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.

nomorecrumbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:06:51

It's not acceptable, but I would think YABU to be absolutely fuming. To your FIL's generation, such terms are similar to our generation slagging off 'chavs'. I would just have a quiet word with DS if he brings it up saying it's not a nice word.

Thants Sun 06-Oct-13 19:08:23

Yes you need to say something to him. It does not matter how old he is it is completely wrong. Does he use language like this around you?

I suppose I'm so cross because I know what will happen if ds repeated it at school - it goes on their permanent record. I don't want him learning language like this and thinking it is acceptable, because it clearly is not.

Yes, they are generally racist I would say.

However this is the first time something like this has happened.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 06-Oct-13 19:14:14

I don't agree with generation argument. I don't see my nan hand washing clothes or walking to the phone box to make a call. She doesn't have a coal fire any more and has generally moved on with the times.

I would make it very clear, that if racist language is used around DS again then he will not be coming to visit any more.

Feminine Sun 06-Oct-13 19:19:31

I think it is dreadful that it goes on a permanent record.

Children say the wrong thing all the time. They don't always know its wrong.

My daughter told the pre-school "Oh this bloody lunch -box..."

she got it from me. blush

nomorecrumbs Sun 06-Oct-13 19:21:42

That's harsh, Forty shock

After all, I was brought up with parents who use similar language and have what I think are racist views. It's not like I have gone around copying them. But I let my DC's see them and they are free to be exposed to a variety of cultural influences. I certainly wouldn't stop my parents from seeing their grandchildren just because their views are outdated.

And it's a lot easier to keep up to date with technology than it is to change your cultural outlook.

When I was teaching any incidence of racist language had to be recorded and went straight to the head teacher. Right from nursery onwards.

Tikkamasala Sun 06-Oct-13 19:23:45

YANBU its not acceptable and I would not want that language around a child who could easily pick it up unknowingly! When I was about 7 I repeated the word that same P word as I had heard it from a classmate in school and I didn't know it was racist/offensive, just thought it was like a cool abbreviation hmm My mum was not having it at all and explained that its not a word you should use - and I didn't use it again. So even if he does pick it up then just explaining not to use it should hopefully work. I do think the FIL needs to watch his language. Even if he feels he can say P... due to his generation, which I do think is a rubbish excuse, he still knows to watch his mouth round kids and not swear I assume? So he can add the outdated racist language to the list of what not to say in front of your ds!

They are racist there's no doubt.
When the house opposite went up for sale they said they'd buy it and rent it out if any 'coloureds' put an offer in. They live in a small village and are outraged that there are now some none white people living there.

charleyturtle Sun 06-Oct-13 19:25:02

YANBU! I would be fuming. Also I don't buy in to the whole "it's just a different generation" argument, my granddad (80 next week) said he saw some kids shouting "Paki" at "that indian bloke from down the shops" and asked me why they were shouting that. When I explained it to him he just said "Stupid fucking kids, doesn't even make sense. That blokes not even from Pakistan."

I would make it clear that you will not tolerate racist language infront your children, tell him why and make sure he winds his neck in from now on.

Sirzy Sun 06-Oct-13 19:27:10

I would be annoyed but your DH has dealt with it, no need for anything else at this stage.

BillyBanter Sun 06-Oct-13 19:27:58

Maybe have a quick word with the teacher about what happened.

We've had to have strong words with FIL on this - mainly singing racist songs. We told him in no uncertain terms never to sing them in front of dc again and told him that the dc and we would be in big trouble at school if they repeated. I know that is not the main reason why he shouldn't be singing them but he doesn't see anything wrong with them so had to turn it into the impact on the dc if they repeated them. He wasn't happy and confirmed his view that I am a radical leftie trying to censor him, but hasn't repeated them. Maybe another word from your dh laying out exactly what might happen if your dc repeat.

Spidermama Sun 06-Oct-13 19:29:14

OMG! Are you in Glasgow by any chance. I know a lot of older people still say the P word there. It supposedly wasn't considered racist it just meant corner shop and it was a fact that most corner shops in some areas are run by Pakistani families.

My Grandmother used to make racist comments and we'd all wince. We used to talk about it when she'd gone. When she got older we actively challenged her and she'd say, 'you don't understand. I was brought up in a different world. My country has changed so much before my eyes and it's not for the better.'

I think there is a generation argument and sometimes now she's gone I feel bad for being hard on her in this. You have to explain to your children that certain words are really unacceptable even though Granddad is too old to know any better.

SanityClause Sun 06-Oct-13 19:33:38

I feel your pain, OP.

My MIL talks about "darkies" in dinner time conversation. If I pulled her up on it, she would do it all the more, as she loves to upset people. (She deliberately mispronounced her nephew's wife's name for years.)

The best I can do is make sure my DC know what is and isn't acceptable. I'm sure that if your DS says it at school, they will understand that there could be lots of places he could have heard it. Such small children cannot always understand the connotations of various words.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 06-Oct-13 19:38:24

I don't think it is harsh.

In fact i wouldn't even visit them, I can not stand racist people. I don't want my children being around their vile views.

bigTillyMint Sun 06-Oct-13 19:40:26

That is exactly the type of thing my FiL would sayangry He is not 70 yet. MiL is similar (I remember her using the word "darkie" once)
I remember FiL saying that there was a "black man" coming up our path once as if it was something terrible - he is one of our friends. We live in London and all our friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours etc, etc are very ethnically mixed. Which is obviously a good thing.

It used to make my blood boil when the DC were really small as it is difficult to explain to a small child why what they have said is racist. However, we persisted in saying to them that what the IL's said was racist and explaining why.

Now the DC tell them when they are being racist<proud mum> and so they do it much less.

FridaKarlov Sun 06-Oct-13 19:42:46

Yes, I'd be majorly pissed off if my folks did that.

MrsAMerrick Sun 06-Oct-13 19:46:47

YANBU, and I would have serious concerns.
My MiL uses the word "coloured" rather than black, on the grounds that this is "polite". Despite me pointing out to her that it is not acceptable, she is insistent that this is the correct word to use and that anything else is offensive. TBH, now that the children are older, I've given up the battle as it's not one I'm going to win with an 82 year old. I wouldn't give up the battle if she'd used the P or N word though.

FrauMoose Sun 06-Oct-13 19:52:59

My daughter - who is in her teens - understands that her grandfather (in his 90s and suffering from a degree of mild dementia now) has views that reflect the world he grew up in and the way that he was educated. He was a Colonial policeman. Homosexuality was illegal and at the same time something to be mocked. Men behaved in one way and 'ladies' another.

