(158 Posts)
londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 12:03:13

I'm a permanent resident in the UK who comes from Far East and is married to an English man. When I met my English mother-in-law first time as a girl friend at that time, she nicely said Hello and then asked me 'Do you speak English?' I'd like to know if this can be described as racism or not.

LadyMaryChristmas Mon 12-Nov-12 12:04:48

Of course it isn't racism. She wanted to know how she could communicate with you.

EnjoyVampirebloodResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:18

Well I suppose its a question she could have asked her son - if he's bilingual she may have thought you only talked to each other in the non-English language. But no, I don't see it as racist-do you?

SoleSource Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:26


Nancy66 Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:35

Not at all. Perfectly reasonable question if she was meeting you for the first time and genuinely had no idea if you spoke the language.

AutumnGlory Mon 12-Nov-12 12:06:43

She wanted to make you feel comfortable or maybe she didn't know how to start a conversation with you. I imagined your boyfriend would have told her already if you could speak English or not.

Psammead Mon 12-Nov-12 12:07:29

No. I also live in a different country as my birth country and whenever I meet someone new the comment on my language. I think it's a polite way of making sure everyone involved in the conversation is comfortable and not out of their depth.

WorraLiberty Mon 12-Nov-12 12:07:57

Yes, leave the racist bitch?

donnie Mon 12-Nov-12 12:08:03

What is racist about it?
Hmmmm (strokes beard in contemplative fashion). Are you a new poster OP? are you near a bridge, perchance wink

Santasinmypudenda Mon 12-Nov-12 12:08:44

No not rasist.

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 12:09:38

Yes, she clearly hates you. hmm

God yeah. Leave the lot of them!!!

OpheliasWeepingWillow Mon 12-Nov-12 12:12:00

Not racist but a little abrupt perhaps?

mrskeithrichards Mon 12-Nov-12 12:13:26

Phone the police

mumnosbest Mon 12-Nov-12 12:20:54

Nope, not at all. When i 1st met dhs huge family, they all asked me if i spoke any of their language. It didn't even enter my mind that ir was racist. Would you rather she wasn't interested, ignored you or spoke very sloooowwwwwly incase you possibly didn't. Sounds like she was just being friendly and seeing if she could interrigate you and check you're good enough for her ds chat with you.

Did she say it very slowly and loudly?

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 12:25:29

Sometimes perceived 'isms' say more about interpretation by recipient than perceptions of the speaker!

goralka Mon 12-Nov-12 12:26:40

of course she is a vile racist, being English!!

StripyMagicDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 12:29:40

I don't see it as racist. my Chinese mother in law asked if I spoke cantonese when we first met. I'm from Scotland and white.
my first thought wasnt that she was racist. just that she was trying to see howbroad a conversation we could have.
unless your .MIL is outright offensive, it may be that she was blunt. but not racist I dont think.

Tweasels Mon 12-Nov-12 12:30:12

No dear, it can not.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 12:30:37

Well if you had been communicating with her son without a problem then she should have known you could s

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 12:31:32

Speak English. I don't think it was racist. Maybe a smidge patronising though. Patronising people are usually ignorant.

Scholes34 Mon 12-Nov-12 12:31:55

My grandad used to love confusing and teasing my DH from down south with his Yorkshire dialect. I assume your MIL was trying to avoid doing the same.

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 12:32:24

But Naomi Campbell had a relationship with Joaquin Cortes (the Spanish flamingo dancer) for months and they didn't speak the other lover's language so nothing can be assumed.....

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 12:33:08

Well, she could have asked her son before hand. She could have gauge your level of english by the way you said 'hello'. She could have asked you how comfortable you are with english (rather than 'do you speak english?').

All that would have been nicer.

Personally, i would have felt offended by such a direct question.

but I would have said it is racist.

BackforGood Mon 12-Nov-12 12:35:30


Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 12:38:47

I don't know why people are being shitty about this.

It's a very direct question. OP had obviously got to know her bf not through the power of mind, but by communicating in English. What did the mil think? They spoke in sign language? I'm not surprised the OP thought it might be racist.

redskyatnight Mon 12-Nov-12 12:39:27

I'm going to go against the flow here. I'm of Asian appearance, but have lived in the UK all my life and don't speak any other languages than English.

