A woman of mixed race with a Chinese background was offended after her father-in-law (FIL) made an offensive remark during a family dinner regarding her culture.
After Redditor peasoupcaviar shared a photograph with her in-laws of her mother’s side of the family enjoying a traditional dinner, her FIL thought making a joke would be an appropriate response.
But she was not laughing.
Instead, she became furious and left the dinner, which also upset her husband.
Wondering if she overreacted to the whole situation, she turned to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for ruining a family dinner after my FIL joked that my Asian relatives might eat my dog?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“So this past weekend my husband and I went to see our in-laws after months of lockdown. It was just the four of us for dinner at their home.”
“Anyways I’m mixed race, and mom is Chinese. I was showing a picture of my mom’s side of the family having hot pot and saying that once the pandemic is over my aunt and uncle from Shanghai want to visit us and we would have really authentic hot pot at home.”
“Well as we start discussing what hot pot is my FIL chimes in with a ‘oh well you better make sure to keep Bottles (my dog) in your sight on hot pot night.'”
“I was like what do you mean and he ‘joked’ about how there’s no fresher meat around than my living dog and we all know how ‘those people’ can’t resist eating dogs.”
“I’m in shock and argued back that no, no one in my family is going to eat my f’king elderly dog when they visit but both my MIL/FIL just laugh and says it’s a joke and my husband just rolls his eyes gives me a shrug but he laughs too.”
“This is where I may be TA. I was just super f’king mad and the more I thought about it the madder I got so I eventually got up and said ‘thanks for the dinner but I think I need to leave now’ and started gathering my things.”
“My husband is like whoa hold on but I was basically out the door. We then have a mini argument by the car where I said I don’t care I just want to go home and my husband eventually agreed and we drove home together.”
“The next morning he was super pissed off at me and said I acted like a child on a tantrum. I felt a little guilty but also still pretty mad that he didn’t even think to defend me. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors didn’t blame the OP’s decision to leave the family dinner.
“NTA. You are not required to stand by and just take it when someone is racist, especially when they are racist towards yourself and your family.”
“You made it clear that the joke was unacceptable, didn’t receive any kind of apology, and left instead of getting deeper into a fruitless argument.”
“Please never let those in laws eat your family’s delicious home-cooked food.” – Aoan
“Agreed, definitely NTA! How could they honestly think that this type of joke is funny and not at all racist?”
“And the husband, my gosh how insensitive and stupid can he be! Then has the nerve to be upset with op for not staying.” – Poppyroseari
“NTA. OP, Your husband and his family are racists. They are disgusting and for your husband to think you’re overreacted to his father’s ‘joke’ is just as disgusting. I wonder what kind of things they ‘joked’ about when you got married.”
“Ask your husband does he think this ‘joke’ would have been appreciated, if his father said it in front of your family?”
“Ask your husband, when you tell your family his father’s ‘joke,’ would they think of him the same, especially learning that he laughed? If he heard someone say racist things to you, would he laugh? Obviously he would because he did it.”
“Really think about if you want to have your future children interact with these racist people. Being biracial. If a friend or family treated me in a way with a ‘joke’ like this, I would cut them out of my life. My parents have cut out people that ‘joked’ like this.” – salemonadetea
The thread inspired a discussion of what joking means and when it is appropriate for a wisecrack.
“A joke is only a joke if the target finds it funny too. If they don’t then an apology is in order.”
“I was literally just having a conversation about this with my best friend yesterday. We have a relationship where we rag on each other pretty much constantly, but we always stop and apologize if the other person seems upset at all.”
“Sometimes a joke that we find funny one day isn’t as funny another day. It’s all about reading the room.” – this-is-nonsense
“Let’s be clear here. A racist joke does not become funny or any less hateful or offensive when it is told in a room full of racists.”
“OP’s FIL ‘read the room’ and felt that a racist joke was appropriate, because he was in a room with his family, a bunch of racists (except for OP, who was the target of his joke).”
“OP is NTA. Her husband and his family are all racist a**holes.” – ATXbunnie
The old stereotype of Asian people eating other people’s dogs was roundly criticized.
“I’m chinese. I’ve never, ever f’king eaten a dog. I know some of my people do, I don’t blame them for it because in their situation there’s nothing else.”
“But this is rude, stereotypical, and very, very racist.”
“They are terrible people for acting like this and not even being slightly apologetic, then acting as if it’s just something to joke about. NTA” – Lolgamz627
“I do not know about China but in Korea people DO eat dogs even when there’s definitely other things around to eat. There are dog restaurants in Seoul (and probably other cities as well) and dog meat is sold in traditional marketplaces.”
“However, NO ONE in Korea would ever eat someone’s pet. No one. The meat sold in restaurants & marketplaces comes from dogs that are specifically bred and raised for meat consumption, just like certain types of cows or pigs are.”
“And, to add, this is a dying tradition and as far as I know, dog meat dishes are considered ‘old people’s food’ in Korea. Younger generations are not that into it and the consumption is dropping.”
“Bearing this in mind, joking that your Korean friend might eat your family pet would still be disgusting and racist. Not to mention it’s disgustingly hypocritical considering how animal in meat business are treated in the west.”
“Korean dog farms are not any worse (or better) than any Western farm producing chicken for KFC or any other meat producing animal factory. The only difference is that we keep dogs as pets but not chickens; thus eating a chicken is fine (even when the poor thing grew to be barely able to walk and suffered throughout it’s short 6 week life) whilst eating a dog is something disgusting and barbaric.”
“Yeah, OP, NTA, absolutely.” – Pelageia
In response to one Redditor accusing the FIL of being “causally racist,” this person said:
“If he thinks a half-chinese woman being upset by dog-eating jokes is a childish tantrum, then he is already vastly worse than “casually” racist. Telling someone upset about experiencing blatant racism that they’re being childish is some gaslighting racist bullsh*t.” – WhapXI
Overall, Redditors believed the FIL made a racist comment, and the resulting exodus of the OP and her anger were totally warranted.