A cello teacher received a racist email in the form of a thank you letter from a student’s mother, who suggested that her son came home smelling of an “ethnic stench.”
In addition to sharing the horrific email, the teacher – addressed as “Ms. Asif” – threatened to report the mother to social services after discovering her son was forced to skip meals in order to lose weight.
Asif took a screenshot of the message that has now gone viral and tweeted:
“White people are so subtly racist, this is an email I just received from a student’s mother.”
White people are so subtly racist, this is an email I just received from a student’s mother. pic.twitter.com/iJdh7l3ISk— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 28, 2019
The note started off genuinely with a compliment.
“I hope you’re well, just wanted to say thank you for helping Antonio with his cello exam he has passed with amazing results.”
“Hopefully we can soon start preparing him for the next grade exam.”
Then the tone of the letter quickly veered in a reprehensible direction, with the mother expressing that she doesn’t want her son to be “smelling Indian.”
“On another note, I was wondering if during lesson time anyone in our house has been perhaps cooking?”
“Antonio’s clothes always seem to have a somewhat ethnic stench to them, takes more than one wash to get it out!”
“Don’t want him to be smelling Indian in public!”
Not wanting to leave on a sour note, the mother made it worse by adding a disingenuous compliment.
“It’s not an issue just a mindless thought.”
“But thank you anyway for everything you’ve been a star.”
To clear the air about the “ethnic stench,” Asif revealed that she feeds the 9-year-old pupil before the lessons because he complained about how he isn’t sufficiently nourished at home.
also for those people wondering why his clothes have an ‘ethnic stench’ it’s because this kid is always mfing hungry, his parents once told me they skip on his meals so he could lose weight, the kid is 9!!!!!! so I always feed him whatever’s cooked at home bcos I feel for the kid— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 28, 2019
People admonished the pupil’s mother for her not-so-subtle racist statement.
Man, you add ONE spice other than salt and pepper to your food and suddenly it’s “ethnic”— Zariya (@zariyagrant) December 28, 2019
Subtly? I think not.— A'Wale Babatunde (@Eby_tunde) December 28, 2019
It’s a tactic...Praise, Insult, End with praise so it doesn’t sound racist when she literally added “ethnic” 🤡🤡
The teacher wrote back.
“…let me just remind you, Mrs. _ that I am in fact, ‘ethnic.’ If you have such an issue with ‘ethnic’ people and our food I can for sure refer you to a white cello tutor but your racist comments will be something that will be passed on.”
“We will be discussing this in person next time I see you. I demand respect from my students AND their parents, it seems you need to be reminded of basic manners.”
Asif segued into the subject of the child’s frequent emotional outbursts over his hunger problem.
“Another thing that has been worrying me is the way the both of you are treating your son.”
“The reason why your son has been smelling ‘ethnic’ is because I’m having to feed your hungry son before every lesson.”
“You have seen the property and know that I have a separate music room for teaching so this ‘stench’ that you’re so worried about isn’t from cooking.”
“Your son has expressed his grief and has burst into tears in front of me SEVERAL times.”
“I will not tell you how to take care of your own child so I will not comment further on this but this will be something I will have to report to social services.”
my reply for those who are wondering pic.twitter.com/v7vsuDBQLH— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 28, 2019
Here is a screenshot of Asif’s response for the mother.
Asif clarified she is an Uyghur Muslim – a minority of the Turkic ethnic group originating from the general region of Central and East Asia – not an “Indian,” as the mother repeatedly called her.
The Uyghur people are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The Uyghurs became largely Muslim by the 16th century.
Asif hoped her viral post would serve as a reminder about properly feeding your kids in addition to spreading awareness about her cultural background.
aha guess the tweet is blowing up nothing to plug just feed your kids and spread awareness about Uyghur Muslims also #FreePalestine— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 28, 2019
Asif followed up with her tweet with an update about the awkward confrontation she had with whom she referred to as “Mrs. D.”
