘Chase’ (13, male).”
“Saturday afternoon, Amara called me crying and told me that Danielle and Chase had been teasing her about the ‘dots’ on her forehead since Friday.”
“That morning, Danielle and Chase had grabbed the bag out of her room and dumped it into the pool as a ‘prank.’ It sank to the bottom, and since Amara can’t swim, she wasn’t able to grab it.”
“Amara went to Bree and told her what happened, and Bree took Danielle and Chase’s side, saying it was kids being kids and that they did Amara a favor with that prank.”
“I comforted my daughter over the phone and went to pick her up soon after Amara said she didn’t want to be at Bree’s house anymore.”
“Once I got there, I helped Amara put her bag into the trunk before going to Bree to confirm the story. Bree confirmed it and doubled down on what she said hard.”
“I was irritated at that and soon left with Amara.”
“When we got home, I told Luke what happened, and he suggested not having Amara go over to Bree’s house until Bree apologizes for saying that the kids did Amara a favor by throwing her bindi bag into the pool, and the kids apologize for the incident itself.”
“I agreed with that being a good idea but checked to make sure Amara was okay with it first. Amara said that she doesn’t even want to see her cousins or aunt now anyway, so I sent Bree a text explaining that Amara wouldn’t be coming over until they all apologized.”
“I didn’t get a response at first, but when I did, Bree was telling me that was unfair and that I was punishing her and her kids over a dumb prank. I just replied that I just want an apology for my daughter, and that should be a simple request.”
“Bree didn’t reply back, but my mother-in-law (MIL) ended up calling me and telling me that I was horrible for not letting Bree see her niece and that both Amara and I needed to get over the incident when I explained Amara didn’t want to be around Bree or her kids either.”
“Luke is on my side with this.”
“But my MIL won’t stop texting about how I need just to let this go and let bygones be bygones.”
The OP summed up their conundrum.
“I could’ve pushed for an apology without having Amara not come over to my SIL’s house anymore in order to try to get it.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA. First of all, since when was Bree and her children ‘owed’ a relationship with your child? Right now, Amara doesn’t want to see them because they have hurt her.”
“Secondly, kids will be kids extends to maybe doing something dumb when they’re five and colour on the crisp, white wall. These are teenagers who are fully aware that they’re making racially insensitive comments.”
“Their auntie and cousin have South Asian heritage, and rather than be curious and celebrate the diversity in their extended family, they’re calling it weird.”
“Third and finally, even if we take away the racial connotations of what they did (which is a big factor), they still ruined something of your daughter’s, and they’re old enough to know better and should have to replace it and apologize.”
“I would divert MIL’s attention to your husband and let him handle his family.”
“And in the meantime, keep supporting Amara for being proud of her heritage. Bindis are beautiful, and if she is stoked to wear one daily, then let her light shine bright.” ~ coastalkid92
“I’d add a fourth: that Amara doesn’t have to be the one to ‘get over it’ since she didn’t do anything wrong; wrong was done to her.”
“I can’t stand it when the bullies & their supporters tell the person who was bullied that they need to be the bigger person & get over it. Why the hell can’t the nasty bully get over themself & apologize for what they did?” ~ Celticlady47
“To add a fifth, a prank is supposed to be funny to all parties involved—not just mean. The kids weren’t pranking her. They were being mean and knew it.” ~ Nexyna
“And sixth, add MIL to the list of people who should be on a timeout until they apologize. MIL is inserting herself into something that had nothing to do with her.”
“She’s taking SIL and SIL’s kids’ side when Amara is the one who was wronged. SIL and her spawn were/are racist a**holes.”
“And MIL is insisting they should be given more chances to abuse Amara when Amara wisely wants nothing to do with them.”