Lots of people ask me "do you speak English?" I assume they don't ask everyone they meet if they speak English, so deduce they are asking on the basis of my skin colour. In my view this is treating me differently because of my race. Therefore racism, although not maliciously so, maybe it should be described as "thoughtless racism"?

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 12:39:51

WTF OP, what is racist about that?

I can say "hello" in many languages which I can't converse in

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 12:40:01

She asked you this the first time she met you, when you were still dating?

In the meantime, you have planned and had a wedding to become husband and wife and now you are asking if she was racist?

That's a long time to hold a grudge over a few words!

Surely her behavior in the intervening months/years has told you if she's racist or not?

BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 12:40:44


Kill her.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 12:41:03

you were only a gf who she may have heard nothing about.. presumably you said "yes" and then had a conversation with her, and as you are now married, why on earth is this suddenly bothering you???? weird...

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 12:41:55

redsky, if they come up to you in a bus and ask if you speak English, then go back to their mates, that's very racist! if they intend to communicate with you and ask how to proceed, then it's not! I've been asked what language I speak in countries where I look a bit different to most of the population, thats not racist that's just asking how to proceed with the interraction!

corlan Mon 12-Nov-12 12:43:14

When you say the 'Far East',do you mean Norwich?

If so, then I think it was probably a fair question.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

donnie Mon 12-Nov-12 12:44:08

gazzalw I assume you meant 'flamenco' ? I have visions of the swoonsome Mr Cortez in a pink suit replete with feathers and a long neck wink

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 12:47:10


BupcakesAndCunting Mon 12-Nov-12 12:47:19

grin Corlan

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 12:47:46

Oops...having a moment obviously! blush

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 12:48:26

A flamingo dancer wouldn't have been anywhere near seductive enough for N.C.!!!!!

I don't think it's racist. I'm a kiwi chinese, and I won't be offended if people ask. But then I've heard stories of (white) kiwis being told to learn english by bigotted people. Sometimes it's not all because of your skin colour.

WorraLiberty Mon 12-Nov-12 12:49:01

Fakebook, perhaps the OP's DH speaks her language and that's why the MIL wanted to know if she spoke English?

redskyatnight Mon 12-Nov-12 12:50:21

if they intend to communicate with you and ask how to proceed, then it's not"

So if you met someone you didn't know, your first question would always be "do you speak English?" Personally I'd assume that if I met someone in the UK they did speak English unless I had a valid reason for thinking otherwise (such as them telling me that they didn't or obviously struggling to find English words). And them looking "a bit different" hardly counts as a valid reason. For example, I speak rather better English than (say) a Polish family who has just moved to the UK, yet you would presumably consider it ok to ask me if I spoke English (on the basis of my skin colour) and wouldn't bother with them?

donnie Mon 12-Nov-12 12:52:43

Hmmmm...............I've done a bit of digging and there is some history here. I can't do links but there is a thread in AIBU back in August this year called MIL which was also started by this OP. Maybe someone else can do the link.

OP do you still hate your MIL? is that why you are trying to convince yourself she is a racist?

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 12:55:00

I will disagree with quite a few of you.

I think she probably wasn't meaning to be racist BUT
- if she was her son's gf, you would imagine that they could communicate.
- being of a 'different appearance' doesn't mean you should assume that the person can't speak english. As another poster said, some people of asian origin have always lived here and clearly have perfect english. This is true for lots of different nationalities/ethnic origins.
- Asking people outright 'do you speak english?' IS rude. I would always start very gently with english and then ask how comfortable the person is. I am grateful that my PIL have never asked that sort of questions, either to me or to any of my family members (whose levels in english varies a lot).

There IS this sort of underlying assumption that if you are a foreigner then you can't/don't speak english (or not very well). The other side of the same thing are people constantly praising me on how good my english is. I do appreciate that it is meant to be a compliment (and have decided to take it as such) but... why assuming this is such an extraordinary thing?

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 12:56:22

Link to the MIL thread.

It's not racist, but it's a question that always makes the pedant in me snigger, because what's the answer?! 'Yes, as you see'. 'No, I have no idea what you just asked me.'

But to be fair, I think her asking you was probably intended to gauge how comfortable you are in English, rather than anything else. My DH isn't English and gets this constantly, and it is tedious but clearly it's people who want to make sure that he's not politely smiling and nodding while missing out on what they're actually saying.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:48

well on the MIL, I would say asking OP if she speaks English was probably a fair question, because her posts on there are not really very easy to understand..

