AIBU to be offended?

(54 Posts)
NKfell Mon 11-May-15 17:32:50

Now, I've got another thread on step parenting which could have gone on here and put one about dogs on here the other day so it's entirely possible that it's me with the problem in my humongous pregnant state.

I should start by saying, I'm not usually easily offended and often eye roll people who are!

My DP's ex and Mum of DSD said "you're lucky your kids hair isn't as bad as yours- it would be a nightmare on a morning!" then said "I don't mean bad as in looks bad- your hair always looks lovely but I bet a lot work goes into it". On it's own, I think I'd have been mildly offended but it follows another statement earlier in the day of "you're lucky your kids have blue eyes, halfcaste kids with blue eyes look very cute". I did say "please don't say halfcaste- it's 2015" and she laughed and said "sorry I know I'm not PC!".

I'm mixed race (blk/whte) and I have very very curly hair that does need to be tamed and I like to think I'm successful 95% of the time.

My kids having blue eyes- well I have a strange feeling I'd find them just as beautiful with brown eyes like mine and that having blue eyes isn't more beautiful than brown.

I agree with her in so far as my children having hair as curly as mine would be epic first thing on a morning BUT...whaaa? I'm offended.

Am I being sensitive? If I am, I'm sorry because I actually hate people getting offended too easily and the PC brigade can completely get on my nerves...but, am I being sensitive?

mrsruffallo Mon 11-May-15 17:38:38

It's not something I would say personally but I think they are supposed to be compliments. She is not saying brown eyes are horrible, just that the blue eyes look cute. Mildly irritating- she sounds quite sheltered but I don't think she meant it in a bad way (unless this is by stealth and she used a nasty tone or something)

WorraLiberty Mon 11-May-15 17:41:30

If you agree with her about the hair, then why are you offended?

Mixed race kids with blue eyes do look lovely as a rule and very striking.

She sounds as though she got an attack of the 'OMG that came out all wrong' grin

NotYouNaanBread Mon 11-May-15 17:44:05

I hate the "Oh, lol, I'm not PC!" thing. It's EXACTLY THE SAME as saying "Oh, lol, I'm a rude, deliberately offensive bitch". Half-caste sounds like a word out of a Victorian novel and hardly much better than mulatto.

I'd probably have let either one of the comments pass on its own, but the two of them in one afternoon would have been a bit much for me.

I have FEELINGS about the manipulation of the phrase "politically correct" in recent years and the way the DM and its ilk have made it into a bad word, and something to be avoided somehow, when the other word for PC is POLITE. Which your DP's ex is not.

TeaorcakeTeawins Mon 11-May-15 17:44:32

Looking for the best interpretation, it is quite striking when people with darker skin tone have lighter eyes (not necessarily blue, but blue is probably the commonest shade of lighter eye shades...) And as you say, all of you having very curly hair would be time consuming in the morning.

However, I don't think that's what she meant - I think she is trying to stick the knife in while still being covered by the "Oh, but I didn't mean it that way..." I don't think YABU to be offended by what she's said.

That being said, I wasn't there, I don't know either of you, so I could be extrapolating two plus two to make five hundred.

sitting very carefully on the fence, as is my usual position/stance

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-May-15 17:46:33

She sounds like a well-meaning idiot with no brain-mouth filter.

I love dark hair and light eyes. It's unusual and striking as a result. I would rather cut out my tongue than use the phrase she used for your children. But is she racist or just really ignorant?

TeaorcakeTeawins Mon 11-May-15 17:48:45

And now having seen other points, I'm even more on the fence - I can absolutely see myself (because I've done it before) make remark that I think is innocuous, and then dig myself into a hole trying to backtrack when I realise how it could be perceived.

A friend of mine did this - she calls her children "Cheeky monkey" as a term of endearment, and then wanted to crawl into a corner and die when she used it in public to her mixed race god-daughter - the looks she received!

However, as NotYou says, it's the "Oh, I've never been PC" type rhetoric that really clinches it as meant to be offensive for me.

Hassled Mon 11-May-15 17:50:48

Yes, well-meaning idiot sums it up. It doesn't sound like there was any malice behind what she said.

NKfell Mon 11-May-15 17:53:20

I haven't come across anyone else in their early 30s saying 'halfcast' and I think that's what's done it along with the word 'lucky'.

I promise I'm not usually this moany- I overheard an older gentleman (mid 80s) saying to my colleague 'has the coloured girl had babba yet?' and I popped out to say hello to him- he's lovely, he's of a different generation and he doesn't offend me at all.

Her saying it automatically makes me wonder if she's trying to have a dig at me (not that she's necessarily racist but is trying to hurt me without being obvious).

