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AIBU to think this woman at the gym was rude?

(197 Posts)
sofiathesecond Thu 05-Jan-17 13:40:35

Just finished showering dd at the gym, woman goes 'ooh what lovely hair she has, is she half or quarter-caste?'

Hate the term 'half-caste', I would always say mixed race. Aside from this, I also think asking mine or my daughter's racial identity is a bit rude. hmmAIBU?

KERALA1 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:42:11

I was told off for using mixed race. It's dual heritage.

Iris65 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:42:25

YANBU. Totally racist comment.

JungleInTheRumble Thu 05-Jan-17 13:43:31

YANBU, I think that sounds really rude. Was she older?

sofiathesecond Thu 05-Jan-17 13:46:28

Where are u KERALA? I think in U.K., most applications etc have a section 'mixed race' and then choice. Never seen dual heritage used anywhere.

SquatBetty Thu 05-Jan-17 13:46:55

Nah, not totally racist. A cringe making comment nonetheless. It's the sort of thing my (elderly) FIL would say - he'd think he was being friendly and polite but he hasn't actually realised that 'half caste' hasn't been an acceptable term for many years.

Missrubyring Thu 05-Jan-17 13:48:43

I would say less rude and more ignorant.
But it is hard to get it right sometimes as different people get offended by different descriptions. And it's always changing which one is politically correct. confused

harderandharder2breathe Thu 05-Jan-17 13:50:04

Ignorant more than racist, old fashioned dodgy terminology but she was trying to be kind

ricepolo Thu 05-Jan-17 13:50:26

I don't think it's a rude question if it was said in the right tone-I'm often interested in why people have certain features or colouring-it can be fascinating to see how genetics works!!

The language she used was potentially offensive though.

sofiathesecond Thu 05-Jan-17 13:50:26

Mid 40's maybe. I was just shocked and I just mumbled in response as I didn't really want dd to hear as it made me uncomfortable. Just think it was ignorant tbh.

InTheKitchenAtParties Thu 05-Jan-17 13:53:20

Her intentions were good. Be proud of your dd attracting (misguided) compliments from strangers and forgive the lady.

magicstar1 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:53:47

I think it's hard sometimes for older people to know what terms they should use. When I was a child I was told never to call a person black...the term was coloured, now I keep reminding my mother not to use coloured. She would say half-caste too, as that's what was used when she was growing up.

WaitrosePigeon Thu 05-Jan-17 13:56:07


Bad choice of words but clearly not racist. She was complimenting your DD confused

Oakmaiden Thu 05-Jan-17 13:56:20

I understand that the term she used was offensive and it shocked you. However, from the context I think it is clear that she wasn't intending to be offensive and was trying to be nice. It is a shame you weren't able to say something like - "she has 1/ 2/ 3 black grandparents and 1/2/3 white - but we refer to it as dual heritage or mixed race nowadays... some people get offended by referring to it as caste". But hey, the moment has passed.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Thu 05-Jan-17 13:56:54

She wasn't older though, she was mid-40's. Less excuse for not knowing that the term isn't acceptable. Probably well-meant though...

Bluntness100 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:01:39

Mid forties, so no excuse for her to be that ignorant. Unless she grew up in a cave or is intectually challenged she should have known.

Ptolemie Thu 05-Jan-17 14:01:56

YANBU. I've said to others in the past that half caste, etc is offensive and they've genuinely not known that it is.
It is interesting how the use of language changes though. A friends father refuses to call himself black (says he is coloured) as he thinks it's offensive. Obviously it's up to him what he calls himself.

sofiathesecond Thu 05-Jan-17 14:02:20

Never said I thought she was racist, just rude even if she was complimenting dd. 'She has lovely hair' would suffice. And is what most people say to her.

Intentionally or not just think it's bit rude to make that sort of comment.

deblet Thu 05-Jan-17 14:03:08

Things change daily it seems in this country I can't keep up. I am 50 and if my kids were not still at home to help me know all the new descriptions of people I would be in trouble. We always said half caste when I was younger I would not be insulted she was being nice just not knowing today's correct labelling.

WatchfulOwl Thu 05-Jan-17 14:04:04

I was born in the late eighties, mixed race and used 'half-caste' myself when growing up. The term changed to mixed when I was a teenager, never used coloured though.

This conversation would have annoyed me too OP, but as a mixed race person you get used to being interrogated.

Where are you from?
Where are your parents from?
Are you English?
Are your eyes real?
Are your Mum and Dad married?
How do you cope with your hair?
How did your mum ever manage to do your hair?
Do you like blacks? (Referring to if I'm attracted to black men or not)
Are you more black or white?
Do black people like you?

It grates.

juniorcakeoff Thu 05-Jan-17 14:05:24

Yeah, I think its racist. And weird. I sometimes get asked by newish friends whether my parents or grandparents came from a different country, I don't mind that so much, they are showing an interest, I ask about where names are from sometimes in that context. But comments from strangers, the use of the word half-caste, (I've had exotic or oriental a lot), racist. Why would a stranger want to know what percentage of you was from different races?

allchattedout Thu 05-Jan-17 14:07:19

It's not rude to ask heritage but it's a huge faux-pas to use the term half-caste

loobyloo1234 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:08:41

Not racist. Ignorant nonetheless

JigglyTuff Thu 05-Jan-17 14:09:01

I honestly cannot believe anyone 50 and under thinks half caste is an acceptable phrase. Or that it was ever acceptable. I'm in my 50s and it has always been a racist expression. Always

Kikibanana86 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:11:18

My youngest two have tight curly hair and I've been asked by strangers if they're mixed before.

Didn't offend me but it is a bit odd that they even asked!

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