WorraLiberty Mon 12-Nov-12 12:58:06

if she was her son's gf, you would imagine that they could communicate.

Yes, but possibly in the OP's language if for example her DH is fluent?

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 12:58:45

Another I hate my MIL one

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 12:58:53

And it also sounds to me as though the OP may well have only just arrived in the UK when she met her future MIL, so again, it isnt an unreasonable question to ask.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 13:00:51

and from that thread..

londonandwhere Mon 20-Aug-12 15:53:20
She is English and I'm not a native English speaker. Thank you all for your advice. It was helpful

donnie Mon 12-Nov-12 13:03:08

thanks Blatherskite!

I notice the OP has not returned to this thread. Presumably she is cooking up some further evidence that her MIL is Satan and Must Die wink

Pi1978 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:03:19

IAmfromMars - I have to say, I would probably assume that an alien didn't speak English grin

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 13:04:05

Well I am sure the DH mother will know if he is actually speaking that language. And that is assuming they didn't meet in the UK in the first place...

It is much more likely to have someone from the Far East speaking english rather than an english man speaking that language too.

And even in that case, the question asked like this outright IS rude.

Reading this thread, I am feeling more and more lucky not have met that many rude people people asking that question outright.

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 13:08:56

"It's not racist, but it's a question that always makes the pedant in me snigger, because what's the answer?! 'Yes, as you see'. 'No, I have no idea what you just asked me."
y'think, cause I understand do you speak french/german/spanish in those languages without being able to converse any further than to apologetically shake my head and say "no English"

- "if she was her son's gf, you would imagine that they could communicate"
her language, a mix of both, the language of lurve grin, lots of couples muddle though a language barrier

being of a 'different appearance' doesn't mean you should assume that the person can't speak english
She didn't assume, she ASKED. If she'd assumed she would have looked like she was playing charades

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 13:11:23

the MIL must have known that the GF was not english and didnt come from England, so again, its a perfectly reasonable question.

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 13:11:35

TBH I've met many men who date women 'from the far East' who speak very little English, my father is one of them.

Were you resident UK at the time OP? Has your DH had many gfs from the "Far East"?

OldMumsy Mon 12-Nov-12 13:14:28

Offence and racism. It's so overdone! Have you ever heard about the boy that cried "Wolf" OP?

anklebitersmum Mon 12-Nov-12 13:17:42


<wanders off singing Doc Brown's 'Racist' song>

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 13:20:06

I actually know a couple where neither of them speak the other's language, and they commuicate in a third language that they both did at school

Surely assuming that everyone CAN speak English would be more racist??

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 12-Nov-12 13:24:38

Um...no it's not racist. And judging by your other thread,she said it quite some time ago. Time to move on perhaps?

honeytea Mon 12-Nov-12 13:26:26

I get asked if I speak Swedish, I don't think it is racist I find it kind.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 13:27:26

grin. where's OP GONE?

joanbyers Mon 12-Nov-12 13:29:10

Things on m-i-l shitlist so far:

* spends more on her son's birthday presents than yours
* gave your present to your husband who didn't pass it on to you
* racist, 10 years ago, probably
* says 'has gone' quite a lot
* gave birth to your husband
* insert reason here

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 13:32:58

Having glanced at your previous threads I need to know if you're going for some kind of record in finding the worlds smallest offence and holding the worlds biggest grudge?

Get a grip OP.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 13:39:06

OP had obviously got to know her bf not through the power of mind, but by communicating in English. What did the mil think
Perhaps the boyfriend speaks the ops native language?

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 13:44:19

I had lived in the UK more than 3 years when I first met her. And it was in the UK. I believe I have never experienced any racism in the UK for the last 10 years. But recently I remembered and wondered why she aske me at first conversation if I speak English. She liked me very much at that time and none of my in-laws have ever talked or acted racism to me during 5 years of marriage.

As soon as I saw her I was a bit nervous and didnt know what to say. She then might have judged I was hesitated to speak as English was not my first language. I was a bit embarrassed being asked the question because no one actually asked me one but I didnt care too much. My husband(bf/5 years ago) standing next to me answered to her instead of I had lived here more than 3 years so she speaks very good English.

But now I thought I need to know if she acted on the basis of racism. I spoke to my husband about her question last night (without mentioning racism) and he didnt remember the conversation very well. When I asked him 'Did your mum not think how I was communicating with you so asked me?' He replied ''You know what old people are like..''

