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To think MIL is not racist....but so f*cking ignorant & shouldn't be around DCs

(359 Posts)
rockacrybaby Sat 30-Apr-16 22:01:51

I have a very mixed family but am more or less black. Coffee coloured. DH is white. Race has never been an issue on either side but his damn mother keeps on saying the most infuriating things and DH and FIL keeps on shrugging it off as "she's just from a different time/ it's just silly ignorance"

When I think about what my family has been through I just cannot dismiss it as such. I've done the whole "Oh come on" polite speech but she just laughs me off as being defensive: "Oh I don't mean you, you're different"


On DD1 when she was just born: "Oh, she's beautiful - not even as dark as I expected."

A conversation about an advert urging people to foster BAME kids: "Yes well of course more of them are in the system they just don't value family as much as other people do they?"

On first meeting me : "Oh you're quite well spoken"

On me straightening DD1s hair as a one off for a special occasion: "Her hair is so much prettier like this - so much less unruly"

On DD saying "I'm from Jamaica!" because her nanna is from there and we just got back from a trip and she's proud of her mixed heritage : "Oh but not that much darling"

On black lives matter : "Why are they so angry? If you behave like a hooligan you will be treated as such"

It really upsets me and I don't want my DCs hearing this shit. Yes their dad is white but they are still people of colour and I don't want them growing up hearing the shit I heard which made me feel inferior at times.....from their own damn grandma!!!

I don't even want them thinking about bloody race but it's like she cant help herself from making comments which subtly remind them that they are different from their blond haired blue eyes cousins. They are subtle and not all the time but enough to plant a seed.

Told DH MIL's comments aren't getting better and I'd I refuse to fight with her about it. I've addressed her comments nicely several times and she just laughs me off. DH is being useless. Seems to think that because she's not in the KKK its all petty.

I don't know what to do.

ImNotThatGirl Sat 30-Apr-16 22:05:33

I wouldn't want my kids hearing that. You would not BU to refuse to allow her unsupervised access to your children while she makes such disparaging remarks.

SalemSaberhagen Sat 30-Apr-16 22:06:48

My children would not be visiting her until she learnt not to talk like that in front of them.

YABU to think that your MIL isn't racist. She definitely is.

lightgreenglass Sat 30-Apr-16 22:08:33

Honestly, from those comments I would say she is racist. She makes racist comments about people. Just because she knows people of colour doesn't not make her a racist. If my MIL was remotely like this I would be no contact.

lottielou7 Sat 30-Apr-16 22:09:17

Well, actually she is racist and ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. I have no idea how you put up with that and I certainly wouldn't want my dd hearing it. I think your DH should be backing you up and telling her it's unacceptable.

LittleMissBossyBoots Sat 30-Apr-16 22:10:18

She sounds racist to me.

MammaTJ Sat 30-Apr-16 22:13:55

She is ignorant and racist and needs telling.By your DH!

She cannot chip, chip, chip at their ethnicity without it having a negative effect, so she cannot be allowed to do it!

rockacrybaby Sat 30-Apr-16 22:14:07

I know I know shock
I've been avoiding saying the R word because of DH. I don't want the drama that comes with saying "your mum is racist".
She does love her grandkids and she never once (to my knowledge) objected to our marriage which is why I've always leaned towards very very ignorant as opposed to racist. I've experienced racism and it isn't pretty. My mum says just because she doesn't say the N word and belong to the BNP doesn't mean she isn't fundamentally racist.
It's very very unnerving.....surely she cant love her grandkids/ and be racist??

Gazelda Sat 30-Apr-16 22:14:27

How old are the children?

I think you need to have a conversation with her, DH and FIL. Tell them that the comments are racist, you don't expect the children to have to put up with this sort of comment from school mates, and they shouldn't have to at home.

The next time she says something this offensive, take the children out/away or ask her to leave your home and refuse to have anything more to do with her until she apologises to you and/or DC.

SchnooSchnoo Sat 30-Apr-16 22:16:12

She definitely is racist and it's totally understandable that you're upset. It sounds like someone (your DH?) is making you feel that you're making a big deal out of nothing. I think you need to have a talk with him. Can he not understand how uncomfortable it must be for you knowing she holds those views? He needs to talk to her and explain exactly why what she says is unacceptable! It must be horrible for you.

