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Parent Called Out For Allowing White Autistic Daughter To Keep Saying She’s ‘Just Like Mulan’

Photo by Vitolda Klein/Unsplash

We are in very sensitive times at the moment.

We are finally having difficult conversations surrounding our society and all of its flaws.

But are we having the right conversations?

And are we having them with nuance?

Where is the line between helping and hurting?

Case in point…

Redditor Sensitive-Ant-5907 wanted to discuss her story for some feedback. So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for not correcting my daughter when she says she is just like Mulan because she is white?” 

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My 8 year old daughter is autistic and her favorite Disney princess is Mulan.”

“Ever since she was little she was completely obsessed with her and whenever we asked why she was her favorite (besides the obvious that Mulan is a bad-ass hero).”

“She would always say how her and Mulan are just a like and she likes how Mulan ‘never knew what she was doing either.'”

“This is in reference to the beginning of the film before Mulan went off to war in disguise when Mulan sings the first 2 songs.”

“And at first she seems a bit out of sync with everyone else and the 2nd is Reflection where she sings about feeling the need to ‘fit in’ and how she doesn’t think people will like the real her.”

“My daughter has always struggled with making friends and fitting in with the other kids at school.”

“So Mulan’s journey of eventually finding her path really sticks with her.”

“That being said I can understand how it can sound when my daughter, who is not Chinese or of Asian decent, says that her and Mulan are ‘just alike.'”

“But because I know the context I didn’t see anything wrong with her wording it like that.”

“However, I took my daughter on a play date with one of my co-workers and her daughter and the subject of Disney princesses came up.”

“My daughter of course used the opportunity to talk about her love for Mulan and their similarities and my co-worker gave me a funny look.”

“After the 2 girls went off to play my co-worker asked why I allow my daughter to say things like that when it is obviously offensive.”

“I explained the context behind my daughters words, and my co-worker said that I shouldn’t let my daughter word it as such because others will find it offensive.”

“I tried to explain how policing my young autistic daughter’s words and insinuating that she was somehow being bad by saying them could affect her.”

“She already struggles to communicate her feelings to us so the fact she was even able to explain her feelings about her identity to us with words is a major accomplishment for her.”

“For additional context: my co-worker is also white, and I say this not to mean that white people can’t call out other white people for being racist, but just to establish that I wasn’t trying to argue with someone about their own valid feelings about their culture and ethnicity.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. As a black woman, I know lots of ‘well intentioned’ white folks like your coworker.”

“She’s white-knighting to make herself feel better.”

“Mulan resonates with lots of people (myself included) for exactly the reasons your daughter describes.”

“It’s actually an amazing attribute that your daughter sees past race and culture to truly understand someone and emphasize with them.”

“Your coworker is not as intelligent as your daughter.”  ~ Evolutioncocktail

“When I was growing up, my friend ‘Ariel’ was in a car accident and had to relearn how to walk.”

“She had green casts on her legs.”

“She went around telling people she was a mermaid and was OBSESSED with the Little Mermaid Movies.”

“People (adults mostly) gave her shit because she was Indian.”

“Not that ‘Ariel’ cared, but it really upset her when adults would do that.”

“They didn’t understand an 11-year-old, in a wheelchair, might actually find comfort in a movie about someone who gets their legs and finds love.”

“It was pathetic to take that away from someone.”  ~ BuffySteakHouse

“Skimming the post I was assuming the daughter had actually done something offensive like pull her eyes or did a fake accent.”

“I did a double take really confused as to what was going on and had to re read because OP’s kid’s reasons are articulate, sensible and super relatable.”

“I genuinely couldn’t figure out at first what the woman was complaining about and suggesting could be offensive.”

“She sounds like she’s just trying to get her ally cookie more than actually perpetuate anti-racism.”

“That or she’s one of those people that’s so over obsessed with the idea of non-BIPOC’s being the real oppressed ones and the true potential victims.”