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 13:45:02

Fakebook after 3 out of 3 AIBU on the same subject got a resounding YABU you can only hope OP has got the message.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 13:45:14

Just read another of your threads.

You hate your mil. You are trying any which way to keep this feud going. You are now married to this man. You said in your other thread you haven't spoken to her in years.

So this must have happened years ago. Get over it. You don't speak to her, let it go.

goralka Mon 12-Nov-12 13:46:21

if you are stressing about an unthinking conversation from 10 years ago perhaps there's something else on your mind?
'racism' is such a bandwagon these days

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 13:49:28

Yes ihavenofuckingclue, that is true, but what are the chances her DH is fluent in mandarin/Chinese/Japanese/other Far East language.

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 13:49:38

I'd be very horrified that my sons wife could actually hate me for the tenuous reasons and length of time you refer to.

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 13:51:21

Anyone else feeling sorry for the Ops MIL?

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 13:51:45

Good lord confused

In answer to your OP, OP - it was slightly racist in an unthinking way, and no doubt intended as a courtesy. So: 'benevolent' racism, as Redsky nearly said.

Having read your threads linked above, I deduce that your command of English is less complete than you imagine. As your MIL committed this particular unintentional slight some time ago, it's fair to assume your English was still weaker then. Perhaps it did, in fact, seem that you didn't speak English and MIL was seeking to establish an appropriate style of communication with you.

Why are you hanging so tightly on to small offences, which seem mostly to have arisen from your misunderstanding of English usage? What do you want from your MIL?

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 13:52:07

Blathers - I so am!

mumnosbest Mon 12-Nov-12 13:52:35

You can never assume a bf or dh in my case actually tells his dm anything important. My MIL was very surprised when we arrived 6 months pg. DH said "i didn't think" ! So ops mum may have known very little about her. It might also depend where they live. Friends mum lives in a small very white English village in the middle of nowhere. She has no experience of any other race/ethnicity/culture and would assume anyone of non-white appearence may not speak English. I'd describe her as very naive or at worst ignorant but not racist.

WMittens Mon 12-Nov-12 13:54:16

Perfectly reasonable question if she was meeting you for the first time and genuinely had no idea if you spoke the language.

Should she not have some inkling of whether or not her son spoke Mandarin/Cantonese/Korean/Japanese/etc. though?

mirry2 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:55:25

Good grief. What on earth is wrong in asking someone if they speak English? How can it possibly be racist or even blunt or offennsive? in the UK we live in a multiculturl multi ethic society with people from all over the world, many of whom speak very poor english. That is not a criticism or a racist remark - it is how it is.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 12-Nov-12 13:56:40

how long ago was this OP? you say you're married now.

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 13:58:10

The reason I ask you all posting here is

I wished I hadnt experienced racism from my mil it would be extremely shocking

but if it was,

I wanted to tell my husband what his mum said was slightly racist in an unthinking way.

kim147 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:58:56

Why do you think it was racist?

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 14:00:08

so you're just looking for proplems where there weren't any? why? why is it so important that you gather evidence against your MIL to present to your DH?

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 14:00:13

STBDH: Mum, this is londonandwhere.
MIL: Hello, I've heard so much about you!
OP: [silence]
MIL: Oh, do you speak English?
OP: [long-term fury]


garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 14:01:44

I wanted to tell my husband what his mum said was slightly racist in an unthinking way.

Good. Happy to have helped.

What makes you still so angry?
How did you want her to behave?

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 14:02:12

but what are the chances her DH is fluent in mandarin/Chinese/Japanese/other Far East language.

Since manderin is one of the largest growing languages. I would say there is a chance. Also the mother would be less likely to ask the question if her son only speaks English.
Also this is the OP who hates her mil because she doesn't more on her son (the ops dh) than her for her birthday. She got shitty with the mil about this, there was an argument and the OP no longer speaks to her mil.

Also I think this is the same poster who was sick with distress because her dh hugged her whilst wearing a jumper his mother bought him.

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:06

if not fluent, perhaps competent or learning (like in love actually?)
OR they might both speak french or spanish or itialian etc etc and communicate quite adequately in that

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:37

Kim so she can poke a stick in the MIL and her sons relationship, that despite her efforts to date, still seems quite good.