If we decided we didn't want any contact with him because of his views he would be very lonely indeed. All his former friends are dead now. There's also not much use having discussions in which we challenge his opinions. He doesn't understand much, and whatever he does understand temporarily, is forgotten later. (However we do avoid giving him alcohol as he tends to become more outspoken in his views even after just a single glass of wine.)

Even when they were a lot younger my daughter and stepchildren understood that the way in which their grandfather thought and spoke was different from the way people speak and think now, so it wasn't appropriate to copy his words or ideas.

Budgiegirlbob Sun 06-Oct-13 19:54:56

It's not acceptable, but I wouldn't get too upset about it. Have a word with FIL and ask him not to use racist language around your DS. If DS picks it up, just explain its not an acceptable word.

It's not a generational thing, it's racism. My parents are older than my inlaws, but my parents would never use racist language, whereas I have caught my inlaws being racist in front of my children. We asked them not to ever repeat what they said, and we have had discussions with our DCs about racism and the use of certain words.

Although it was frustrating to hear PIL using racist language , it did give rise to a good opportunity to discuss the matter with our kids

FrauMoose Sun 06-Oct-13 20:13:38

I sometimes wonder what we will do when our children/grandchildren tell us that the words we use, and the assumptions we have, are no longer acceptable in, say, 2040.

Will we cling to our comfortable early 21st century ways of behaving - or will we adapt - at least superficially - to please the little ones?

confusedtiredandhormonal Sun 06-Oct-13 20:21:14

That is really appalling. You need to have a strong word with your PILs about the language they use around your DS.

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 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


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!

jammiedonut Mon 07-Oct-13 08:01:59

70 isn't old enough to be set in their ways. My gm is 87, racist and homophobic. She knows it is wrong but will not change her opinion, which is her prerogative. She did have the good grace to mind her language and behaviour when I took a black bf home and when my cousin announced she was a lesbian. She wasn't happy of course, but she knew her outdated opinions would result in alienating her family, so kept them to herself. It's hilarious thatso many think it is acceptable to excuse this sort of thing on the grounds of age. I'm not saying the op can change the views of her pil, but they certainly can have the manners to keep them to themselves when around her children.

Mimishimi Mon 07-Oct-13 08:05:45

He obviously doesn't know how the 'Pakis' operate (I'm assuming here he lumps Indians and Pakis in one homogenous group). A lot of our neighbour's are Gujarati and own grocery stores - they are successful because they concentrate more on volume than high margins. They are significantly cheaper than buying at the local big-name supermarkets.

marriedinwhiteisbackz Mon 07-Oct-13 08:12:13

I think there has been a massive over-reaction to this. The Southern Asian owned corner shops charge very high prices even compared to Waitrose. Statement of fact and that is why I don't use them. Your DS needs to be aware of how to count his pennies and I think that's what FIL was trying to convey. No intention of being racist.

I hear Australians referred to as Aussie's and South African's all the time - it's an abbreviation and they don't take offence. As for coloured (although it isn't a term I use now) I was taught as a child that it was rude to say black. It wasn't until the early 70s that coloured started to be incorrect. I have also seen situations where Indian people have got very offended when being mistaken for people from Pakistan.

If primary schools are noting every tiny inappropriate comment such as you say then it seems a great shame that a tiny child who was attending school died quite recently as a result of violent and abuse and starvation. Perhaps one might venture to suggest that the teachers at his school needed to refocus their priorities. Suggest they spend a little more time teaching.

FrauMoose Mon 07-Oct-13 08:13:57

So, is there never any point at which an allowance can be made for the attitudes of a different time? My husband's 99 year old great-aunt has suffered a mental and physical deterioration in recent years. When younger she spoke out against the racist attitudes of a fellow-patient during a hospital stay. More recently though she became hostile towards a carer who her own daughter had found friendly and reliable, and used phrases about - not to - her that the daughter found racist. The daughter was really distressed as she felt that these attitudes weren't something the mother she had known would ever have felt or voiced. But they were now coming to the surface quite strongly. She felt that essentially her Mum was regressing to the First World War period, and found it difficult to accept intimate personal care from anyone who would have been regarded as 'other' by her own family and friends (her mother is Jewish and grew up in a city in the 'Near East') back in her early 20th centurychildhood. My great aunt's daughter had the unenviable task of ringing a care agency to say that her mother had taken an unreasonable dislike to a pleasant and helpful carer. Given that she didn't want her mother to become agitated and distressed, what was the solution? The agency said that it happened all the time - and basically asked which backgrounds her mother would be okay with. They sent a carer from a different - Asian - background, and everything then went smoothly...

marriedinwhiteisbackz Mon 07-Oct-13 08:14:02

Aussies are not referred to as South Africans - it's just as we have such a high number of South African's where I live - they are fondly abbreviated to "Sudens" but I thought that was too localised.

ceramicunicorn Mon 07-Oct-13 08:14:25

My friend from uni whose first language isn't English genuinely thought a corner shop was called a paki shop as that's what everyone called it in Glasgow where she went to school. She was shock when I told her what it actually meant. This was only 10 years ago.

YANBU to not want racist language being normalised around your ds obviously though.

moonbells Mon 07-Oct-13 08:24:22

I have a similar problem with some of the elderlies in our extended family. One in particular is very racist. I always have a quiet word with DS whenever we've visited about how some grownups don't quite see different people like we do and we should not repeat what they say as it's very rude. DS fortunately doesn't have a concept of racism (he's in an extremely diverse class and views loads of different backgrounds as normal) and long may that continue. Unfortunately the elderlies can't quite get their heads around the opposite and they certainly won't ever be invited to help out at DS's birthday parties!

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 08:27:52

married, do you think calling a person of South Asian origin a p* is comparable to calling an Australian an aussie?

amber381 Mon 07-Oct-13 08:29:34

It seems kind of sad that everyone wants to control every influence over their kids so vigilantly. There are many things I don't approve of in the way that my FIL acts and speaks (smoking, swearing, expressing ignorant opinions) but I wouldn't dream of stopping my DD from having a relationship with him as for all his faults he adores her and what she gains from him is far more than any damage his negative behaviour is likely to have on her.

Everyone is different, so what if grandad is a bit of a racist old git, he probably has other redeeming qualities! Your ds will have many different influences in his life, it's not hard to balance out a few ignorant comments of an old man.

Lazyjaney Mon 07-Oct-13 08:33:57

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

That's the smuggest line of all in a thread full of smug "more right-on than thous"

If those offended posters here treated old people with a fraction of the tolerance and understanding they apparently are prepared to extend to all other colours, creeds, sexes etc etc this thread wouldn't exist.

I do hope all your DiL will treat you with the same (lack of) consideration you are showing here.....

