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African Mom Offers Hilarious Comeback After Being Mistaken For Her Mixed-Race Son’s Nanny

Black mother playing with her son at a park
kate_sept2004/Getty Images

Anyone who has been around children for any amount of time understands that it’s important to tell them that relationships and families are made up in all sorts of ways.

Because of this, assumptions should not be made about a person’s life, unless they want to hurt someone’s feelings, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor throwingaway123678 was taken aback recently at the grocery store when a woman made multiple comments about her son’s ethnicity, who she claimed to look nothing like his mother.

To get beyond the conversation, the Original Poster (OP) decided to take it in a unique direction.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for acting like I didn’t know my son was Asian?”

The OP was aware her baby didn’t look very much like her.

“I (22 Female) have a one-year-old son called Rue with my boyfriend Sean (23 Male). I’m North African and Sean is Asian.”

“Our son happens to look like a carbon copy of him. We joke that my genes weren’t used at all in the creation of this baby, so I’m aware that he doesn’t look like he’s mine.”

But a woman at the grocery store made an unusual assumption about their relationship.

“I was at the grocery store picking up a few things when this woman came up and started a conversation with me. She was asking about Rue, how old he was, his name, and things like that.”

“Then she asked how long I’d been nannying for his parents.”

“I assumed she thought that initially because I am kind of young and I know most people don’t have kids as early as I did, so I told her that actually, I was his mother.”

“She sort of frowned, and looked between my baby and then me before saying, ‘But he’s… Asian.” She said the word ‘Asian’ in a really weird tone like she didn’t like saying it.”

The OP was frustrated by the comment.

“The mature thing probably would have been to tell her that he’s Asian because his dad is Asian and biracial people do in fact exist.”

“But instead, I just gasped dramatically and went, ‘Oh my god, are you serious?'”

“I picked Rue up and held him at eye level while asking how he was able to pull the long con on me and hide his true identity for so long.”

“He giggled, which made me laugh, and the lady looked bright red and very annoyed because people were looking at us.”

“She told me that she was just surprised because he doesn’t look anything like me, and I replied that I was surprised too obviously because today is the first day I ever took in any of his ethnic features.”

“Then she said that I could have just answered the question she was obviously asking instead of making a public scene. She walked off still looking pissed, but I just finished getting what we needed and then left.”

The OP’s mother wasn’t certain about the stunt.

“I was telling my mom about it because she called when I got back to the house, and she also thinks I should have just informed the woman that my son’s father is Asian instead of acting like a fool in the middle of the produce section.”

“Maybe it was a bit of a jerk move to do it the way I did. But I mean, if I tell you the kid is mine and you think the kid doesn’t look like me, wouldn’t the next best conclusion be that they look like their other parent?”

“I just want outside opinions on if I was being an AH about this.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some didn’t think the OP did another wrong in her response.

“As a woman who looks nothing like their very Greek father but exactly like my very English mother, trust me when I say there is no way to correct someone’s false assumptions about your relationship with your son without causing awkwardness.”

“Nor, quite frankly, should you have to. People need to stop making stupid assumptions about people they don’t know.”

“Sincerely, A woman who has had to explain to grown adults far too many times that I’m not my father’s girlfriend.” – Pleasant-Koala147

“I hate when that happens. I once had someone ask if I’m sure I got the correct child at the hospital because I’m Black and my daughter is extremely light-skinned (absolute copy-and-paste of my husband).”

“Like, okay, there’s something called genetics, and there are two parents, calm your t*ts.” – RaysMummy

“My mother is half Asian (and looks Asian), my brother as an infant/toddler was a pale blond curly-haired tyke with bright blue eyes. My mom was also assumed to be the Au Pair.”

“One time a (wealthy?) couple implied/suggested that they buy and adopt him when they found out my mom was the mother (not wealthy) and not the Au Pair!”

