To be FUMING that FiL has used racist language around ds.

(208 Posts)

Ds is 4.4 and has been to see my PiL this afternoon (without me). Dh took him. PIL are in their 70s and are quite ignorant in a lot of ways IMO.

Dh told me that today ds was playing shops with FIL. Apparently ds said to FIL "that will be ten pounds please." To which FIL replied "that's expensive, that's more than the p**is charge."

Dh told FIL not to say that again and ds hasn't repeated it (yet) but I am fuming! Fuming! As well as it being totally disgusting and offensive language I do not want ds repeating it unwittingly at school and being branded a racist. Or them thinking it's something we have said. I am genuinely quite horrified. Am I overreacting to this? Should I say something to FIL next time I see him too? Apparently he wasn't very apologetic and actually didn't seem to think he'd said anything wrong. I suppose partly it's generational but seriously, has this every been acceptable as a phrase? I think not.

Lovecat Sun 06-Oct-13 20:24:19

MrsAMerrick, my mum also uses the word 'coloured' because, when she was young in the 60's/70's that word was considered more polite than black. She finds it very hard to say 'black' as part of a description of someone and will go to great lengths not to say it. She's not racist in any discriminatory or nasty way, just seems to have been deeply conditioned that it was rude to say black...

WilsonFrickett Sun 06-Oct-13 20:29:12

I think you have to say to your FIL that, whatever his views, language like that is not acceptable.

I think you also have to say to DS that grandad said a word which he shouldn't repeat - in whatever way feels age-appropriate for you.

One thing that may help with the FIL for I have one too and he is an unapologetic racist. I calmly explained to him that DS (who at the time went to an inner-city school) had friends from all over the world (lot of new immigration), as well as friends from lots and lots of different cultures. He was entitled to think what he liked, but if DS ever said he didn't want to visit Grandpa because he was mean about his friends, I wouldn't force him to. In other words, if his views meant he lost the respect and trust of his grandson, that was his lookout.

It actually worked. No-one was more surprised than me! But he has toned down the things he says considerably.

Jinsei Sun 06-Oct-13 20:47:38

I really don't buy the excuse that it's just an outdated term. Yes, it used to be used a lot more frequently than it is now, but it was every bit as racist several decades ago as it is now.

My parents are in their 70s and wouldn't dream of using language like this - never have done and never will. Because they are not racist.

OP, I think you do need to set some clear boundaries for your FIL. I'm sorry that your DS has been exposed to this.

FrauMoose Sun 06-Oct-13 21:20:39

I don't feel comfortable with the idea that there is one group of people who are 'not racist' and another wholly distinct group who are 'racist'. To me it seems more that the particular culture and environment and family in which we spent our early life will have influenced the way in which we think about racial identity and the words we do - or don't - use to discuss the issue. Perhaps some of us are more sensitive than others to the way society has changed.

My father who grew up in the UK, but not in England, felt very much an outsider in English society. He taught in higher education and was very conscious of the ways in which students from other countries might feel marginalised. He invited them home and was particularly helpful to them. However his kindness to, for example, Indian PhD students was not matched by any particular sympathy towards, say, Afro-Caribbean bus drivers.

My mother who had been a refugee in her childhood has a sense of empathy towards anyone else from a refugee background. Yet she got terribly angry with me when (I'd have been in twenties then) I remonstrated with her because she'd passed a book she had given me in my own childhood - the first two words of the title were 'Little Black' -to the child of an Asian family living next door. When I told her the story was now considered racist, she became very angry and said, 'It was only a story.' And why was I always trying to make out she was wrong, and acting like I knew better than she did...

Both my parents, whenever I used to tell them them to the playground of my daughter's primary school would invariably comment about what a lot of 'coloured' children there seemed to be.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 06-Oct-13 21:48:30

Ugh my dad does stuff like this and I hate it. He gets really angry when I tell him that it's not acceptable to say 'coloured' anymore or whatever and then has a go at me for being so PC and conservative (with a small c). I don't understand why he is so offended by political correctness. He is a lovely left-wing educated man and I put up with it because he isn't racist or bigoted, he just refuses to accept that language evolves and that he isn't too old to bloody move with the times. Sometimes i think he even does it because he likes to be controversial and enjoys starting a fight with me. BUT if he used a term like this in front of my child, yes I would be furious and I would tell him so. This is the twenty first century and even if he thinks it's acceptable for his generation to keep saying the words they said in the 70s, it's not what we say now. Incidentally I think my dad wouldn't use a term like this in front of dd because he would know how angry it would make me.
It is a difficult situation but I think yanbu.