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 08:36:18

The trouble is, Amber, some children may repeat the choice phrases uttered by their "old racist git" family members, to the detriment of other children.hmm

A good friend of mine is currently trying to deal with persistent low level racist bullying towards her daughter. No doubt the bullies are comfortable using the sort of language in question because it has been normalised through use in the home.

invicta Mon 07-Oct-13 08:37:28

If your parents are generally not racial, then I think what you have done in explaining that it's not acceptable in today's language is fine.

I grew up with my parents referring to the p...corner shop and never thought it was racist - no different from using the term Aussie for Australians. Actually, I'm not actually sure when it was deemed racist. It was purely used as a way of referring to one shop, as opposed another. No racial intent intended at all.

Sorry, probably coming across all wrong, and not explaining myself very well. What I think I mean to say is that the odd comment or use non-PC word today doesn't mean you are racist, but maybe ill- informed as to what is acceptable today. Words change their meanings over time (eg. Gay).

marriedinwhiteisbackz Mon 07-Oct-13 08:40:29

Perhaps I've led a sheltered life but I have never heard the word Paki used in a racist way - just as an abbreviation. Generally I think my dc use the word Asian mainly because there are so many countries they don't want to use an incorrect term. We call our local shop Mr Patel's and my children call the owner Mr Patel.

I still think the OP and this thread is a gross over-reaction.

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 08:44:08

Perhaps I've led a sheltered life but I have never heard the word Paki used in a racist way - just as an abbreviation.

Really? I find this quite hard to believe. You must indeed have led a very sheltered life!

mignonette Mon 07-Oct-13 08:51:50

My former FiL used to repeatedly use disgusting racial epithets and express disgusting racist attitudes in the presence of my daughter. I had no choice but to prevent contact until he controlled himself. When she was old enough she grew to understand that his beliefs were morally wrong and challenged him herself. It sadly did damage her relationship w/ him because it is hard to reconcile beliefs like his with any sense of him being a good person. It was that extreme.

Tuppenceinred Mon 07-Oct-13 08:52:30

I think people are missing an important point here, which is that op's husband dealt with the incident. He told his father not to say that word again. We don't know exactly what was said, or what his father's reaction was, but that warning may have been perfectly adequate. Why would op go and stir everything up again by giving FIL her own personal telling off? Apart from the fact that would be very undermining of her husband, it may be completely unnecessary. Fine to say something if it happens again, but to wade in heavy handed in this situation would surely be wrong.

Tuppenceinred Mon 07-Oct-13 08:55:16

My partner has looked over my shoulder and told me I'm missing a point. That is that in Mumsnet World men are incapable of dealing adequately with most situations involving their children, the mothers are always going to have to step in and make sure the job's done properly. So obviously Op's husband didn't make himself clear enough and Op will need to go over and sort his dad out. hmm

crazyspaniel Mon 07-Oct-13 08:55:42

The OP has said that her PILs are racist.

Some of us have said that we have grown up having that word used as a term of abuse against our families.

But apparently we are ageist, paranoid or over-sensitive. Obviously the fact that some of you have not encountered racism means that it doesn't exist.

mignonette Mon 07-Oct-13 08:58:20


Good point. If it happens again then it needs addressing again.

To those posters who have no issue w/ the term 'Paki' try asking any people from Pakistan what they prefer to be referred to as. Ask them if they'd like to be called 'Paki'. And if (as I suspect) the answer is No then consider why you are comfortable w/ the idea of causing hurt and disrespect simply because you don't see the epithet as racist.

Echo a lot of what is said above but also make sure you have a word with your DS. I remember, at a similar age to him, my 'D'GF talking to me and my DB in explicit detail about what they'd done to the 'nips' in Burma during the war, and how they'd never buy Japanese products, and also a screaming match between him and DM when he'd used the other 'n' word...DM threw him out at that point, but as a child I just remember the atmosphere and was really confused and upset. At 4 I think I was old enough to be told how and why it was wrong, and then I'd have been a little less troubled by it iyswim.

DontmindifIdo Mon 07-Oct-13 09:00:14

I'm not going to buy the "he's in his 70s, it's hard to learn at that age what's acceptable" that word has been a term of abuse since I was a child in the 80s, so when the OP's FIL was in his 30s - I refuse to accept someone in their 30s is too stuck in their ways to realise they are insulting someone with their language - he has known for a long, long time that it's an insulting word, but has felt it acceptable to use it.

No one lives in a bubble from their teens until they are in their 70s/80s, we shouldn't pretend people in their 70s now have had no opportunity to realise their language and views are unacceptable and are now shocked at young people's views.

I think the OP's DH probably has dealt with it well, that doesn't mean she can't be angry about it too and trying to work out if she's right to be this angry.

Tuppenceinred Mon 07-Oct-13 09:01:05

FFS Don't have a word with your father-in-law. Your husband has already dealt with the situation. Give him some credit.

bigTillyMint Mon 07-Oct-13 09:03:23

Married, AFAIK, as small children my DC never referred to a person of Asian origin as a Paki. Nor did their friends. Because no-one around them did. Schools have a duty to record and deal with all racist incidents. Luckily where I live, they are very rare as most children do not think these terms are acceptable in modern multi-ethnic Britain.

amber381 Mon 07-Oct-13 09:03:45

Jinsei- of course it is a problem if the child repeats the language in school but children I have taught in the past have had a pretty clear understanding that certain language or behaviour is unacceptable in the classroom and it is for the OP to make sure that her ds knows that this is not a nice thing to say.

It is a social skill that children have to learn to adapt their behaviour to different settings. I am not saying that she should not tell her child that he should never say such a thing, but just that you can't always stop other family members from having views or opinions that you disagree with.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 09:08:00

no it is not a 'generation thing' my dad is 77 and has never/would never use language like this - also you are right if someone at the school hears your kid repeat this they will come down on it like the proverbial.

See my gran is 93 and wouldn't use the term.

I suppose it's because I know they are quite racist (got a petition up with an Asian family brought a business in the village) and so is dh's eldest brother who we have limited contact with as amongst other things he has been to prison for a racially motivated attack. His children (dh's nephews) spout similar bile and I've defriended them on FB because I don't want to read it. So possibly I am somewhat over sensitive to this because I do not want any of these attitudes to pass to ds.
Mind you somehow dh has turned out ok and so has his other brother.

WilsonFrickett Mon 07-Oct-13 10:26:14

Perhaps I've led a sheltered life but I have never heard the word Paki used in a racist way - just as an abbreviation.

Just because you don't 'hear' the racism doesn't mean the racism isn't there. It is a racist term, and as someone from Edinburgh it is a racist term in Edinburgh and Glasgow too. Doesn't matter if it's said 'with affection', doesn't matter if its said by everyone, it's still racist.

