One of the best things about having friends from different backgrounds and ethnicities is learning about the customs and traditions stemming from their cultures which differ from our own.
Sometimes we might find ourselves raising an eyebrow at some of these customs, but it’s not our place to say so.
Even if sometimes we still find ourselves shoving our foot in our mouths, having unintentionally said a remark which these friends might have found insensitive or offensive.
A recent Redditor found himself in hot water after asking his girlfriend if she partook in something which he’d learned might be common in her culture.
A question his girlfriend took great offense to, seemingly putting their relationship on the rocks.
Worried that he had stepped way out of line, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for asking my gf a racist question?”
The OP explained how he found himself getting in trouble with both his ex-girlfriend and his current girlfriend for his perception, or lack thereof, of their culture.
“I (26 M[ale]) came out of a 2 year relationship with a Filipino girl who sent money back to her parents.”
“She worked as a nursing aid and didn’t make much but would send about $1000 a month back to them and several thousand when they asked for it.”
“I make low six figures so she expected me to pay all the rent, all the utilizes, food, etc.”
“I got pretty resentful and angry that I was paying for everything so she could send money back home.”
“She got mad at me for not understanding her culture and straight up told me I don’t know her culture because everyone sends money back and I as the man is suppose to support and should also send money to her parents.”
“I got sick of it and left, but now I’m seeing another Filipino girl.”
“My friends some of whom are Filipino and some of whom are in relationships with Filipinos say this culturally expected, everyone does it and if I want to avoid it I need to ask the girl up front if she expects it from me or just avoid dating Filipino girls in the future.”
“So I look their advice and asked her if she was expecting me to support her while she sends money back or also send money back.”
“I know for a fact she does send money back as she has told me she does though I don’t know how much or how often.”
“She got really annoyed and told me it was racist to make that assumption and that she doesn’t have to answer me.”
“She’s blown me off for a few days now and I’m thinking the answer is yes and she doesn’t want to come out and say it.”
“AITA for asking her directly?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for asking his girlfriend if she expected him to send money back to her family.
Everyone agreed that the OP was not being racist for trying to grasp a firmer understanding of his girlfriend’s culture, including a number of Filipino members of the Reddit community.
“I’m Filipino and NTA.”
“So a lot of Filipinos, especially those who recently immigrated, as opposed to those born in America, send money home.”
“The Filipino economy is terrible and most of us send money home.”
“So do I, though not as much.”
“Family sharing resources is culturally accepted.”
“Expecting you to ‘provide’ so they can send money back can also be a thing depending on where they’re from.”
“I personally grew up in a progressive and Liberal Filipino family and don’t have that mentality.”
“But it can be common in more traditional/ Conservative families.”
“I still remember when my bikini, perfectly normal in my social circle, drew raised eyebrows when I went swimming with my more traditional cousins.”
“My parents thought it was hilarious.”
“For myself I send money back home using my ‘fun money’ which does not at all affect my half asian/half white husband’s spending and saving.”
“I don’t think it’s racist to discuss those boundaries at all.”
“It might be a stereotype but in this case where there’s smoke there is fire.”- fakingandnotmakingit
“I’m Filipino and it’s a valid question.”
“Not everyone sends money by the way!”
“I live in Australia and most Filipinos I know don’t really send any money.”
“There are a few who do, and I do tell my non-Filipino friends that if they want to date a Filipino, it is unfortunately a reality they must face and they need to nip it in the bud if they are not going to be happy with that arrangement.”
“I honestly hate this about the culture, as it’s the crab mentality really.”
“Someone tries to make it abroad to have a better life and yet they are dragged down by their families back home.”
“Some legit need help, but some just expect the money and they don’t even work.”- dazzlerboo
“I’m Filipino and this isn’t racist.”
“You seem to be genuinely trying to understand our culture and it seems like she’s overreacting about it.”
“As others have said though, if you don’t like them sending money back then don’t date Filipino women.”- TakenGoose
“It’s not racist to acknowledge cultural traits.”
“It’s racist if you use the traits to discriminate or harass them.”
“And refusing to use your money to essentially support someone else’s family is neither discriminatory nor harassment.”
“If you have to ask a direct question to find out what the expectations will be, that is not racist.”
“It’s trying to understand and clarify how the culture effects you personally.”
“She already sends her family money, so it makes perfect sense for you to figure out now whether she’s going to expect you to eventually conform to her culture.”
“What IS racist is expecting someone of a difference race to embrace and finance their culture at your great expense, with complete disregard for your own cultural background and preferences.”-CatsEatGrass
“My wife’s mother sends stuff back to the Philippines and I asked if she did too.”
“She said helllll no.”
‘If you know it’s common in the culture that doesn’t make you a racist.”- Sethetron23
“As long as you’re respectful and genuinely trying to understand another culture, it’s ok to ask.”-jay_why_pee_oppar
“I’m going to say NTA.”
“But as a Filipino-American, I would suggest that you avoid dating us as it is culturally expected that we’ll be sending money back.”
“I personally would not see a long term/marriage future with you and many Filipinas if you take issues with sending money to family there.”
“I don’t think it was racist of you to ask.”
“Nor do I think you’re obligated to send your money back, or to support a Filipina who wants to.”
“But I think you’ll have fundamental compatibility issues with the economic culture that are irreconcilable.”
“The Philippines economy is based a lot on family outside of the country sending money to family inside of the country.”
“I might get hate for this, but as a person who understands the culture, this is just my opinion.”
“The cultural aspect I was speaking of is the norm of providing monetary support to family in the Philippines.”
“Because through long term commitments, such as marriage, your lives and finances often become intertwined any familial obligations that one party has, is likely to become a joint expectation of your family unit.”
“OP seems to want to abstain from entering a joint expectation like that, so he may want to refrain from entering relationships/commitments with people who have those obligations.”
“But it’s not expected, or something I would considered a norm, for one partner to fully support the other with no contributions from both sides.”
“That’s something that was specific to OP’s ex.”
“The way your family unit fulfills any of your familial expectations or obligations is always going to be specific to you.”
“It’s something you should understand fully and both sides need to communicate effectively over prior to making a commitment.”
“OP specifically asked if he was TA for asking his GF what she was expecting of him.”
“We don’t really know how much tact he used in approaching the situation, but overall he’s NTA for asking, as it’s important for both parties to understand their joint expectations in the relationship.”-KatMeowxx
One can understand that the OP was, on the surface, learning from past experiences and seeing if he would find himself in an identical situation.
Hopefully, though, he also understands that his girlfriend likely faces discrimination of one kind or another, both blatant and subtle, every day, and didn’t take lightly to assumptions.
Here’s hoping that the two of them are able to smooth things out over a civil and open conversation.