OP on the face of the evidence you are behaving in a mean, childish way and you really should stop it.

gazzalw Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:22

It sounds as if OP is full of festering resentment at her MIL and is chewing over everything she's ever said/done to her.

Maybe OP needs to look at herself....

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:29

I think this is the same poster who was sick with distress because her dh hugged her whilst wearing a jumper his mother bought him.

Ah, that explains it grin
Unforgivable! LTB!

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:13

I ask my husband if he speaks English all the time. He tries to but always ends up slipping back into his native nerdish.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 14:13:28

iwanted to tell my husband what his mum said was slightly racist in an unthinking way.

No, you are trying to find reasons to stop your dh speaking to his mum. Its not enough for you that you don't see her. You want him to break contact as well and you think that will happen if you prove she is racisit.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 14:14:47

Oo is this you with the jumper issue op?

Anyway no. Of course it's not cocking racist.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 12-Nov-12 14:16:40

OP you do realise don't you that if you continue to try to drive a wedge between your husband and his mother over trivial matters, he will eventually get fed up and tell you to sling your hook?

BooyhooRemembering Mon 12-Nov-12 14:17:36

but why have you waited so long to try and find out if she was being racist? why didn't you just ask her at the time "are you being racist?" did you speak english at the time?

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 14:24:08

I remember the other thread well. It would be fair to say op you might just might be a tad easily offended by this lady?

Santasinmypudenda Mon 12-Nov-12 14:25:51

How are managing to hold so many grudges after so many years?

WorraLiberty Mon 12-Nov-12 14:29:27

Why don't you ask your MIL?

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 14:32:13

I'm not sure if there are open communication channels as the op cannot touch her husbands jumper bought by the mil.

A face to face confrontation could be quite medically dangerous?

mamij Mon 12-Nov-12 14:40:26

Not racist but could probably be a little rude. However, if you couldn't answer her pleasantries when she was talking to you, what else is she supposed to think?

lamename Mon 12-Nov-12 14:41:26

Well, as competitive victimhood battles go, you're slipping a bit on points. Try this for your next post:

Does my sexist MIL hate me for being a woman?

TheCalvert Mon 12-Nov-12 14:43:00


I think you're MIL is great for putting up with someone who seems intent on being offended at the slightest remark. As for your poor husband, I feel for him being stuck between two women he loves, one on which seems hellbent on breaking up his relationship with his DM.

I don't think the remark was racist but I do think you have a very low tolerance level and you are looking for reasons to hate your MIL.

Sorry, but I can't see your marriage lasting unless you sort out YOUR issues.

shesariver Mon 12-Nov-12 14:45:13

I fel sorry for MIL, this hate seems itrrational absed on your other threads and not good for your own health really.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 14:46:38

I think this is the same poster who was sick with distress because her dh hugged her whilst wearing a jumper his mother bought him.


OP, you should have burnt the jumper and then DH would have wondered where it was gone.

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 15:10:26

Quite a lot of people being VERY harsh on this thread. Has the idea that such an innocent question could be constructed as racist (or coming from the place where 'immigrants usually can't speak english [properly') rattled that many people? wink

On a serious note, she met her DH in the UK, what did her MIL think? That she was there on holidays? or that she was one of 'those' immigrants who don't speak a word of english? That despite being in the UK (and working there?), she had to check if she could speak english?

That WAS rude!

<<Note to the OP. This was a log long time ago. If this is still an issue, I am guessing that there are some stuff going on that makes you unsettled and you would like to convey it to your DH but doesn't know how to. However, don't sweat the small stuff. Let go and concentrate on what is happening NOW. It will be much easier to deal with than something that has happened years ago. You won't get anywhere there>>

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 15:12:06

And can someone explain me why it is OK on this thread to bring stuff from other thread, incl preconceived (?) ideas and beat the OP with it?

I thought it was bad form to do so ....

Mmmnotsure Mon 12-Nov-12 15:14:39

Congratulations, OP.

1) You make most of us sound positively beneficent towards our own MILs.
2) You have started a MIL thread where the result is that the majority of posters think you are being unreasonable and that your MIL is probably okay.
3) You are so extraordinary at holding grudges that you make me feel quite normal and even noble (and I am GOOD at holding grudges).
4) You have most of us feeling sorry for your DH - and we haven't even heard his side of it - and thinking that it is a pity you are making his relationship with his MIL difficult.