It's also not really up to the people using the term to decide if they find it offensive or not, it's up to the people it's being used to describe.

OP unfortunately I think your problem is bigger than the use of a racist term. (And yes, P--i is racist in any context, used by anyone.)

It sounds like most of your DH's family are racist fuckwits. The use of one word in isolation wouldn't mess up your kids, but I think you will encounter more and more issues as time goes on, with your child being around this level of hatred and prejudice. The stories in your subsequent posts are awful.

And no, it's not 'normal' for people in their 70s to be so ignorant, hateful and offensive.

I read this title and thought it was me! My FIL used that term at Sunday lunch yesterday. Not in the way you describe in your story, you know, racist but in a casual descriptive way -e.g "the p----shop" . A racist term, but not necessarily spiteful.
What he said was so offensive, hate-filled, ignorant and cruel that I nearly walked out. It wasn't my house however, and thank god that the DC were in the other room. No-body said anything for a few seconds. DP put his head in his hands, SIL (his daughter) said "What are we going to do with you?" I said in my coldest voice. "I would appreciate it if you refrained from using those words near my children.
They won't be seeing my children for some time now, they will not ever be left alone with them and I will be letting my DC know that Grandpa is a silly rude old man to whom we pay no attention. He was warned (by DP) last time he said it (I did a thread about it.) and he deliberately said it to get a rise. He is in his seventies, but DP never heard him say the n-word or the p-word until recently. He has been heavily influenced by the fascist paper he reads and he is stupid. I felt really upset that my DC are related to him. My children will not be poisoned by his hate. (My MIL is just as racist but not quite as stupid as him, she knows not to say that word in public.) Thank god DP agrees.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 15:01:12

but you know what all this talk of 'racism' and the 'p-word' and the 'n-word', effectively policing people's speech actually creates more hatred in the end. (not that i am saying these words are acceptable).
but of all the words ending in 'ism, eg fascism, Marxism, Thatcherism, capitalism (note they describe political/economic regimes) can be easily defined.
'Racism' on the other hand is nothing of the kind, either way, yet more people claim to have knowledge of it than any other '-ism' in existence.
When infant school children can have 'racism' on their record, you know things have gone to far really don't you?
btw i knew one infant who had it on his record when he had in fact said 'knickers' - but the teacher swooped on it with glee and would brook no arguments.
What am i trying to say?
Fuck knows.

forehead Mon 07-Oct-13 15:15:20


When my ds was 5 i was called into school as i was told that my ds had called another child a ' faggot'. I had no idea where my ds had heard this language as myself and dh would not dream of using such vile language.
When i asked my son where he had heard this word, he said that he had heard it from my bil . My bil happens to be a homophobic twat btw.
I was furious and had harsh words with my bil. The thing is that despite my protestations, i was convinced that the school thought that ds was simply repeating something he had heard from myself or dh.

FrauMoose Mon 07-Oct-13 15:20:37

I tend to agree with you BurberryQ. I think the idea that one word can be said, and that this is so terrible that the conversation stops - and the person who said that word must not be allowed to see children again - must be really baffling for children. And quite scary. Even if the rules about avoiding name-calling and unkind words at school are clear enough, they'll worry about what happens if they say the 'wrong' word.

My father-in-law has regularly rufflled feathers here with his remarks about my stepdaughter's boyfriend. It's excruciating going into any hospital/doctors waiting room with him because of the loudly voiced comments about the ethnicity of other people waiting for appointments.

But what my partner and I are trying to model to our children is a sense that we continue to take care of vulnerable elderly people - and do our duty towards them - even when we do not share many of their opinions or approve of the way they sometimes express themselves.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 15:35:09

I don't think you are remotely over-reacting - he is a racist git and of course you don't want your DS picking any of it up.

The good thing is that your DH is on it. I don't think you should wade in too, after th event. However if it ocurs in your hearing, I would say 'DH asked you not to use language like that before. I don't want DS to listen to racist stuff so we are leaving'.

I grew up with racist relatives - paternal GM, aunt and uncle - was told all sorts of horrible nonsense. But it didn't stick with me because i heard my parents challenge it and be sure to give a very strong opposing message at home.

Children will always hear opposing views, you can't keep them in a bubble, teaching them to question what they hear and measure them against a set of values is the important thing.

Frau that's admirable but do you openly challenge him when he makes those loud comments, or just allow him to get away with it because he's a vulnerable elderly person?

If the latter, be aware you are also teaching your children that it's OK to make other people feel extremely uncomfortable/unhappy/angry/victimized because your own feelings are all that matters.

you're not even talking about someone making comments in the privacy of their own home, but in a public space and ABOUT other people in that public space because of their ethnicity. That's pretty awful and goes a long way beyond "oh they just happened to say one word"

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 15:38:25

the idea that one word can be said, and that this is so terrible that the conversation stops - and the person who said that word must not be allowed to see children again - must be really baffling for children, and scary
exactly FrauMoose, and what Blu said too - teaching them to question what they hear and measure them against a set of values is the important thing

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 15:38:59

Is racism difficult to define?

Personally, I've never gone wrong with "racism is the idea that it is acceptable to stereotype and pre-judge someone's character/abilities/etc on the basis of their race and that it is acceptable to treat people differently due to their race".

The p-word was unacceptable in the eighties and the nineties. You just had to give a frell about being offensive and nasty. (And also about being accurate- it is peculiarly insensitive and ignorant to call a whole of a set of Britons P***s when many not only do not trace their descent to Pakistan, but may trace their ancestry to a country that has rather a difficult diplomatic relationship with Pakistan!)

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 15:41:30

that is good Jessie - but since when did having a different skin colour or religion or nationality make someone a different race? There is only one race u know...

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 15:45:17

There may be only one human race in truth, but racists don't believe that, do they?

Why should we let racists get away with it, just because they're merely discriminating against people based on nonsense? I mean, the whole reason we are against it is because it's nonsense.

FrauMoose Mon 07-Oct-13 15:50:36

I think a lot of people who see very elderly people making inappropriate remarks do realise that there are issues around mental health involved.
Apologetic smiles, raised eyebrows and shrugs have been exchanged.

I am not entirely sure what I'd want to happen if I were in the role of one of the patients being commented on. Would I want to witness two people having a row that had been indirectly triggered by my presence, and which concerned me? Probably conducted in quite a loud voice because of my relative's deafness? Some people also find it very upsetting to witness an elderly person being 'told off' by younger ones. (In a church group I had to ask an older person to be quiet because her behaviour was upsetting the smooth running of a service, and at least one person whose own mother had dementia found that upsetting.)