I on the other hand could be completely misinterpreting and I could be being sensitive.

My friends have all been equally offended on my behalf so I thought I'd try and get a broader perspective from MNers!

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-May-15 17:58:44

Well there's a test for that. Say to her, "you used the phrase half-caste, I feel really unhappy about that. In future, if you have to refer to the kids' race which you don't please use mixed-race/mixed heritage (whatever you prefer) or just not refer to it. Thanks.". If she says it again; racist twunt.

There could be an element of trying to talk about your/your children's hair and eyes to say, "hey I'm so cool with it" which is just a sign that talking race, ethnicity and so on is just really uncomfortable for her but she likes you and wants to learn how not to be an enormous tool. [charitable]

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-May-15 17:59:21

*talking about...

GlitzAndGigglesx Mon 11-May-15 18:08:19

My dd is mixed race and the hair can be challenging but looks lovely when styled or out in its full curly bloom smile. She could've worded it better. People always ask how I manage with DD's hair as it's obviously not a texture they're used to

uglyswan Mon 11-May-15 18:08:30

Does she say nice things about your DC in general, or is it all along the lines of "it's a good thing your kids look whiter than you"? And halfcaste??? Is she white South African and just suffered a momentary lapse? Because otherwise YANBU.

Theycallmemellowjello Mon 11-May-15 18:10:42

No yanbu to be offended about this. If she knows half caste is not pc it was offensive to say it (obviously it's offensive even if she didn't know but I mean she had no excuse). And I think it is offensive to suggest that your children are lucky not to have 'African' features (hair/eyes). Yes it's wonderful to appreciate the special beauty of a mixed race child. But it's grossly offensive to do so by suggesting that they are lucky to have typically white features.

Theycallmemellowjello Mon 11-May-15 18:11:55

I agree that no one in their early 30s seriously thinks half caste is an ok term.

SilverDragonfly1 Mon 11-May-15 18:16:38

It kind of comes across like 'don't worry about you/ your children being mixed race, you're all still attractive looking (unlike the majority)' to me, I'm afraid. I'd be feeling offended.

RaskolnikovsGarret Mon 11-May-15 18:53:46

Don't think I get offended easily, so think I must be missing something. To me it sounds like she is saying in a passive aggressive way, I hate your ugly black Afro hair and dark eyes, I much prefer the white, blue eyed look. It's been a long day, but that's how I read it. And yes you should be offended I think. Am I completely wrong???

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-May-15 18:56:15

Probably right Raskolnikov but it's hard to be truly upset with someone telling you your kids are beautiful. Even if the subtext seems to be... because they don't look like you. sad

RaskolnikovsGarret Mon 11-May-15 18:59:04

I think she's only complimenting the children as a way of being insulting/racist to you. sad

NKfell Mon 11-May-15 19:02:51

I heard it as 'lucky not have african features' but I don't even feel comfortable saying/typing that- because she couldn't mean that could she?!

She does bring it up a lot but she's never said anything like that- I know she spoke to DP about voting etc then she'd mentioned immigration and said sorry to me! Then asked where my Dad's from.

After reading and thinking more- I wonder if she feels a little on edge because I'm the only mixed/black person she knows and then when she wants to have a dig, that's her weapon of choice?

CupidStuntSurvivor Mon 11-May-15 19:04:48

I've actually heard the term being used by young people quite regularly in some areas around where I live. IME they don't often mean offence by it, it's simply the language they've been brought up around, having had racist parents.

Her language is definitely wrong and I definitely wouldn't have worded it like that but without knowing how she actually said it, it sounds like she was trying to compliment you.

FWIW, I'm white with very curly hair that my DD has inherited. I get comments about how difficult it's going to be to manage fairly often.

Your DC sound beautiful smile. I do love seeing children with curly hair.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 11-May-15 19:05:12

I know she spoke to DP about voting etc then she'd mentioned immigration and said sorry to me! Then asked where my Dad's from. I have now fallen off the fence. She's an arse. Sorry.

monkeysaymoo Mon 11-May-15 19:10:06

I think she is absolutely 100% having a racist pop at you whilst thinly disguising it as blundering, but well-meaning, foot in mouth dope.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 11-May-15 19:18:50

She sounds an idiot.

Even if she did mean well, that doesn't mean you can't be offended by what she said.

NKfell Mon 11-May-15 19:24:11

I just thinks she brings up race a lot more than anyone else I've ever met but I don't know if that's because she's particularly sheltered or because she's harbouring some racism...I'd like to think it's not the latter.

She is always very nice to my children and often remarks how cute they are.

I know I'll end up hearing more and becoming more and more offended- I just hope I don't react because I have a feeling she'd enjoy that.

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