Btw, if your spoken English is anything like your written English - and if you've now lived in the UK for years presumably your English was less fluent way back when you met your MIL - it was maybe a perfectly reasonable question for her to ask. You really are not coming over at all well. Perhaps instead of focusing on your MIL's perceived shortcomings, you need to take a good long look at your own.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 15:16:01

Generally mars but in this occasion I genuinely suggest you read it.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 15:17:47

And can someone explain me why it is OK on this thread to bring stuff from other thread, incl preconceived (?) ideas and beat the OP with it?

Because it is directly related to this. The OP keeps using mn to attempt to find an argument that will stop her husband having contact with his mum.
bringing up previous threads isn't considered bad form if its actually related. Which in this case it is.

AllYoursBabooshka Mon 12-Nov-12 15:24:01

Regarding the bring up previous threads, I think it's only really bad form to do so if it is irrelevant to the current thread.

In this case it is.

OP you do have some big issues when it comes to your MIL, We don't know the full history but I have read nothing that warrants the hate you very clearly feel for her. It's not healthy and has the potential to really damage your relationship with DH.

Has anything (serious) else happened to make you do defensive?

AllYoursBabooshka Mon 12-Nov-12 15:24:40

So defensive.

stinkinseamonkey Mon 12-Nov-12 15:27:22

when OPs make multiple threads about the same thing, I think its relevant

bad form when people bring up the fact that they disagreed with a poster about something totally different as "proof" that they are also wrong on this topic IYKWIM

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 15:31:06

It wasnt that I couldnt answer her any question. As soon as we said hello each other, I looked little bit nervous then she was (carefully) ask 'Do you speak English?'

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 15:31:31

* asking

HullyEastergully Mon 12-Nov-12 15:37:48

I have read this thread and the others.

I think you are looking fro reasons to make your husband hate his mother.

WHY do you hate her so much??

That's hardly racist sorry. Did she say go back to your own country? Did she say her son would be better off with one of their kind?

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 12-Nov-12 15:39:59

Just admit it OP,you don't like her. You probably don't have any real reason to dislike her but nonetheless you do and now you're trying to find a way to justify it.

Just say "I really don't like her". Sometimes it just happens,people can't always get along. It's the bizarre excuses for it that are making people a bit sharp with you. Myself included.

StripyMagicDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 15:40:29

if you think what she said was racist, then talk to your Dh about it. although I don't know why you didnt mention it at the time or at some other point before your wedding if it was bothering you.
has she done anything to make you think she doesn't like you based on race?

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 15:42:36

I dont intend to criticise her at all if she didnt do anything being racist at that time. I couldnt judge being disinterested so I wanted to have opinions from the others. I feel terrible that I remembered the conversation 5 years ago in a sudden recently.
However I wouldnt put up with if anyone who I know speaks or act like a racist even if it happened in the past. It seems many of you think it's not and a few think it is which I have been more positive but still confused a little bit.

HullyEastergully Mon 12-Nov-12 15:43:36

WHY do you hate her so much?


londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 15:45:15

StripyMagicDragon, no she never have done anything to make me assume she is a racist except 'do you speak English.' which why I never put it out on the subject for whole 5 years.

HullyEastergully Mon 12-Nov-12 15:46:18

PLEASE tell me why you hate her so much...

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 15:46:29

You looked nervous, she asked did you speak English before she carried on.

To be honest I feel sorry for the woman. If she knew the shit storm that was about to hit her she would probably have ran screaming.

IAmfromMars Mon 12-Nov-12 15:48:17

Then leave it at that.

It might just have been a mistake on her part, her been a bit rude/not realizing it could be constructed as been rude (see all the posters who think it was a normal thing to say).
It would be a shame to damage your relationship with your MIL, put your DH in a awkward position after just one incident.

Viviennemary Mon 12-Nov-12 15:48:22

Well strictly speaking, she should have found out before she met you. But it's not racist to say this.

WorraLiberty Mon 12-Nov-12 15:48:51

You sound like a private detective, trying to pin a crime on someone OP.

Blatherskite Mon 12-Nov-12 15:49:14

It wasn't 'about' to hit her pickled? It's been 5 years!!

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 15:49:30

Why don't you try and move on.

It would be a hell of a lot nicer for everyone if you did?

PosieParker Mon 12-Nov-12 15:49:41

Hmmm I wonder how good your English was 8 years ago as right now it ain't perfick. smile

Even white native English speakers get asked the same question. It's really not racist. (As I've said upthread it happens often to kiwis. Rarely in the UK, much more often in the US). I assume you don't speak with an English accent.