My children and stepchildren have their own views. I am not sure that either me or my husband or their grandfather are supremely important now that they're all in their teens or young adults. But I am pleased they are all caring and thoughtful people - with a wide range of friends - who try to do what is right. None of them seem particularly cowardly!

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 15:51:13

yes that i can agree with....

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 15:53:59

Bugger! When my own mother gets white hair- people will start thinking the racist remarks are a recent development.

Ah well, at least then maybe she won't hurt people's feelings. That's probably more important.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 15:55:29

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

my god, that's an impressively ignorant post.

nomorecrumbs Mon 07-Oct-13 16:00:51

allforoneandoneforall has a valid point, though I can understand why most wouldn't see it her way.

It very much depends on the tone with which the words are said and the context.

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:01:12

If only this site hosted pictures...

No-one needs to say the p--- shop. Corner shop? Newsagent? Heard the words?

How do you even know they're Pakistani? Check their passports and the passports of their parents and grandparents did you?

Beastofburden Mon 07-Oct-13 16:02:53

All you can say, I think, is that granddad sometimes says silly things. Not all old people are racists so it would be wrong to make it about his age- not least as he clearly hasnt got all that much worse with age.

I wouldn't panic over one incident but I would make it clear to FIL (via MIL is usually the way) that if there is any danger of DS picking up bad language in her house, he won't be able to visit. I would call it "bad language" rather than "racist language", as she can argue about whether its racist but she cant argue it's not bad language. Also, she will used to the idea that you don't use bad langaue in front of DC.

She will sort him out sharpish, nothing gets a granny going fsater than the throught of losing her DGC.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:05:09

allforoneandoneforall does make some valid points though - these days it is like the language police are out, but that doesn't take hatred away, just drives it underground.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:05:37

It's pretty easy to tell if someone is Pakistani, especially if they work in a shop where you have lived all your life and know them. And if they weren't why is that more insulting than, say, confusing an Aussia and a Kiwi? A Canadian and a Yank? ridiculous! It's about as easy an working out someone is from China, Somalia, Italy etc we have differences and some of these are physical, didn't you notice!

Beastofburden Mon 07-Oct-13 16:06:52

There is no reason not to refer to someone's racial originas. No one race beats another, so no race is shameful or unmentionable.

But some terms are designed to be dismissive and nasty, and for a certain generation that is how they are used.

Younger people can subvert that ironically and use previously taboo terms affectionately. But that is clearly not what the FIL was doing here.

SanityClause Mon 07-Oct-13 16:07:50

Growing up in Australia, the word "Pakis" was only ever used to describe the Pakistani cricket team. (The word "Windies" referred to the West Indian cricket team.) These were mostly used in newspaper headlines on the sports pages. They were never meant in a derogatory way - the Pakistani and West Indian cricket teams were strong opponents!

However, now I live in the UK, I am aware that the word "Paki" is used in a deeply unpleasant way, here. (Australia has plenty of it's own racist insults, unfortunately.) So, I don't use it in any context, any more.

I am not too keen on being called an Aussie, but it is certainly not an insult in the league of "Paki".

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:10:46

There is another post going on, you may have seen i have not commented, saying someone is racist because they called a black man....well, a black man?? "Why didn't you use something else to describe him" what are they incinuating that describing someone as black is offensive?? To who? What's wrong with that - I'm actually boiling at the lack of common sense from both MN and society in general

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:11:22



Right. Explain to me how you can tell whether someone traces their descent from Pakistan, India or Kashmir. Oooh, what about Bangladesh?

Funny thing, the other week, a friend of mine was complaining that few pink people in his city can tell Indians and Bengalis apart to me...

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:13:08

And if they weren't why is that more insulting than, say, confusing an Aussia and a Kiwi?

Have New Zealand and Australia had a troubled relationship throughout most of the 20th and 21st century since independence, so far?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:15:54

Well maybe they would just tell you where they were from, there is always talking and asking, did that thought bypass you??

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:16:38

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allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:17:34

What does that have to do with the price of fish? Now hurry up, the PC train is leaving momentarily and you wouldn't want to miss getting a high horse now would you..

MoominMammasHandbag Mon 07-Oct-13 16:17:38

My family live in a predominantly white are and use words like "Paki" and "Chinky". They are actually genuinely not racist at all (though obviously a bit stupid) and do apologise when pulled up on it. I put it down to sheer ignorance to be honest.
I can remember going to a boyfriend's house when I was about 20 and being genuinely shocked at all the racist bile his family were spouting. I had no idea ordinary people actually behaved like that.
My FiL recently called round while me and DH were out and was introduced to DS's lovely Asian girlfriend who has an accent like something off Eastenders (we are up north). Apparently he asked her if she was British. The teens were cringing and even little DS (7) told me that Grandad had been really stupid. I feel really embarrassed to be honest, like it reflects badly on all of us.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:17:55

a friend of mine was complaining that few pink people in his city can tell Indians and Bengalis apart
well that is like me complaining that brown people cannot tell Irish,English, Scottish or Welsh apart isn't it?

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:19:09

according to my aging dad the only time that 'Chinky' is acceptable in in reference to take-away prawn balls grin

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:19:54

You seem very angry hmm

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:21:00

Not sure what a train and a high horse have to 'do with the price of fish' either confused

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:21:40

He doesn't go around making assumptions about those, acting on the assumptions, and then getting all offended when he's corrected, though.

That said, actually, I think he would get offended if I called him English. grin (He's born and bred in one of them other countries that make up the UK).

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:22:59

Well maybe they would just tell you where they were from, there is always talking and asking, did that thought bypass you??

I'm afraid it did. You don't really come across as someone who would ask before assuming.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:23:06

grin some superb mixed metaphors there .....

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:23:38

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Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:25:27

Oh right. Thanks for explaining hmm

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:25:42

If someone doesn't know which part of the UK I hail from, they treat me as British. Because I'm pink. Nice, usual catch-all that is on most people's passports.

If someone doesn't know the birthplace of someone with brown skin, people seem to assume Pakistan. Why? Why not, erm, British?

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 16:25:48

why can't you just say the shop?

i'm sure if the shop was owned by a white English person you wouldn't say "I'm just going to the English shop"

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 16:26:11

oops i answered someone who got deleted

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:26:47

How, MNHQ are watching. I never even saw that post before it was deleted.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:26:48

I'm afraid it did. You don't really come across as someone who would ask before assuming.

Stereotyping and making assumptions that i'm the kinda person who wouldn't ask - MIRROR PLEASE!

Sometimes you assume, mostly you are right, sometimes you get corrected, sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's not, either way, whats the problem?