“(It’s been a while I can’t remember the details of the story, if they implied or straight out asked…)”

“Your way is brilliant!” – TaibhseCait

“My mom was asked if she was my nanny when I was young. Specifically, someone said, ‘You really love (me), don’t you?’ and asked how much she was being paid, because they could probably beat it.”

“In her case, I think it was age (she was an older mom) and the fact that she actually picked me up herself from my super expensive private school. It’s obnoxious to be asked in any case, but the race angle makes it extra gross.”

“NTA, OP. She should be embarrassed. She asked an embarrassing question.” – Willowed-Wisp

“My wife and I are of different races. Our son looks 100% like her. The initial jokes were funny, but it wears off quickly. I have four family members who are adopted, not all of the same race.”

“No one should ever feel ‘othered.’ And calling someone out for othering is justified.”

“They don’t have to be my DNA to be my kids. They don’t have to look like me to be mine. They don’t have to be or do or look like anything they aren’t. They are perfect exactly as they are.”

“Sure, it could have been in a less AHish way, but shame on the person for assuming, then pushing.”

“NTA.” – wildcat12321

Others shared their own experiences with awkwardly being called the wrong name.

“I don’t know if this helps but I used to get the opposite situation when I was a nanny. I’m white with brown hair and so were the parents and the babies, and I was 24 at the time so people often assumed I was the mom (the actual mom was 30).”

“The best version of this was all three of us took the kids to the pediatrician together and the nurse practitioner looked at the three of us and her brain like, visibly flatlined as she tried to puzzle out which of us was the mother and if there was some sort of poly situation happening or what.” – SeaworthySwarth

“NTA. My sister got comments and looks for her first two kids because they’re olive/brown, and she’s pale as h**l, and her husband is Asian.”

“It’s actually because the kids take after my mom’s side of the family, while my sister looks like my dad’s side (lots of Spanish blood on that side apparently).”

“If you look at my oldest niece, she’s a mini-me of my youngest sister, who’s a carbon copy of my mom. Her third kid finally did look like her, super pale, and got my dad’s blue eyes. Genetics are weird!” – sewing_mayhem

“I used to get that same question when I was out with my FOUR sons. I’m Caucasian; they’re half Pacific Islander and don’t look like me.”

“People would even ask if they were adopted. How minuscule do your world experience and imagination have to be to make these kinds of asinine assumptions?”

“By the way, NTA, and thanks for the entertaining story!” – bogbeanbogbean

“People stop my family sometimes and ask our daughter who we are. She’ll happily tell them she’s with her Mummy and Mama, causing so many confused looks! They always follow the same reasoning too:”

“1. Assume the kid is with Mum and a female relative. 2. Hear ‘Mummy and Mama’ and somehow assume one of us is the Aunt. 3. Act as though both of us being her parent is impossible. 4. Change tack and ask which one is the ‘real’ (birth) mother.”

“If at any point they hear that we are both her bio-parents then it’s an open season because that’s ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ and we simply must tell them all of the intensively personal information that explains how.”

“We’ve gotten into the habit of saying ‘Science and modern medicine’ instead. A few have realized how, and that usually opens a whole new can of worms.”

“OP had the best reaction ever and is an absolute legend! If I had witnessed that, I’d be hanging on to my trolly to avoid rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter!” – Entorien_Scriber

“I have no idea in what universe that’s acceptable behavior. I work in a library in a bougie part of town and there are a LOT of nannies who take their kids to the library I would STILL never assume someone is the nanny unless they said so. Much less ASK about it.”

“Embarrassing. Also, there are a lot of different family situations and people might not want to talk about it?”

“The carer could be an aunt/uncle, grandparent, family friend, parent, nanny, or any number of people. A risky thing to guess.” – serperiority

While the subReddit was thoroughly amused by the OP’s reaction to the woman, they were otherwise upset that the OP had to have such a reaction at all. Though it’s generally okay to comment on how adorable a person’s child is, making assumptions about their family life surely is not.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.