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(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

BadgersBottom Mon 12-Nov-12 12:10:44

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.

Binkyridesagain Mon 12-Nov-12 12:25:16

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.

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