MyBaby1day Mon 07-Oct-13 04:01:24

YANBU, I wouldn't like people (particularly influential ones) like Grand-parents using offensive words like that. I am a half Pakistani girl and am always offended when I hear it. If your DS mentions it tell him his GD was silly to use a word like that and never to repeat it. I know in his day it was deemed acceptable but it's NOT anymore and people get (understandably) upset. I hate racism and agree with FortyDoors angry

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:15:24

Where is he from?

Just that in Edinburgh too it was the accepted.name for the local shop..not that I am saying this was right and I didn't use it..people even used it affectionately hmm

Yes I know racist words are not affectionate and nothing makes them right.

I could see that if you hadnt grown up with that and he had it might seem extra shocking if he came out with it and more like just a racist slur rather than just using an outdated term that was wrongly widely accepted before.

I am probably not expressing myself well..please don't flame me..I have taken issue with people for using the word before IRL.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:19:20

Is very strange actually that it was used widely here yet I didn't grow up seeing any hostility towards the Pakistani community here..went to school with lots of Pakistani children and everyone got on fine and was friends.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:20:41

(Am just musing not defending )

Lazyjaney Mon 07-Oct-13 06:39:26

I do wonder how some of the easily offended here are going to cope when they are 70 and their DiLs pull them up on their non U language to the PGCs (and it will happen, one generation's standard words become the next's anathema)

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:41:05

I dont actually think being offended by that word is being 'easily' offended.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:42:22

Plus I would assume that those who care aboutnot offending with the words they use may just possibly keep abreast of which words are offensive and modify their language if things fall out of acceptance.

Lazyjaney Mon 07-Oct-13 06:45:13

I guess it all depends on whether you have the grace to respect that older people used words differently in their time or not.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:54:23

No..I think it's more important to respect people and not offend them.

To me it is patronising to say older people don'thave the sensitivity to adapt their language to suit the times.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 06:56:08

Not saying I go around berating 90 year olds btw.

But I'd hope when/if I am 90 I might still think about what I am saying and not just say things are fine as thats how we did it when I was young.

OrchidLass Mon 07-Oct-13 07:03:39

Of course its not acceptable and I think you obvs need to keep tabs of your FILS language.

I would add that I was brought up in Glasgow in the 70s and that was the term used to describe the corner shop up the road by everyone, including Pakistani families in the are. To be clear, I am not saying that this is in any way ok, it just want viewed as araciat term where I lived as a kid.

OrchidLass Mon 07-Oct-13 07:04:19

*racist

Lazyjaney Mon 07-Oct-13 07:19:59

The number if people who are going to be offended by a 70 year old using the wrong words will be limited to the easily offended, and DiL that can't stand their PiL

I think a lot of this thread is just people justifying their ageism behind faux PC sensibilities.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 07:24:59

How old are you lazyjaney? To me 70 isn't some elderly age when you can't help saying things

YouTheCat Mon 07-Oct-13 07:34:13

So, what words in common use now do we think will be shockingly unPC in 30 years?

I can't think of any that I use, which have a negative connection with a group of people.

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 07:34:23

I do wonder how some of the easily offended here are going to cope when they are 70 and their DiLs pull them up on their non U language to the PGCs (and it will happen, one generation's standard words become the next's anathema)

My parents taught me back in the 70s that the p-word was a racist term and absolutely to be avoided. Sure, casual racism was widely accepted back then, but I knew it was wrong. I'm just amazed that it can take some people so many decades to catch up.

Personally, I find it rather ageist to assume that older people are incapable of learning and changing, as this isn't what I have observed in the older people I know. However, if I was using inflammatory, offensive language at the age of 70/80/90 without realising, I would most certainly want my loved ones to set me straight.

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 07:36:51

How old are you lazyjaney? To me 70 isn't some elderly age when you can't help saying things

Yes indeed. At what age can we be expected to lose all awareness and ability to learn?

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 07:37:07

My mum did call my DD "backwards" and " a wee girl with problems".

I was very hmm but just pointed out sshe shouldn't say it..I didnt disown her.

crazyspaniel Mon 07-Oct-13 07:46:05

If you were in London in the 80s, that word absolutely was used as a term of racial abuse. There is no question of being "over-sensitive", unless you think it is being over-sensitive to be bothered by gangs of teenagers chanting that word at your family as they walked past your house, Lazyjane? Perhaps they were just being delightfully old-fashioned?

I know plenty of people in their 70s and 80s who have never, nor would ever, use the word.

They aren't from Scotland, they live in the Midlands. As I said they are racist, there is no doubt, but this is the first time they've spoken like this around ds.

I just hope ds does not repeat it whilst playing shops at school!

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