“If MIL thinks SIL’s family’s behavior is OK, MIL is not a safe person for OP or Amara.” ~ jahubb062
“BIG ON THE TIME OUT FOR MIL. SIL clearly gets it from SOMEWHERE. ‘ur taking away my daughter & her kids TOY’ is EXACTLY what MIL meant with that disgusting call.” ~ cherrypiked
“And, judging by the SIL’s response, that “meanness’ (racism) was learned from her.” ~ bbrekke
“She should not stay over at a place with a swimming pool when she is unable to swim. Especially with those kids. Their next racist prank could be fatal.” ~ enonymousCanadian
“NTA, good for sticking up for your kid. Your MIL is enabling racist bullying.” ~ DragonflyOk9277
“Seriously, racist MiL supports racist daughter & racist grandchildren over her biracial grandchild is not a good look.”
“Give it over to hubby to deal with and let MiL know OP will not be discussing this with her further. Would be the call, let hubby deal with racist family.”
“And make no mistake, this is completely a racial matter. It was culturally insensitive. NTA.” ~ False-Importance-741
“NTA—your SIL gave her kids a pass for stealing and damaging property. Make sure your MIL knows that and give them all (MIL, SIL, and her kids) consequences if they don’t apologize, like not visiting them or inviting them to your place.
“Kudos to you and your husband for sticking up for your kid.” ~ MangoSaintJuice
“Racism. You forgot the MIL’s pass for racism.” ~ Alternative_Year_340
“In-laws are a bunch of ignorant, obnoxious, immature racists. They have no respect for either of you and make sure that you know it.”
“Just because they are your husband’s relatives does not mean that they have ANY place in your and your daughter’s lives.”
“You both deserve to be treated with respect from all—MIL, SIL, kids. Do not subject yourselves to their toxicity and disrespect. You both deserve to be treated so much better. They have no place in your lives.” ~ WhoKnows1973
“NTA. Not only does SIL suck as a person, but she is racist and sucks as an aunt and mother. She’s also a horrible bully.” ~ DetailEducational917
“NTA. A prank would be hiding the bag for a few minutes, then saying, ‘haha I have it here!’ and giving it back.”
“Anything that causes the person being ‘pranked’ harm or to not be whole/missing items is not a prank. It’s cruel.”
“Since when did saying ‘it’s a prank’ absolve everyone of doing sh*tty things?” ~ PepsiColaDream
“NTA. To be fair, I had to look up ‘bindi’, but based on what I read, they were mocking her heritage in a vile and downright racist manner.”
“They owe you a massive apology, and MIL needs to realize just how vile and humiliating it was.” ~ Thanatofobia
“NTA. Bree is raising her kids to be bullies and racists. Good riddance.” ~ Manyshadesofgrey2023
“Yeah if it’s Bree’s attitude that they were ‘doing her a favor’ by tormenting her this way, you just KNOW that Bree is talking sh*t about the bindi behind her back. Her kids got this idea to tease her about it from her.” ~ BussSecond
“And not just that. What has she been subjected to all the other times visiting Bree that mom and dad have no inkling of?”
“It may have taken a large number of years, but Luke’s family’s true feelings about OP and the relationship have been exposed.”
“There will have been comments behind backs the entire time. Bree would have come down on her kids like a ton of bricks if there wasn’t any long-running undercurrent.” ~ Trifecta_life
“Shame on the MIL. I am so tired of BIPOC being expected to turn the other cheek, forgive, suck it up, grow a thicker skin, etc… to appease bullies.”
“Even if those brats apologize, it would not be sincere, and the rot goes back generations. I would not have my kid around any of them.”
“OP, your husband sounds like a good one. NTA.” ~ Icelandia2112
“NTA and your MIL now also owes an apology.”
“And until Bree recognizes that what she and her children did was offensive and takes responsibility for it with a real apology, you need to keep that distance.
“I mean, just wow—her kids bully your child and destroy some of her property and she thinks that’s fine because she needs to act more ‘White’ anyway? WTF man.” ~ ParsimoniousSalad
Reddit was clear that the OP was right to protect her daughter from the prejudice and bullying of her aunt and cousins.
They also found OP’s mother-in-law—her daughter’s grandmother—equally toxic.
Hopefully, the OP’s husband takes over communicating with his toxic relatives.