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to shyly agree with my friends slightly racist comment in order to prevent awkwardness between us??

(116 Posts)
MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:05:17

I've known my neighbour for almost 3 years now. Our kids are in the same class at infant school. I would say she's not a friend i would've made if we weren't neighbours. It's just that we see each other everyday and accidentally bump into each other throughout the day.
We usually walk to school to collect our DC's. (Well, she's started waiting outside my house for me).
90% of the time, conversation is pleasant and light-hearted small talk but other times she is gossiping about other parents at the school. The other day she tried to start an uncomfortable conversation which was derrogatory about an ethnic minority. She thought it was something to giggle about and i found myself giggling too, just to keep the conversation light-heartedblush
But now, looking back, she might think i don't mind hearing more of her comments.
It's really hard because we aren't close enough for me to suddenly put her in her place. I'm so crap at finding the words to show disapproval, in case of awkward silence. Furthermore, i occasionally pay her to babysit my DC's. Should I have said anything? Or was I right to just smile and quickly change the conversation? I also have the same problem​ when conversation turns to gossip about other parents that i am friendly with. Sometimes she even asks if i agree and i just say, 'yeah, i see what you mean', just to keep conflict out of the convo. Is that wrong?

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Wed 22-Mar-17 14:07:34

Not sure something can be slightly racist.

It's either racist or it isn't.

GiddyGiddyGoat Wed 22-Mar-17 14:09:40

Yes, you are very unreasonable.
You can express your views and say what you think without "disapproving" or "putting her in her place" you know. What advice would you give your dos if a friend made a racist comment or wanted them to join in being mean about someone - giggle and go along with it for a quiet life or say what they think is right. You can call it avoiding conflict but it's pretty spineless.

dudsville Wed 22-Mar-17 14:10:10

You can stand by your ethics without being rude or confrontational. A simple "I disagree" can suffice. You might find you're selling your soul over time if you don't say what you think.

Shoxfordian Wed 22-Mar-17 14:11:29

Yeah it is wrong to just nod along or laugh because it just encourages her that her racism is ok

HecateAntaia Wed 22-Mar-17 14:12:35

I'd rather have awkwardness than having someone think I was racist.

lemontoast Wed 22-Mar-17 14:12:59

I think you could tell her not to be mean. You would be letting her know that you aren't really okay with it. Gently.
It isn't easy - but it is totally unacceptable of her and somehow you'll need to stop her.

HumpMeBogart Wed 22-Mar-17 14:14:29

I understand that you felt uncomfortable but YABU.

If you're struggling to articulate your disapproval, try repeating back what she said.

"Do you really think that all <ethnic minority> are <whatever she said>?"

LanaKanesLeftNippleTassle Wed 22-Mar-17 14:14:53

I'm sorry but I think you are BU.

I always challenge stuff like this, nodding and smiling just encourages all this.

I would consider afriend who couldn't take a bit of criticism, especially if it's racism/sexism etc. Isn't a friend I want.

Friends I have challenged have had the grace to be ashamed, and even if it didn't change their views, they know for a fact that I will challenge anything I consider to be out of line, and at least check their language.

lemontoast Wed 22-Mar-17 14:14:57

Although what l said looked 'lightweight' l think as you seem to be entwined so much - having an argument with your children around could be tricky. Your conscience is kicking in.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 22-Mar-17 14:15:09

It's on a par with 'you can't say that!' With a wry smile.

You might not feel comfortable calling them out about it but if it were me at the very least I would say i disagreed and didn't think stereotypes were true.

HecateAntaia Wed 22-Mar-17 14:15:45

oh and beware the person who gossips about others.

they will be gossiping about you too and being just as horrible about you as they are to you about others.

and happy to let it be known that you share their views.

"Do you agree?"
"no."

chinam Wed 22-Mar-17 14:16:50

It's awkward because you pay someone who is openly racist to look after your children?? Wait til you see how awkard it is when your children are saying racist things.

blubberball Wed 22-Mar-17 14:17:16

Your dc might pick up on her racism and think it's ok, and repeat phrases at school. I wouldn't want her babysitting.

MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:27:44

Yes. You are all right. I am really seeking the words to say. I guess i am a bit socially awkward myself. It caused a bit of shock and caught me off guard.
Agree re babysitting. I've cut that down alot.
If a situation arises again i will definitely try the 'repeating back' suggestion but she always makes the comments/gossip followed me a giggle.

MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:28:44

...Followed *BY a giggle, not me a giggle

NC543212345 Wed 22-Mar-17 14:31:54

I get what you mean op. I can be very awkward around people and used to do the same as you.

Now I either distance myself from that person or casually disagree with them. You don't need to make a big point of it, just say you don't feel that way. It becomes easier to do the more you do it.

MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:32:44

And it was quite an indirect comment. I almost had to work out what she meant as she didn't actually mention a race. Experienced mumsnetters? Am i allowed to post what she said?

Shoxfordian Wed 22-Mar-17 14:32:50

Just don't giggle back

I find "excuse me?" is good; she'll have to repeat it

If she tells a racist joke say you don't get it and have her explain it. Raise eyebrows.

Graphista Wed 22-Mar-17 14:33:48

the neighbour is not someone I'd have anything to do with and tbh you sound pretty weak, which I find equally offputting.

Would you have reacted the same if the racist comment was about someone you liked or were related to?

In similar situations I've said/done things like:

Deadpan/no reaction change topic of conversation.

'I disagree'
'Would you say that to their face?'
'I don't feel comfortable with this conversation'
'What a strange comment to make'
'That's not something I would ever think/say'
'How would you feel if they spoke the same way about you?'

Rebut bigoted comments with counter arguments.

Then I'd have nothing more to do with them.

People have strong opinions on various issues (I'm a very strongly socialist person but have some friends and family who are practically communist and some who are far more right wing in their thinking, yet we can discuss things civilly) but there's never an excuse for bigotry or being 2 faced.

Life experience has taught me as a pp says, if they're gossiping TO you they're gossiping ABOUT you.

The worst person I know for this is a relative, entire family just knows not to tell them ANYTHING sensitive, as a result they are always the last to learn things which hurts their feelings but they've CAUSED a lot of hurt by not keeping their mouth shut and by twisting what they passed on!

Floggingmolly Wed 22-Mar-17 14:34:07

Why would you giggle along with something you disagree with like a sheep? Are you very easily led, op?

MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:36:17

NC543212345, thank you for your understanding. I think that is what i was trying to point out. I can't distance myself from her. And can you imagine having to see her 2-3 times a day and we just didn't like one another? I am liking your subtle approach. I will try and work on it

MaidOfStars Wed 22-Mar-17 14:41:22

Depending on my level of closeness, my response to anything racist is:

Massively exaggerated, open-mouthed horror e.g. my BIL using a pejorative for people from Pakistan.

"It's not OK to say that word/joke/etc and I don't want to hear anything like that again" e.g. a student using a pejorative for people from Pakistan (WTF is wrong with the people I hang out with?)

"I think what you're saying is disgusting, nobody should have to hear words like that and you need to consider how many people you are offending here" e.g. a man on the train shouting about "towel heads".

MannBoy Wed 22-Mar-17 14:41:37

I am weak and lack confidence. Thank you for pointing that out. One of my flaws I want to work on

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 22-Mar-17 14:42:38

I had this yesterday at work with a homophobic comment, I did call them on it but quiet gently

agree a subtle approach AND, if she bitches about others...she will bitch about you esp. if you are paying her, tread carefully

just decide, from now onwards I wont agree with her when she bitches. she will get the hint

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