old age is not an excuse for bigotry and nastiness

(56 Posts)
MountainHeights Tue 24-Dec-13 15:48:27

Dh's grandpa is 86, he is very healthy, active and intelligent. However he is a nasty, mean old man who I have real trouble tolerating and I'm fed up of being told, 'oh well, thats just grandpa'. In the past I've been told I'm an unsuitable wife/ mother as I work and don't obey my husband, I've listened to him be extremely racist, sexist and down right rude. However today took the biscuit. We were talking about big things which happened in the world when he interjected with the following about the terrorist attack on the twin towers, he said it made his day when that happened and shame they didn't kill more people, he didn't like americans and though he hates muslims as well he is glad a few of them died and thinks if they die whilst killing americans its killing two birds with one stone. He then laughed when I pointed out in shock that thousand of innocent people died, to which he said the planet is over populated and he hopes muslims have more success soon. Dh, mil and fil just say 'oh thats grandpa, I wouldn't pay any attention', however he really thinks everyone believes as he does as no one ever challenges him. Today I challenged him and dh just hushed me! I get the views of different generations etc, b6t it makes me furious that these comments and attitudes are supposed to go unchallenged, especially when my children are present. What sort of lesson does that teach them? Aibu?

YANBU at all in my opinion. It's one thing for family to not challenge the views of an elderly relative to keep the peace but I would NOT leave views like that unchallenged in front of my DD....no way.

NurseRoscoe Tue 24-Dec-13 15:51:24

YANBU!! If he is well and not suffering from dementia or something (when it wouldn't be his fault really) then whilst he is entitled to his own opinion there is a time, a place and a way to say things.

I would have a serious word with your OH about it, even if he does just pack it in in front of your children

BerryChristmas Tue 24-Dec-13 15:51:29

He's playing by HIS rules, and not YOUR rules. He hasn't caught up with the latest thinking. YOU will be the same when you get to 86, I can assure you.

TheSmallClanger Tue 24-Dec-13 15:53:58

He sounds like a nasty, bigoted person.

Not all elderly people are bigoted or behind with the times. This isn't using outdated terminology like "coloured", for example. It's hateful rubbish. YANBU.

I think it's a fair lesson to children to understand that different people have different views but I would most certainly challenge views like that.

SueDoku Tue 24-Dec-13 15:55:03

He wouldn't be going anywhere near my DC with views like those...

friday16 Tue 24-Dec-13 15:58:44

I think the acid test if whether it's an outburst that would have been acceptable at some time in the recent past. I'm not totally convinced by the idea that people are entitled to stop time at their fiftieth birthday and demand the world doesn't change, but at least when someone elderly engages in casual racism and sexism, there is the argument that it was OK within their adult life and they might not have got the memo.

But asshattery like the OP describes would have been totally unacceptable at any point in the last 86 years. So it's not about an old man and his outdated politics, it's about someone being obnoxious, and their age is no defence.

AlbertHerbertHawkins Tue 24-Dec-13 15:59:08

Sounds like he's having great fun trying to get a rise out of you.

WitchWay Tue 24-Dec-13 16:05:28

He will have been a nasty young man in his youth. Well done for standing up to him.

BohemianGirl Tue 24-Dec-13 16:06:19

DHs God Mother will keep referring to the special school round the corner from her as 'being full of Mongols' shock I do pull her up on it and she says 'you know exactly what I mean' and I do know what she means, and she is the kindest person ever who knits and fundraises, but she is just so out of the loop with correct terms.

However, the OPs grandad is just full of hate. That is the difference.

80sMum Tue 24-Dec-13 16:10:17

That sounds a bit tongue in cheek to me. It's his idea of a joke, I suspect.

Thants Tue 24-Dec-13 16:10:58

I don't think age matters at all. My gm is 91 and not a racist bigot. Eg she is accepting of my aunt who is gay. A bigot is a bigot no matter what age they are. I would want nothing to do with this man

Caitlin17 Tue 24-Dec-13 16:23:24

How old is old enough to be permitted still to use the word "mongol"? Personally I'd say around 102.