“So she’s just aghast that another white mom also isn’t immediately shutting down her kid to protect them in a politically correct world.”

“In case you can’t tell I’m a little too familiar with that brand of person.”

“Like the one that’s reading white fragility in public places but at home fear watches a lot of Laura Ingraham and thinks Meghan McCain always really has a point.”  ~ MountainBean3479

“I’m a trans dude and Mulan has always been my favorite princess due to her trials of having to pass as another gender to get by.”

“Which is what I had to do for the first 27 years of my life!”

“Make A Man Out Of You is one of my favorite Disney songs.”  ~ Zzz__tired__zzZ

“Yes imagine someone telling your daughter “no honey you can’t pretend to be Elsa, Ariel, etc… because you’re not white you’re obviously a princess Tianna.'”

“This is the problem.”

“So many people taking things way too far with the white knighting these are kids they see the world how we all should.”

“I remember when we had to have a conversation about race with my daughter (we are white btw) following George Floyd and the protest.”

“She was 7 and literally unaware of ‘race.'”

“Maybe our fault for not discussing earlier but she was so pure in her confusion.”

“She was asking about white and black people.”

“We told her she was white and her friend “A” at school was black.”

“She got super mad and said… no she was peach color and her friend was brown 😂.”


“My point is kids are pure and are the future.”

“Let them idolize who they want and stop trying to make everything into some damn social justice discussion about appropriation or what not.”

“They see their similarities white adults trying to point out the differences”  ~ electricman420

“NTA. I just knew as soon as she told the story that it was going to be a white person saying that.”

“Imagine someone who has actually experienced prejudice in their lives thinking this is somehow offensive.”

“The fact that the daughter focused in on traits of Mulan that are universal human emotions and experiences, and not her physical appearance.”

“Speaks very well of the daughter and how OP has raised her.”  ~ MattJFarrell

“As an Asian-American, I agree that OP is NTA.”

“It makes me more uncomfortable that the coworker immediately thinks it’s offensive just in the context of race.”

“Why is that the initial reaction?”

“Why can’t people just see past that and admire the actual character who is a person that is more than her race?”

“The coworker does sound like she has a white savior complex.”

“And that makes me more uncomfortable to be around.”  ~ jesuisunechatte

“NTA. Based on your coworker’s logic, Asian heritage girls should only have looked up to Tweetie Bird in the pre-Mulan cartoon era.”

“(I don’t consider the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp to be role models, unless you really want to shred drapes for a living when you grow up).”

“I’m half Asian and can’t imagine any Asian person being offended by this.”

“In fact, many would be flattered that people of all races see Mulan as a ‘sister under the skin’ and role model that may help them face their own challenges.”  ~ Fantastic_Nebula_835

“I’m asian and I’m not offended by it.”

“I really hate when those who make this a race issue to make themselves feel better.”

“To me that is a racist move… they’re basically saying I’m too weak to stand up for myself and need that ‘Whiteknight’ to come to my rescue.”

“OP is NTA.”  ~ Acrobatic-Hold-4668

“And can I add that the coworker, by insisting that OP’s daughter can’t/shouldn’t identify with Mulan because she isn’t of Chinese descent, is reducing Mulan to nothing more than her race.”

“Ironic, given that the song ‘Reflection’ is literally about seeing past her appearance and gender to who she is inside.”  ~ Purple_Midnight_Yak

“NTA. My whole family is Chinese (I’m adopted in and white) and they would be laughing their a**es off at your coworker.”

“I know this from personal experience, because of the number of times I’ve had some random person come to tell me I’m culturally appropriating while I’m participating in a family event.”

“If anything, liking a tv character for her qualities and relating to her while being a different race will foster empathy and understanding.”

“While being told ‘you can’t say you like her – she’s Chinese and you’re white!’ seems much more racist.”  ~ VioletReaver

Well this was educational.

Hopefully OP can show this thread to her coworker and they can have a calm, detailed chat.

And maybe others will be inspired to do the same.