We can become so accustomed to seeing our caregivers as superior to us that we start being obedient out of habit more than agreement.
The issue, of course, is that as people they are fallible, and sometimes we are tasked with a choice between obedience and truth.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) No_Sundae3526 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for being “racist” to my son’s girlfriend?”
OP began with the usual introductions.
“I (39M) have a son (17 M) who recently got a girlfriend.”
“His girlfriend is black and a very nice, kind, and beautiful young lady.”
“I have met her and invited her for dinner and family events plenty of times, and she’s a joy to be around.”
Everything was fine, until…
“But recently my mother has been staying with us because she is recovering from a surgery she had and she’s going on 70 years old so she can’t do much on her own.”
“Long story short my mother is a classic racist and a raging narcissist, and she is not one to hold back from her opinions.”
“I showed her a photo of my son and his girlfriend, and she went on a 2-hour rant about bloodlines and kept saying they ‘don’t look right,’ and when I said she was coming to dinner, she said doesn’t want the girl near her because it’ll ‘disturb her’ so last minute I told her she could not come.”
“My son has been trying to invite his girlfriend over every day since but I said no multiple times due to his grandmother being here and her saying she doesn’t want her near her.”
OP explained his rationale.
“I just don’t want any problems.”
“But he argues that I am being ‘a complacent racist’ by even allowing her to be here.”
“And even more so for not allowing her to come over to ‘protect a racist.'”
“He says I should have told her to leave the moment my mother said all that stuff.”
“But my mother is an elderly woman who can hardly make it on her own as it is.”
“Definitely much harder after surgery.”
“Though I don’t agree with her I can just leave her to fend for herself.”
“I literally do not know what to do. My wife says my son is right about me being complacent, but of course, she’d agree because she and my mother don’t get along well.”
“I know I am not a damned racist. But now everyone is saying I am aiding one by taking my mother’s side.”
Unsure, OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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 decided: YTA
Some responses were very confused.
“So your mother, who is in YOUR house, gets to say who can and can not come to your house because ‘they will disturb her’? Your son and wife are right.”
“You are just as guilty as your mother. You are a complacent racist and enabling your mother’s bigot behavior.”
“Your mother can stay and eat in her room. She doesn’t get to dictate who comes into your house. Grow a pair.”
“And if it wasn’t obvious, YTA” ~ Artistic_Accident_79
“He fully acknowledges she’s a narcissist and a racist, but somehow thinks his wife is unfairly biased against his mother because she doesn’t like her.”
“I wonder why that might be… As though disliking someone is invalid for some reason?”
“And if his wife hates his mother so much, why the hell is she staying in their house??? It’s layers of nonsense.”~ squishpitcher
Others pointed out a logical fallacy.
‘”My mother is so elderly and feeble that she will go on two-hour rants about how much she’s a proud bigot.”‘
“Man, I never even went on a two-hour squealing when I got pokemon for the first time.”
“Your son is right, you’d rather defend your bigot mother rather than go, ‘hey, shut up and get over it'” ~ your-yogurt
“Also people act like the minute you become a senior citizen, you’re incapable of being accountable for your actions and words.” ~ The_Death_Flower
“‘You are 70 you should be held accountable”
“I’m 63. Zero chance I become a raging bigot in 7 years.”
“But if I somehow did, it would be on me.”
“I’m responsible for my actions. Always.”
“Anyone who takes that accountability and agency away from a 70-year-old (or any adult) has robbed that person of everything he is and everything he has.”
“It is the most heinous and offensive thing you can do to any person.” ~ Smirkydarkdude
Silent support is still support.
“You don’t share your mother’s racism, great!”
“But you are supporting it, and that puts you in the sympathetic to racists bucket. And that’s a very near bucket to be in compared to racists.”
“You’re allowing a racist to dictate your behavior with racist actions, enforcing segregation in your own household, restricting access.”
“You say your son’s GF is a wonderful person you like. Right now your actions don’t say that to her or anyone else.”
“You either challenge your mother directly and get her to shut her mouth and stop altering your life to accommodate her racism, or you fall real easy into the racist bucket with your mom.” ~ Sirix_8472
OP did return to add some final thoughts and some more perspective.
“Hello everyone last night I posted this after me and my son argued over this all day and my wife is giving me the silent treatment.”
“I can’t really reply to anyone because the moderators locked this post.”
“I woke up this morning with thousands of notifications.”
“I just posted this thinking maybe 20 people would reply. The messages and comments are overwhelming.”
“But I will answer everything as best as I can.”
“Firstly no I can not afford to put my mother in a home.”
“I’m not rich, and I’m not poor, but I do have 3 children I need to provide for and my wife. The savings I have I won’t spend on anything but their college funds.”
“And my mother definitely doesn’t have the money to afford those homes.”
“She lives by herself, with me and younger my sister occasionally going over a few times a week to help her.”
“This situation is just special because she had a benign tumor removed.”
“If I could of I would have had her stay with my sister, but my sister is pregnant and very soon to go into labor. So I offered her to stay.”
“She is a difficult person to be around, but she’s my mother and she still has about 7 more weeks until she’s able to go back to being on her own. Second, I have no problem with my son’s girlfriend.”
“I actually would be happy if he chose to settle down with her in the future.”
“I want to welcome her in my home. She had been coming over and basically a part of the family for months now up until this.”
“And now my son says she thinks we don’t want her around anymore.”
“I can see why people are saying I am the asshole after reading through I still am unsure how to go about this still.”
“People are saying I should invite her over and tell my mom that she will not say anything out of the norm to her or else I’ll send her off.”
“But people are also saying I should not bring her over knowing it’s a possibility that my mother will do something anyway.”
“Kicking my mother to curb for now is not an option, but I will privately tell his girlfriend the situation and ask her what she would like to do and make arrangements from there.”
“Also people are calling my son an AH for wanting her to come over because of this.”
“I am okay with being criticized on here but please do not shame my son.”
“I think he is just getting anxious because him and her don’t go to the same school and the only way they see each other at my house is because my son says her father is very overprotective and intimidates him every time he goes to her house.”
“I do understand I was going about this in a very easy way by just doing what my mother says for the time being because I did not want to start drama.”
“But she is the bad guy in the situation, and she is the one who needs to change I should not be accommodating her prejudice ways, and my son or his girlfriend should not have to suffer because of her.”
“Thanks for all the advice.”
While it can be incredibly difficult to stand up to someone who used to change your diapers, it is a vital part of defining your own boundaries and personhood.
A carefully chosen battle can do more than just help you assert your own boundaries, it can make you a safe place for others who are still figuring out their own.