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:27:41

grin Fanjo. I had a post deleted because I used a phrase that all had used. Now my post makes no sense sad

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:29:53

And why have all my messages been deleted may i ask? Because i have a different opinion to the majority? I want a full explanation

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:37:08

not all your messages have been deleted - if you look, it was possibly the ones that insulted other people?
cos some of my posts also disagreed with the majority but i managed to do that without insulting anyone grin

I think you are absolutely wrong allforone, it is not easy to tell someone is Pakistani, especially if you are not South Asian. That is the point, there are people who have brown skin who are not Pakistani. Yes, in some places, people might use the word "Paki" shop, to describe a local shop, even other Pakistani's, but it is still offensive to lots of Indian and Pakistani people, and also ignorant, as people who use the term generally do not know your ethnic origin.

You are also ignoring the fact that in the past 40 years or more it has been mainly used as a pejorative term.

I am quite shocked at some of the opinions on this thread that state this language is OK actually. That is apart from the discussion about how you deal with an elderly person using these terms.

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:41:36

I judge on people's behaviour. For example:

It's pretty easy to tell if someone is Pakistani, especially if they work in a shop where you have lived all your life and know them. And if they weren't why is that more insulting than, say, confusing an Aussia and a Kiwi? A Canadian and a Yank? ridiculous! It's about as easy an working out someone is from China, Somalia, Italy etc we have differences and some of these are physical, didn't you notice!

I'm still waiting for the Easy Spotter's Guide to British Asians, y'know.

Physical differences between Brit. Indians, Brit. Pakistanis, etc, please. Or were you just lumping all the brown people together, and thinking that it was easy to tell a brown person apart from someone who wasn't?

Oooh, can you distinguish differences between the people of all the countries in the continent of Africa, too?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:42:47

Well i would like mumsnet or yourself to reference what was insulting to other people, who was actually insulted? Or again, feel they should act insulted to conform with PC madness

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:44:23

soz i cannot ref it cos it has been deleted...grin

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 16:46:44

Using Pakistani as a description isn't rude, obviously, but there is a massive difference between 'The Paki Shop' and 'the shop on the corner - the one owned by the Pakistani family', for example.

And it isn't PC to refrain from using casually rude language about people, it's just decent and normal.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:47:05

Yes, i can normally tell where someone is from, or have an educated guess. Somalian people have a certain look, chinese look different to Thai's, Italians or Spaniards have a certain look - What is wrong from seeing where someone is from by their facial charactoristics? You CAN normally tell if someone is of African or Caribbean, I dont get what the issue is on this one? People often think i'm Polish which i play up to when i can be bothered

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:49:56

there is a massive difference between The Paki Shop' and 'the shop on the corner - the one owned by the Pakistani family', for example.

Yeah i see the difference, one's abbreviated

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 16:51:35

All, I think what I am a little confused about is that if you think it's ok to use words that society sees as racist, where would you draw a line?

Would it be ok for my DH (White Brit) to go up to your partner and say 'Wassup N...a'? What if you have children with your partner (you may already have them), would it be ok for other children/adults to refer to them that way?

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 16:53:09

allforone: nope.

One has a different meaning. Language is sophisticated and allows us to express loads of meaning in very succinct ways. Nuances. Subleties. Beyond txtspeak, anyway.

To ignore that is either naive ignorant, willfully obstructive or a bit thick.

BlingBang Mon 07-Oct-13 16:53:57

It depenends and I think intent does play a part. Some areas take longer to change and are quite insular, also ignorance thrown in as well. I used paki for the corner shop growing up, also tally van and chinki. I had no idea these terms refered to ethnicity or were offensive. I grew up and moved away and would never use them now. Some of my family still do, I pick them up on it usually. They don't mean any harm but yes it should be pointed out and challenged. Some people and some areas are just more ignorant, one of the reasons I no longer want to live there.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:55:19

Saying something in light and jokey way with no malice is different to saying in a horrible way, as with all things. I just think that a lot of people are being branded racist for using the wrong terminology when they are not indeed hateful towards another culture or whatever at all. It's not fair.

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 16:56:04

It's difficult to give exact quotes, but the overall tenor was offensive due to your claims that p* shop was okay, because apparently you know some people who identify as pakistani and are okay with it.

So, you can magically tell a person's family's original country from their appearance, can you? You realise that can come down to a matter of a few square miles? There's a hell of a lot of countries in Africa, and they're not magically separated by moats.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 16:58:02

"Saying something in light and jokey way with no malice is different to saying in a horrible way, as with all things."

This is true. But the OP of this thread has explained that the term Paki was used by a man who is actually actively racist, and was using the ter to describe someone charging too much money. So not epsecially light and jokey.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 16:58:52

Would it be ok for my DH (White Brit) to go up to your partner and say 'Wassup N...a'?

Ohhhh you said white and Brit - Racist!

But you were only using it to describe the person

Why did you have to reference their colour - See how ridiculous that sounds in reverse??

And if he did that to my husband he woud prob burst out laughing and high five him, he'd probably greet him in the same way, it's just normal

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:58:52

Saying something in light and jokey way with no malice is different to saying in a horrible way, as with all things - oh yeh i remember those funny light jokes about the Irish being drunken we laughed!

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 16:59:58

oh and btw shagging a black man doesn't make you an expert on race relations grin

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:01:12

"So, you can magically tell a person's family's original country from their appearance, can you?"

Why would i need to? I really dont get your point, like i said with some you can, some you cant, sometimes you get it right and sometimes not, you can always be corrected or just say
"Oh are you Greek?"
"well i'm Cypriot Greek"
"oh right"

There, that wasn't so hard

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 17:01:31

Burberry right laugh, weren't it. Especially when that bloke carrying a chairleg got shot dead by armed police because he had a Irish accent.

crazyspaniel Mon 07-Oct-13 17:02:16

As someone who you would no doubt be happy to call a "paki", allfor, I can tell you that I was offended by your posts. I have no wish to be called by that term, having been on the receiving end of its use as a term of abuse plenty of times, thank you. I was also offended by your implication that I am as bad as the racists, and "a dickhead" (as I think I recall from your deleted post), for not liking having that word used to describe me. It's not for you to decide whether other people have the right to be offended or not, especially when it's them, not you, that's on the receiving end of that language. The fact that you are married to a black man and happen to know some Pakistani people does not make you the authority on the histories and feelings of ethnic minorities in this country, or the histories of the words used to "describe" them.

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 17:02:34

Erm, because your partner is Black, so just highlighting the fact that if someone for a different ethnicity approached someone from another ethnicity using racist terms, would that be ok with you?

Needingthework Mon 07-Oct-13 17:03:29

Plus I never said that I find the terms Black and White racist confused and P..i, however...