And people at work make fun of me saying words like chips, cookies, pants, singlets. OP you need to loosen up a bit.

Mmmnotsure Mon 12-Nov-12 15:58:59

It wasnt that I couldnt answer her any question. As soon as we said hello each other, I looked little bit nervous then she was (carefully) ask 'Do you speak English?

no she never have done anything to make me assume she is a racist except 'do you speak English.' which why I never put it out on the subject for whole 5 years.

Oh, this is ridiculous.

Your MIL - who might have felt nervous herself at the meeting - asks you, carefully (as you yourself say), if you speak English and you bear a grudge about this for five years!, and then wonder if you can stir it up again now with your DH by talking with him about how his DM is racist. This kind of behaviour would put a strain on many marriages. Is that what you want?

OP - why do you not answer people's questions about why you hate your MIL? Why do you not appear to see that if a whole load of people say you are being unreasonable about your MIL - and that doesn't happen often on MN - that it is likely you might be? You do not appear to be able to understand or accept this.

Do get a grip.

I just feel sorry for your poor DH and your poor MIL.

StripyMagicDragon Mon 12-Nov-12 16:03:14

5 years? I'd say if it didn't bother you so much that you declared at the time and your mil has shown zero racist hatred towards you then you need to let it go.
I doubt she or your dh remember and your dh may just be confused by you bringing it up because you can't decide how you feel.
or you could declare your mil racist and cut her out your life for a question she asked years ago.

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 16:09:02

Sorry I could not answer why I hate my mil so much because there were so many stories to tell. Those happended from her ignorance, careless and impoliteness. I dont take it seiously anymore after seeing my counsellors. I have been quite in my mind until recently. Then this came up and I think I can sort this out. I'm not telling my husband she is a racist referring to public opinions here. I really appriciate your precious comments.

If you don't speak to your MIL then how can she be impolite to you? OP you sound like you have real issues than need sorting out. This festering hatred could destroy you and your relationship with your DH.

No I don't think your MIL was being racist if she spoke to you and you didn't reply. Its reasonable to assume that if a non-native English speaker is not answering your direct questions possibly they are struggling with the language. My DH is not a native English speaker and I wouldn't regards someone questioning his language skills, if he wasn't answering direct questions, as racist.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 16:21:49

Hmmm I wonder how good your English was 8 years ago as right now it ain't perfick.

Well that's a racist comment if ever I saw one.

mirry2 Mon 12-Nov-12 16:28:22

Fakebook. It's not racist although it's a bit rude - although true.

If your MIL was racist I'm sure she would make alot more comments by now. Her question was valid.

I met a flemish colleagues wife years ago, I said 'Hi, pleased to meet you, I've heard so much about you' she replied in with a very nervous and unsure 'Hello' so I too asked if she spoke english. She didn't, we got over the language barrier and she's now a close friend that I'm sure doesn't think I'm racist.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 12-Nov-12 16:33:07

Is that a racist comment Fakebook? Unkind certainly. racist? Hardly.

I think it a little unfair to point out OP's errors as she has already said that English is not her first language. She asked for input and got roundly told that she was probably incorrect re her MIL being racist.

English is a much easier language to learn to speak than it is to read and write because so many words sound the same and are used in different contexts (there,their,they're), are spelt the same but said differently (row) and so on. So give OP a break on that front.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 16:33:25

londonandwhere, you are the one with very odd ideas and strange issues, your husbands mother sounds perfectly normal, and you sound utterly unhinged and from a different planet, never mind a different country... confused

I do have to say londonandwhere writes better English than some on my fb friends list. And scarily her friends all write on her wall in exactly the same way.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 12-Nov-12 16:47:30

those saying "why didn't MIL ask the DH before she met OP whether she spoke english or not".

well maybe she did and he said yes she speaks english, but as OP has said, she answered hello nervously so maybe that made MIL doubt whether she had made a mistake in understanding that she spoke english. it's hardly unimaginable. i could easily see this happening and the MIL is hardly going to turn to the DH infront of OP after just meeting her and say "i thought you said she spoke english". far better to ask the person themselves.

Not everyone gets along with their MIL. It's family and sometimes you just need to forgive and forget.

mercibucket Mon 12-Nov-12 16:51:07

Have you ever spoken to your GP about some of your feelings, op? You sound quite tense

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 17:07:00

mwrci the op has had lots of counselling.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 17:07:45

Or even merci. Sorry.