BoopTheSnoot Sat 30-Apr-16 22:17:09

I'm afraid that it sounds like your MIL is indeed a racist, but dresses it up as plain ignorance. Neither is acceptable, particularly towards her own grandchildren. They don't need to be exposed to her toxic opinions.
"Oh I don't mean you, you're different"
Different from what exactly hmm?
I wouldn't want my children to be unsupervised around someone with that kind of outlook.

ratspeaker Sat 30-Apr-16 22:19:43

You could try the old MN " did you mean to be so rude"
each and every time

But if you and your DH dont challenge her you will get no where
She needs to know how much she is making your DC feel so inferior. She may not realise how snobbish, racist, judgemental she comes across as.
You both need to tell her asap.
( in a slightly different way, been there, done that , I was the child in question, luckily I grew up to think f off )

AnotherStitchInTime Sat 30-Apr-16 22:19:48

100% agree with you. Oh and she is racist, all be it subtly.

Have a look at the work of Jane Elliot here, it may help you get your DH to understand.

I would not be letting my mixed race children around my own (white) mother if she made those comments.

GeoffreysGoat Sat 30-Apr-16 22:20:17

Yanbu. I'm the white half of the couple, if my parents made comments like that in front of my boys they wouldn't see them. Fuck being polite, you don't undermine my children like that.

My gran, in her 90s, knows how to be polite. And she's of the "there was this black woman at church today. She was [shocked voice] ever so lovely" school of I'm-not-a-racist-but hmm

NoMudNoLotus Sat 30-Apr-16 22:21:02

I would have to send her on an a course to learn about equality and diversity before she had contact with my kids again.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Sat 30-Apr-16 22:21:56

Oh dear oh dear

She definitely needs to be told it's unacceptable and that a zero tolerance policy will be applied

But sounds like your DH needs educating too

shonasybarbaric Sat 30-Apr-16 22:22:18

I agree that ignorance is not an excuse. Her comments ARE racist. It's not acceptable. The message that your dc are receiving from her is that they are more white than black and that the things that distinguish them as people of colour (hair, skin tone) are to be played down (ie hair looks prettier straightened). Then you've got some ridiculous and vile assumptions such as white people being more family orientated than BAME people. I could not have my children hearing comments like this. It's absolutely horrible. Is DH not offended on behalf of you and your dc? He needs to stand up to his mother and tell her comments like this are not happening and if she carries on, then she won't see her gc's till she stops with the racist remarks.

MammaTJ Sat 30-Apr-16 22:22:59

surely she cant love her grandkids/ and be racist?

She can by constantly noticing/pointing out the differences/her surprise in similarities. As explained in your OP.

I have a friend who has GC who are mixed race. I would not have known this by talking to her, I happen to have met her DD and GC. You can bet your life everyone who knows your MIL knows her GC are mixed race and she apologises for it. Or say they are lovely in spite of it!

FuriousFate Sat 30-Apr-16 22:25:33

She is racist. Your DH needs to acknowledge this quick smart.

PNGirl Sat 30-Apr-16 22:25:44

She can love her grandchildren at the same time as being racist. It sounds to me like she is partly worried about what other people think because she is racist herself (hence not wanting them to say they are Jamaican and the hair comments).

She may not have objected to the marriage but I bet you anything she's made a comment to a friend or other relative in private about what a "shame" it is that you and they are not white.

RandomMess Sat 30-Apr-16 22:28:25

Just shock at those comments and they are clearly a regular occurrence rather than the odd one off said through ignorance!

BoyFromTheBigBadCity Sat 30-Apr-16 22:28:41

This is racist and disgusting. She can be racist and love her dgc - it's not obviously logical but human minds can do it. Call her out. I will not accept that beingderived excuses this. My own grandparents are in their 90s and would never say this.

BoyFromTheBigBadCity Sat 30-Apr-16 22:29:11

Being older! Sorry, phone!

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 30-Apr-16 22:29:43

Your husband needs to grow a backbone here and tell his mother they her comments and attitude are completely unacceptable.

Quodlibet Sat 30-Apr-16 22:30:46

She is absolutely a racist.

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