ExcuseTypos Mon 07-Oct-13 17:06:01

allfor. How often do you see and hear the term 'paki' used on the radio and TV, in mags and online in a 'jokey way with no malice intended'

Well zero is your answer, because its am unacceptable phrase and if you don't know that, you've been living in a cave for the last 30 years or you're incredibly stupid.

And I say that as someone who lived in the North as a child, in the 70s. We all referred to the local corner shop as the'paki' shop and the local Chinese as the 'chinki'. We moved somewhere else at age 11, and someone pointed out to me pretty quickly how offensive these terms are.
I've never used them since. If an 11 year old can understand that in 1976, why the fuck are we still having this conversation?

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 17:07:18

allforone: "Why would I need to?" You wouldn't, if you were simply going to talk about the Cornershop or the Newsagents.

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 17:11:11

The point is, that people are a lot more diverse than you think, and making erroneous assumptions is arrogant and hurtful in the first place. Why should anyone have to correct people's assumptions each and every day? Why is it important for you to try and categorise them straight off, esp. when your assumptions are likely miles out?

<Applauds crazyspaniel>

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:11:54

If you can be offended from reading a word that wasn't even said in a derogitory or demeaning manner and not even aimed at you then i really think you should grow a thicker skin!

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:17:59

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crazyspaniel Mon 07-Oct-13 17:19:37

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ExcuseTypos Mon 07-Oct-13 17:19:54

Allfor- it's been explained several times why the term is offensive and derogatory. But you still don't understand do you?

Never mind, hopefully one day a light bulb moment may occur in your tiny brain. Oh and I didn't mean that in a derogatory or offensive way. Just so you know.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:22:19

If you can't understand that saying a word and being a racist are two different things then there really is no hope here.

ExcuseTypos Mon 07-Oct-13 17:22:36

It's really not worth engaging is it crazy? Not when someone is so utterly stupid.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 17:24:55

Some people are throwing around the racist words a bit too enthusiastically IMO

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 17:25:02

If you are not a racist, why would you choose to call someone by a word which is commonly understood to be a racially focussed rude, derogatory term?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:25:57

People shouldn't be banned from saying a word that should be a normal word, an abbreviation of a nationality. The word is not racist, people have made it racist by, as a scenario, shouting it at someone in the street in a derogitory way. Why not just change the stigma surrounding a word? Don't be embarassed or whatever to use the word anymore, people no longer see it as a bad thing

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 17:26:22

To stir I think

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:26:45

hy would you choose to call someone by a word which is commonly understood to be a racially focussed rude, derogatory term?

I don't

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 17:26:57

What disingenuous tripe

morethanpotatoprints Mon 07-Oct-13 17:31:36

You are absolutely right not to accept this, but a BU to be angry.
His generation were brought up like that and its important to teach them that its unacceptable to society now and we just can't be like this.
Even when I was a child it was acceptable to call it the P* shop.
Nobody questioned that it could be racist.
My dhs gran rest her soul asked him once "You don't have any of them lot as friends do you" Dh was totally shock she was a sweet old thing who wouldn't harm a fly, she just didn't get it.
OP, just try to educate him and make him see the error of his ways.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 17:36:06

An idealistic approach, allforone. It has partially worked for 'queer', has not, I think, worked for 'N', and the problem is that there will still be plenty of people using the word deliberately as a racist word.

Once racism has disappeared, then no word will carry racist currency because racism doesn't exist, or isn't a probelm to anyone.

But I don't think you can eradicate racism by pretending that some words are not of racist intent.

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 17:36:46

allfor, it is hard to assume that you are anything but a racist if you persist in using terms to describe people's ethnic origins that others have told you they find offensive.

However, I'm fascinated to know how you can distinguish so accurately between people of Pakistani origin and those from other South Asian backgrounds. Please do share your secrets so that I can properly enlighten the next person who calls my (not Pakistani) DH the p-word.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:48:03


It's quite simple, why dont you just ask?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:48:52

I don't see it as any more racist that saying 'the woman with ginger hair' or 'the guy with dreadlocks'. It is just a description of physical appearance.

If you jump to the conclusion that describing someone as 'black' is an insult, I think it says more about you than it does about them

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:50:09

However, I'm fascinated to know how you can distinguish so accurately between people of Pakistani origin and those from other South Asian backgrounds

I never said i could, did i, no! I said sometimes you can tell or make an educated guess, and i'm not sure of the relevance of that anyway?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 17:51:57

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TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 17:51:58

Wow, if mental gymnastics was an Olympic sport, you could get us gold. You apparently don't use these words, but yet you know your Pakistani acquaintances don't mind them!

I wonder if you're my old flatmate who insisted the local shop-owner didn't mind it, because he didn't ban her from his shop. (I think the huge amount she spent on cigarettes migh have had something to do with it.)

Jinsei we're all waiting grin

TheBigJessie Mon 07-Oct-13 17:55:20

You know, I think any decision to ignore racist insults and reclaim the word(s) has to be taken by the victims.

As opposed to non-victims arrogantly telling them "to stop taking it so seriously", "it's only a joke", "it's not a big deal" and all those classic silencing strategies.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 17:55:21

Simply using 'black' as a description of someone isn't racist.

It might be if you use the word uneccessarily and in a way you wouldn't use it about a white person.

For e.g the differnce between "The bastard in the fiesta cut me up"
"The black bastard in the fiesta cut me up".

But that was all explained on that thread allforone - in the few mins I looked at the thread, anyway. Did you find it hard to follow in some way? No one that I saw said that describing someone as black, per se, was racist.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 17:57:06

TheBigJessie - you left "grow a thicker skin" of the list [wink}

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 17:57:27

I don't see it as any more racist that saying 'the woman with ginger hair' or 'the guy with dreadlocks'. It is just a description of physical appearance.

Sorry, but in what way is the p-word a description of physical appearance? confused

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 18:01:16

Oh, and by the way, nobody has ever stopped to ask my DH if he is Pakistani before calling him the p-word. Nor did anyone ask my friend's dd, who happens to have brown skin but isn't from an Asian background at all.

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 18:01:42

The woman with red hair, the guy with dreadlocks, the man from Pakistan - all fine.

The Paki - not fine.

Unless you found your own island where no racism exists and no-one has ever been called 'Paki' as a term of abuse, by thousands chanting int he streets, and where you and you alone (da da DAAA!) control the mening of language AND how other people react to it.

Have fun!

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 07-Oct-13 18:01:59

Well Yanbu to not like it and not want him to use language like that again.