UPDATE: so let’s call this woman Mrs. D because I’m not about to bait her out. I invited mrs D over today to mostly discuss about her sons progress and well, now the email. We sat down, engaged in small talk, offered her tea and ETHNIC snacks and whatnot and then I brought up 1/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
the email, she was very insensitive and did not see anything wrong with what she had said in the email. She carried on to defend herself saying how ‘Indian smells’ can be strong and how one would not want to smell like that (side note she knows very well that I’m not indian) 2/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
She went on saying how she has Indian friends and loves Bollywood and Indian food, again she knows I’m not indian so she is quite obviously deliberately humiliating me. I asked her to apologise because I was obv offended, she said ‘I’d apologise if I had said something wrong’ 3/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
She started fully sobbing and the whole time I was just there like ...? I’m not about to let you be the victim here, if anyone’s the victim it’s your son m8. She goes ‘I’m sensing a lot of hostility here which I do not appreciate at all’ I was like yo??? 4/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
The conversation expanded to include the woman’s husband, who in turn reprimanded the teacher.
And then she called her husband telling him to come over and talk to me!! I swear I sat in silence for 10 mins whilst this man was tryna handle his wife. He was like you have no right to talk to my wife like that.. I was fr baffled I had to leave the room bcos I would’ve 5/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
definitely decked them in the throat, I came back and very calmly talked to them explaining very nicely how one can consider her words offensive, but they were so damn defensive and ignorant and then they started to threaten me saying they’d find their son another tutor 6/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
I then said that they were only interested in another tutor because I am now aware of how they treat their son at home, otherwise you would not have emailed me saying thank you and all. They told me I had no business getting social services involved, btw this is not the first 7/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
time I have called social services on Mrs D and her husband, but there wasn’t much retaliation before as I had no proof, now I had verbal proof from the son. They accused me of breaking up their family and filling the sons mind with ‘evil ideas’ I was shook fam fr I almost 8/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
fell for it but I was like nah I need to pattern these people or they’ll take me for eediat in the future. They went on to explain how weight related illnesses are very common in their family and they’ve been trying to save their son from that as it’s a genetic thing 9/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
I was tearing up bcos my parents did the same to me when I was overweight as a child and it made no difference, I was just depressed, I lost weight by exercising and eating good which is what I told them is the only healthy way to do it. They both looked a little embarrassed 10/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
they still wouldnt admit they were wrong ʷʰᶦᵗᵉ ᵖᵉᵒᵖˡᵉ ʰᵃᵛᵉ ⁿᵒ ˢᵉⁿˢᵉ ᵒᶠ ʳᵉˢᵖᵒⁿˢᶦᵇᶦˡᶦᵗʸanyway I told them this would really affect Antonio’s mental health, there’ll come a point where he won’t even care about cello anymore and he loves to play 🙁 11/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
we were just going in circles, I said I was done with the conversation and that social services will now handle this, and that I will continue to feed Antonio until the situation changes. They were unbothered and were about to leave my house when I was like aha wait a sec 12/?— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
I was like Mrs D you still haven’t apologised :))) she goes ‘I said I wasn’t going to’ and then I was like okay, you can find another cello tutor for your son and omg I swear we were both there like pic.twitter.com/4BMw3chjh1— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
she gave in and apologised, and I asked her what she was apologising for and I made her say ‘for being racist’ skskksk I was having so much fun no cap but I really feel for Antonio, I’d adopt him if I was financially stable lmao but hopefully SS does something about it— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
I’ve even contacted his school and let them know as well just in case.— 𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔠𝔞❣️ (@sxinxm_) December 30, 2019
Anyway please stand firmly for what you believe in, demand respect and accept nothing less of it, and if something doesn’t look right please let someone know, someone may be suffering silently.
Uyghur cuisine typically includes mutton, beef, camel, chicken, goose, with carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, celery, various dairy foods and fruits.
Common Uyghur dishes include pilaf, kebobs and the leghmen – a noodle dish with stir-fried toppings.
While we don’t know exactly what Asif has been feeding Antonio before his lessons, the cultural cuisine sounds like they would provide plenty of nutrients. And it sounds like this child could use all the help he can get.