Nanny0gg Tue 24-Dec-13 16:27:18

But asshattery like the OP describes would have been totally unacceptable at any point in the last 86 years. So it's not about an old man and his outdated politics, it's about someone being obnoxious, and their age is no defence.

This ^^

And if I were you I'd challenge at every opportunity.

WooWooOwl Tue 24-Dec-13 16:27:31

He sounds horrible, but he's entitled to his opinion, no matter how wrong it is. I don't challenge my Nan who is the same age when I disagree with her just because I respect her enough not to argue with her.

Wolfiefan Tue 24-Dec-13 16:29:39

I'm sorry but anyone who spouted vile opinions like that would be kept away from my kids. Age is no excuse.

ilovesooty Tue 24-Dec-13 16:30:49

He sounds horrible and his age is no excuse. While people are excused bigotry and unpleasantness on grounds of age ageism flourishes. I know older people than he is who are more tolerant and people much younger whose opinions and utterances see so vile I wouldn't want them around me let alone children.

flippinada Tue 24-Dec-13 16:32:41

Yanbu. Some people are just utterly foul and he sounds like one of them - has he always been this way (am guessing yes).

Anyone who thinks this is a wind up (I could think of funnier wind ups, personally) or plain speaking is probably equally as unpleasant, so I wouldn't put any store by their opinions.

Caitlin17 Tue 24-Dec-13 16:33:32

And tbh I wouldn't know what someone meant by a "school full of Mongols". Mongol has been out of favour for decades although I'm aware it was formerly used to refer to Down's Syndrome. Is it supposed to mean a school catering only for Down's Syndrome pupils or for any special needs pupils? If the latter then it would have been offensive even when "mongol" was acceptable.

I also agree age is no excuse. My 88 year old mother was genuinely interested in hearing about a friends' civil partnership and thought the idea was lovely.

amistillsexy Tue 24-Dec-13 16:33:51

I'd simply tell him that his ridiculous notions aren't going to get any rise out of you-you're going to do what everyone else does and take no notice of him. Then continue to take no notice as you pour the tea, serve the turkey, hand round the mince pies, etc...

flippinada Tue 24-Dec-13 16:34:12

Agree sooty. IME, unpleasant young people are definitely not improved by age.

daisychain01 Tue 24-Dec-13 16:34:56

There is a tendency in the older generation (say 75years +) to say things that, by today's standards are not acceptable. Society has moved on, and with it vocabulary such as "coloured" "the n word" and derogatory words for being gay that we think urghhh.

If you are after an opinion, I'd say the best you can do is protect your children from hearing your GF, or at least talk to them in an age-appropriate way along the lines of how GF says things that "we don't like because they aren't kind or nice to other people, are they children?" You won't change his behaviour or beliefs sad

I personally don't think it follows that when people get old, they spout racist, bigoted obscenities (that's what they are) - highly likely it was "handed down" to them by their parents/rely's.

YADDDNBU to be wound up big-time - I am, just reading your post. Good that it is disturbing, if it makes for a more tolerant society.

CaptChaosGlitteryBaubles Tue 24-Dec-13 16:37:51

So, at what age does a person stop being allowed to pull another up on their bigotry then? If you're not 'allowed' to pull up an 86 year old racist, are you allowed to pull a 76 year old one up? What about a 66 year old one?

Vile though it is, the expression 'mongol' was at least common parlance within my lifetime, it isn;t now, and shouldn't be used. The views expressed by the OP's DH's DGF have never been acceptable within his lifetime, and are therefore merely the views of a nasty bigoted old man, who has no doubt been able to spout his particular vitriol mostly because no one has ever pulled him up on it!

He sounds like an arse, is there any way you never have to see him again and can prevent your DCs from exposure to his shenanigans?

happytalk13 Tue 24-Dec-13 16:44:15

YANBU. I have to listen to this kind of bullshit at least once a month (people on benefits/immigrants/criminals, and usually if someone is one of those things then they are probably all three of them, stealing their money - it makes me sick. I have challenged it but to be honest, I can't be doing with the threatening finger-pointing and half-rising-out-of-his-chair "You don't know you're born...I grew up with nothing! How dare you...." that then comes my way.

I've not yet met someone of that age who isn't a holier-than-thou bigot with an opinion that dare not be challenged.

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