A terrible lesson many of us have had to learn is the people we love most can still disappoint us.
This isn’t even because we have more faith in them, but because they do something genuinely, horribly wrong.
A woman on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit experienced this when she reflected on her relationship with her late grandfather.
But according to Redditor Rhie, her family believed she should put those feelings to rest.
So much so, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was in the wrong.
She asked the subReddit:
“AITA for publicly sharing an experience that has ‘hurt’ and ‘divided’ my family?”
The OP was really confused about the ongoing situation.
“Ok, this happened a few months ago, but the fallout is ongoing and it’ll take [some] context.”
“And I can’t even believe this is a thing.”
The OP was Mixed-Race in a mostly White family.
“I grew up mixed (race/ethnicity, depending on who you ask- Arab/white), and spent the majority of my life with my White family.”
“Divorced, Mom was [my] main custodial parent, [and my] grandparents (Gma, Gpa) helped out a lot.”
“I was super close to my Gpa; he exposed me to poetry and a love of literature and language early on, and we were super close.”
But not everything about the situation was “perfect.”
“I also grew up in a family that saw my Lebanese immigrant father as ‘one of the good ones’ and told me most of my early young life I should be ‘thankful I was born here (Texas) and not in that horrible place’.”
“And starting as early as 9, [they said] I was so beautiful because I looked so ‘exotic.'”
“So, like, microaggressions to my face.”
“I found out my grandparents thought much worse of me as I got older as my mom shared some things.”
The microaggressions turned into macroaggressions after 9/11.
“So I came up in the 80s and 90s (37[female]), and being Arab wasn’t yet as terrible as it would become.”
“I had a funny accent and hard-to-pronounce last name, [and I was] occasionally called a terrorist on the playground. Nothing terrible.”
“When I was 18, 9/11 happened.”
“I was spending Thanksgiving that year with my family when my Gpa said, ‘I fully support internment camps for Arab-Americans.’
“And I was like, ‘Pawpaw, that’s my dad, me (as first-gen), and my (half) siblings’ (then 4[female], 8[female], and 12[male]).”
“And he said, ‘Well, we have to sacrifice some of the innocents for the good of the nation.'”
“Something broke in my 18-year-old self that day and nothing was ever the same.”
“9/11 brought me and my family much pain and heartache and violence acted out against us, but that moment is forever branded in my memory.”
In September 2020, the OP wrote about her experiences.
“This past 9/11, a hashtag was going around from those that were young and the impact 9/11 had on their lives and family.”
“I partook in the hashtag, listing out all the various impacts 9/11 had on me and my family.”
“I included that moment with my grandpa in the list. It should be mentioned he passed in 2014.”
The OP’s family did not appreciate her response to the hashtag.
“My cousin (26[female]) on my mom’s side saw the post and LOST it and showed it to our Gma and the whole (White) family.”
“And they came down hard.”
“My mom said I should ask before posting things about our family.”
“I shut that down quick, and I’ve unfriended all of my fam, which, whatever, I didn’t have many to begin with, I’m far too left for them.”
“But they are all so angry with me for speaking ill of the dead and our patriarch and our Gpa. Like, they wouldn’t do a zoom call over the holidays with me and my husband.”
“But I loved him until the day he died, I didn’t cut him out, and that moment changed the course of my life.”
OP was shocked and confused at her family’s reaction.
“AITA for sharing a story about my Gpa that makes him look bad?”
“It just hurt so many people that I would do something like that, and I don’t know if I actually am the a**hole in this.”
“Like, why wouldn’t they be sorry he would say that to who was ostensibly another child of his?”
“Ultimately, my cousins are not speaking with me anymore and I hurt my mom and aunt and gma.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some assured the OP she did nothing wrong.
“NTA. I’m Mixed-Race, too, and I’ve dealt with microaggressions from White family members all my life. You didn’t do anything wrong by speaking out and sharing something that was incredibly painful to go through. good for you.” – KhalDrogHeaux
“NTA. You shared YOUR experience on how 9/11 affected you. That memory/statement was apart of it. Your grandfather’s words impacted you in a way that no one will understand unless. Your own family said you should be put in an internment camp because of the actions of someone else, even though you’re innocent.”
“That statement should make your family ashamed, not you posting about it. They are the AH for defending his actions and condemning you for sharing your experience.” – Radiant-One5411
“Yes, this. You are absolutely NTA. 9/11 affected all of us, but it affected all of us differently. Your memories are yours and no one else’s.”
“Sounds like grandpa is grouping your Arab side with something that affected all of us Americans, and not understanding it affected you as well.”
“You are well within your right to express your feelings. It’s sad that so many people seem to take sides, and don’t consider that situations aren’t black or white. I’m frustrated for you.” – cheetahutopia
Others agreed and said the family should behave better if they want to be portrayed better.
“‘well, we have to sacrifice some of the innocents'”
“Being told one is expendable by a grandfather who claims to love you is… yeah.”
“OP is NTA and has a right to tell their story in whatever way they feel is right.”
“If you want your family to speak well of you, then be a good person.” – Zhoenish
“I am not Mixed-Race, so don’t share your burden, but at the end of the day – OPs story is OPs to tell.”
“The only reason they are unhappy with the story being shared is they recognize it doesn’t show them in a good light.”
“If they were truly good people, they would reflect on it and try to do better, Instead they want OP to shut up about it and keep up the facade.”
“NTA” – Fraerie
“Same. My favorite is when my stepmother told me it wasn’t my fault I was ‘raised by wolves’ (my Hawaiian/Asian grandparents). If you don’t speak out, you’re just enabling future abuse.”
“Obviously, if they have the presence of mind to be embarrassed, they know it’s wrong.” – bambamkablam
“I can’t say this better than Anne Lamott did: ‘You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.'” – Fae-Rae
A few also questioned the grandfather’s positive qualities.
“I love how when a person who was an AH their entire life, becomes a Saint because they died. The hurt and damage they caused isn’t erased because they passed.” – WeeklyConversation8
“Plus, I don’t think that Gramps saying he’d be fine sacrificing OP, their dad, and siblings is a microaggression. That sounds very macro to me.” – jhonotan1
“NTA your family put more effort into trying to silence you to not seem racist, then to actually address the problem and make an effort to not BE racist.” – TheOtherZebra
It’s so hard to process when a loved one has done something harmful to us, especially where microaggressions and macroaggressions are concerned.
But the subReddit had the OP’s back and supported her in sharing her experiences. Being open about what has hurt us is much more important than someone else’s image.