Many people feel that it’s ok to make politically incorrect remarks if they are only made in jest.
Oftentimes diminishing the effect it might have on others by saying “it’s just a joke”.
But more often than not, even if the tasteless remark was only made purely in jest, there is a more than likely chance someone was offended by it.
Making one wonder if there are some subjects or things which should simply never be joked about.
Redditor SnooPaintings9288 was horrified when her son made an offensive joke, deciding there needed to be immediate consequences.
Not on board with these consequences, however, was the original poster (OP)’s husband, who claimed that their son was indeed “only joking” and didn’t deserve the punishment he was given.
Worried that she might have been too hard on him, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for punishing my son after he said something racist?”
The OP explained how what she felt was an unacceptably offensive remark from her son, but her husband didn’t seem to think was a very big deal at all.
“About a week ago, my (39 F[emale]) family ordered Chinese food for delivery.”
“When the delivery driver came to the door, my daughter (16 F) was taking the cat upstairs to put in her room because he always tries to eat the food.”
“My son (13 M[ale]) loudly says, ‘make sure the hide the cat from the Chinese guy!’ as I am at the door getting the food from the Chinese delivery driver.”
“He very obviously heard what my son said and was upset by it.”
“I quickly apologized and took the food.”
“I told my son that racist jokes were completely unacceptable and very wrong and he refused to admit that he was in the wrong.”
“So, later that night I forced my son to write a sincere apology to the delivery driver, his name was on the receipt, as well as write a one-page paper on Chinese culture and a one-page paper on why racism is perpetuated by racist jokes and stereotypes.”
“Then the next day I took him to the restaurant and had him read his apology aloud to the delivery driver as well as give him the papers he wrote.”
“The driver was very appreciative of the apology and thanked me for making my son do it.”
“He then told my son about multiple instances where he had faced racist comments and attacks from people while he was a delivery driver.”
“That night my husband (43 M) and I got into an argument about me making our son do this.”
“He told me that it was embarrassing for our son to have to do the apology and that the ‘punishment didn’t fit the crime.'”
“I told him that it was much more embarrassing for the driver to have to face that kind of racism and racist stereotypes and that our son would get over the embarrassment.”
“I do not condone any kind of hateful thinking in my house, and the fact that my son said that embarrassed me as well.”
“My husband told me that it was ‘just a joke’ and it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
“I feel like I might have overreacted some but I think it’s important to help my son understand how what he said was wrong and hurtful.”
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, and did the right thing by punishing her son for his remark.
Everyone agreed that, particularly in this day and age, racist jokes should not be tolerated, and both the OP’s son and husband needed to learn and accept this.
That they can’t be brushed off as being “only a joke”.
“Your son may have been embarrassed, but he SHOULD be embarrassed for having said a racist joke.”
“That kind of joke is meant to embarrass and humiliate the target, the delivery guy.”
“You did right by your son by turning that around and showing him that his attitudes and ‘jokes’ are the real embarrassment.”
“Soon he will be too old to teach not to be racist.”
“You are a great parent and I hope your son takes this lesson to heart.”- dstar_shark
“Your husband’s attitude is precisely the problem and is why systemic racism continues to propagate in this country.”
“Kudos to you for a very just and well-thought-out lesson for your son, which I hope he can truly learn from and perhaps help solve some of the issues that are breaking our society apart.”
“Perhaps your husband needs to do some similar homework in regards to what racism is and how it harms not simply the people it is directed at, but all people as a whole.’
“Honestly, I am so proud of you, in the most non-condescending way possible, for being such an excellent example of a person for your family.”- FinallyKat
“The punishment exactly fits the crime.”
“You wanted your son to understand the consequences of his actions, for individuals and for the culture at large.”
“Your decision was smart and thoughtful, and more apropos than grounding him or whatever else.”
“I’m particularly confused that your husband objects to the apology.”
“Asking a teenager to apologize to someone they were extremely rude to is baseline responsible parenting.”
“Sounds like your husband could use the lesson too.”- dellaevaine
“You held him accountable for his actions.”
“What he said was not funny, it was wildly inappropriate and also hurtful.”
“The reason his behavior is so wrong is that stereotype that Asians eat cats and dogs comes from this nasty belief that all Asians are barbaric people.”
“This prejudice dates really far back, and became even more prevalent during and following WWII.”
“The fact that this prejudice still exists despite the American obsession with Japanese anime and K-Pop, says a lot, it really does.”
“This is why education is so important, and that is exactly what you gave your son.”
“Just because some poverty-stricken cities in China consume cats and dogs, doesn’t make the stereotype okay.”
“The origins of that stereotype are from the U.S., not what happens in China.”
“People were convinced that Chinese who operated take-out restaurants would steal their pets and eat them.”
“This stereotype has been applied to ALL ASIANS, not just Chinese.”
“And I promise you, most Asians would like you to STOP thinking they all steal pets because they certainly do not.”- theartbook35
“You did the right thing.”
“You 100% held him accountable and that delivery driver deserved an apology.”- Deathsongg
“My God, set up a parenting school or start a magazine or something!”
“You handled your son’s misbehavior appropriately.”
“Now for the bigger problem, where did he learn such dumba**ery?”
“Hint: which parent is minimizing and making excuses for such examples of racism?”
“You need to have it out with your husband about, having your back when you discipline your son, and, WTF kind of racist sh*t is he teaching your kids?”- plsuh
“Your son did something wrong and you corrected him.”
“That’s all there is to it.”
“Your husband however seems like he condones that kind of humor and chances are your son picked it up from him.”
“Not sure if that’s the case, but it is 100% a learned behavior.”- krombopulos_rob
“As someone who has faced that EXACT racist joke more times than I can count, I think you did exactly the right thing.”
“You’re a fabulous mum and you’re helping society to nip this sh*t in the bud.”
“The last thing you or any of us should want is for your son to grow up and continue to perpetuate micro-aggressions like these.”
“In volunteer settings.”
“At the doctor’s office.”
“Because that’s what minorities face all the time.”
“The fact that your husband thinks these jokes are okay means that he too needs a lesson, realistically several, on racism and micro-aggressions.”
“Can I recommend ‘So You Want to Talk About Race?’ By Ijeoma Oluo?”- backsong
“You did a good job.”
“You’re raising your kid.”
“Teaching them right from wrong.”
“Unfortunately there are a lot of people who share these views like your husband.”
“It’s just a joke.”
“Well it’s not.”- dechaagny
It’s easy enough to brush anything off by saying “just kidding” or “it was only a joke”.
But when everyone in the room isn’t laughing, then it’s important to stop and ask yourself if your “joke” was a success.
Particularly if the jokes cause offense to even one person.
Here’s hoping that the OP’s husband realizes this sooner rather than later, as normalizing that type of humor at a young age will make it harder for their son to drop the habit as he gets older.