I once had to gently tell an elderly relative that saying "p*ki" wasn't acceptable anymore. To be fair said relative listened I me explain and as far as I know no longer uses the term. They were quite shock that they might have terribly offended people, they really didn't mean it to be offensive. This was about 10 years ago now.

The thing with the older generation using outdated terms is that those who genuinely aren't racist will stop saying it, those who are will continue.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 18:02:38

still just describing what the bastard that cut you up looked like IMO - Doesn't make you a racist - Like the other day i got into a bit of a spat in the supermarket and described the girl to my (black) DH as a skinny black stuck up bitch - And believe me, she was all of those things

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 18:04:49

the words skinny and black was so my DH could imaging her to some extent

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 18:06:46

OP - is it possible that allforone is part of your ILs family?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 18:16:19

What because i dont find it racist to describe people by their colour or ethnicity? Stop being so pathetic, it's people with your stupid attitude that create and keep the barriers between racial relationships up.

Why do i have to tell people, all the time it seems, my ethnic origin - Every form, every letter bloody ask, schools etc - If everyone is the same, then why does it bloody matter!
I understand hospitals asking though, as some things affect some people more than others or only certain ethnic groups

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 18:17:29

And yeah, if i was married to OP FIL then i'm sure he would invite me and my big black husband over for dinner

crazyspaniel Mon 07-Oct-13 18:33:44

It's all starting to make sense now.

You called a lowly worker a black bitch. But you can't possibly be racist because you're married to a black man.

Cheryl, is that you? Don't you have a crap manufactured song to pretend to sing?

MidnightRose Mon 07-Oct-13 19:03:23

My DP is of Pakistani origin and the word Paki is most definitely used as an insult and he's had it thrown at him very aggressively many times whilst just walking down the street. It's not the same as describing someone as black, Pakistan is a country not a race my DP HATES being referred to as Pakistani as he has never been there, was born here and considers himself British.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Mon 07-Oct-13 19:03:28

The fact that this has descended into an argument about what is and is not racist just shows that it is a sensitive and completely subjective issue. So for fuck's sake isn't it better to err on the side of caution when choosing one's vocabulary?!

And anyone who makes an obviously racist comment like calling someone a 'black bitch' (bitch or not, why the hell did skin colour come into it?!) and then absolves themselves of all possible prejudice by stating that they are married to a black person or have loads of black mates probably need to switch their brain on and switch their mouth off. Pure stupidity.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:13:56

I didn't call her a black bitch if you read, i described her to my husband as that - different

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:16:56

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FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 19:17:34

I seriously think allforone is having a laugh and trying to fit as many racist terms and phrases in as possible.

crazynanna Mon 07-Oct-13 19:21:53

But could you not just say "some bitch...."? Does the fact that she was 'skinny' and 'black' emphasise the fact that she was a bitch? I mean..a bitch is a bitch,no?

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 07-Oct-13 19:22:19

She popped up saying um...odd things on a similar thread recently. Might be the "calling a black man black isn't racist is it" one.

crazynanna Mon 07-Oct-13 19:23:19

And as for describing said 'bitch' to your fella....why did you need to describe her physical appearance when her 'bitchiness' was clearly an attitude attribute?

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 07-Oct-13 19:24:10

Yes..have reported.

Jinsei Mon 07-Oct-13 19:27:40

Yes fanjo, I think you're right. Going to disengage from the debate now, as allfor is clearly just out to provoke a reaction.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:29:43

That was the begining rant, i spoke much about her than that, described her down to a tea so my husband could see if he recognised her. Why do you think its bad to be black, and skinny for that matter? She is skinny and black, the same as i would say some big fat bloke etc

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:30:45

i just feel sad that people with so few logical brain cells can be left to breed!

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 07-Oct-13 19:30:52

Are you always so fantastically fucking dim all ?

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:35:59

well, noone in my family minds being called black or finds reference to the colour of their skin racist, the worlds cone mad!

nennypops Mon 07-Oct-13 19:36:16

Nonsense. Your husband had no need to see if he recognised the woman in question. You used the term "black" because you are racist, and for no other reason. If of course this incident happened at all.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:36:53

It's a slippery creature of the sea, with fins, and scales, and a puckery type mouth, it's got a.......IT'S A FISH!!!!!!!!!!!

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:37:45

Yeah, i'm racist with a black husband and kids - People like you undermean the term - Disgusting

crazynanna Mon 07-Oct-13 19:38:24

But you didn't say you described her to your OH so to see if her "recognised" the said it was so he could "image her to some extent" the "image" of her being 'black' and 'skinny' did, to you, have some bearing on her being a 'bitch',then.

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:39:16

Oh and it turns out he did know her as it goes, ive seen her around and he knows her brother. that's a different story but i wont let anyone get away with upsetting my son and trying to intimidate me!

crazynanna Mon 07-Oct-13 19:40:18

Describing someone as black is fine, but dropping that descriptive term to enforce a negativity about a being a 'bitch' not's racist

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:40:27

She would of been described as a bitch no matter what, but physical descriptions are normally always placed when describing an incindent

allforoneandoneforall Mon 07-Oct-13 19:42:02

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crazynanna Mon 07-Oct-13 19:43:47

And using every racist term in the book on this thread by you is encouraging integration? Right.

nomorecrumbs Mon 07-Oct-13 19:47:53

allfor I get your point, I don't think you're racist, but I do think you're sounding a tad naive.

Of course it's not racist to use the term 'black' or whatever to describe someone in ordinary conversation. You're right that 'Paki' should be a neutral adjective. But because certain ethnic groups have been discriminated against through use of racist language which includes these adjectives, we have to be extra-careful how we use them now in our descriptions.

Good on you for wanting to change the connotations of those words to something more neutral, though. Maybe it'll happen over time.

ems1910 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:00:28

I regularly hear the word dyke from my mil and sil. I hate it. OH couldn't understand why until I explained, he genuinely didn't know why it was so offensive. Now he will pick them up on it should they ever say it in front of our children.

I wouldn't feel the need to say anything now if your H has but I would if he kept repeating it. My mum still says coloured, it's force of habit and I correct her everytime!

tethersend Mon 07-Oct-13 20:11:20

An individual can't change the meaning of a word- what a word signifies is 'agreed' by a group of people/society. Consensus is reached as to its meaning- (mostly) everyone understands what the word means, thus language still functions and communication is achieved.

An individual refusing to recognise commonly received meanings of words is ineffectual. It's like me saying the the words massive, racist' with, a, made-up and husband actually mean that I value and respect everybody's opinion on the topic of this thread, as that is my intention.

Which of course would be absurd.

Of course, anyone can say whatever the fuck they like. Anytime they want. I don't want to 'police' people, or censor them. But if they are offensive and racist then they should be told that that is what they are.

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