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 17:28:27

<deep breath>

I said it was slightly racist, albeit well-meant. I still feel it is. If you meet a white woman named Jane Smith, who fails to respond to your greeting, it is unlikely you'll assume the reason is a lack of English. You might wonder if she's shy, perhaps hearing- or speech-impaired, or simply ill-mannered. It's unlikely you would then go "Can you hear me?" - it would be rude to assume a problem. Similarly, it was rude to assume a problem when OP failed to respond and, also, racist to assume the problem was lack of English.

I bet I still haven't explained it well ... <gives up> <exhales>

Londonandwhere, can you explain what makes you feel so uncomfortable about your husband's relationship with his mother?

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 12-Nov-12 17:41:00

It's not racist and calling it so belittles the real racism people have to endure. I live in a non English speaking country and am frequently asked if I speak the language. It a normal question when you are known to have a different native language. I have encountered racism frequently too, and this isn't it. An example is when the shop assistant makes out that they cannot understand what you're asking for when you know damn well they do.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 17:45:08

There is nothing racist about asking it as a genuine question.

If you know someone is visiting here from
Abroad seems nervous when they speak with you it's a perfectly reasonable thing to ask, you can then assist them as best you can or try and speak the other language.

What about if I went on holiday to Japan and someone asked me if I spoke Japanese would that be racist?

lljkk Mon 12-Nov-12 17:49:40

The standard of your written English is somewhat poor.

KitchenandJumble Mon 12-Nov-12 18:10:10

No, your MIL's question was not racist.

But now I'm curious. What has your MIL done to earn your undying hatred? If you don't want to list every crime, tell us the absolute worst thing she has ever done or said to you. It's none of my business, of course, I'm simply curious, since it doesn't seem as though anything you've written about is worthy of such intense hatred.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 19:46:23

When I am in spain or italy, I often get spoken to in the native language (I have olive skin and could easily be either), and have often also been asked if I speak it.. in spain I answer no, in italy i answer yes but only a little.. I have never found it rude or racist..

kim147 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:50:59

Still don't understand why it's racist to ask a foreigner if they speak English?

If someone said, "Do you still throw spears at each other?" as a certain Royal said, that would be racist.

lovebunny Mon 12-Nov-12 19:58:59

certainly not. and why would you want to start calling your mother in law racist, at this stage?

londonandwhere, I do not understand your attitude to our MIL. You didn't find it racist at the time, but you're trying to find it racist now.

You posted :
"The reason I ask you all posting here is

I wished I hadnt experienced racism from my mil it would be extremely shocking

but if it was,

I wanted to tell my husband what his mum said was slightly racist in an unthinking way."

He was there at the time, standing right next to you. He answered her on your behalf, because you were hesitating to do so. Don't you think if it had been racist, he'd have noticed it right there and then? Instead, it made so little impression on him that he can barely remember it.

If it helps, I do not presume that people who have been resident in the UK for a few years are necessarily fluent in English. Growing up I knew many Italian-Scots. Those my age (2nd generation) were bilingual, or had English as their first language; but often their parents still struggled, despite having been in the country for decades. The Italian community was large enough that many of them rarely needed to speak English, and so were not fluent.

I think you need to reflect on why you are doing this. It is not healthy to be picking over past imagined slights (and it IS imagined) looking to start a fight.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 12-Nov-12 21:29:59

I wouldn't say racist. Abrupt, perhaps. Possibly rude, depending on the way it was said (was it said very slowly, loudly?)

My DH is from Germany. I brought him to visit my mum in the US. Her neighbours did a lot of "Does he speak English?" type questions; they hadn't been exposed to many people from other countries. It wasn't a race thing, though it was a "foreign" thing.

RoryCeilingCat Mon 12-Nov-12 21:39:03

I live in Switzerland. I am from the UK. I expect one of the first 3 questions I'm asked to be 'Sprechen Sie Deutsch?' I'm very happy if the asker then can speak Standard German (as opposed to Swiss German) or English. Not racist as far as I'm concerned, so YABU.

Teabagtights Mon 12-Nov-12 21:44:14

You are pissed off he gets on with his mother so are trying to make a problem where there isn't one. You resent her in your husbands life and want to be the only woman in it.

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