English

(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.

KitchenandJumble Mon 12-Nov-12 18:10:10

No, your MIL's question was not racist.

But now I'm curious. What has your MIL done to earn your undying hatred? If you don't want to list every crime, tell us the absolute worst thing she has ever done or said to you. It's none of my business, of course, I'm simply curious, since it doesn't seem as though anything you've written about is worthy of such intense hatred.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 19:46:23

When I am in spain or italy, I often get spoken to in the native language (I have olive skin and could easily be either), and have often also been asked if I speak it.. in spain I answer no, in italy i answer yes but only a little.. I have never found it rude or racist..

kim147 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:50:59

Still don't understand why it's racist to ask a foreigner if they speak English?

If someone said, "Do you still throw spears at each other?" as a certain Royal said, that would be racist.

lovebunny Mon 12-Nov-12 19:58:59

certainly not. and why would you want to start calling your mother in law racist, at this stage?

londonandwhere, I do not understand your attitude to our MIL. You didn't find it racist at the time, but you're trying to find it racist now.

You posted :
"The reason I ask you all posting here is

I wished I hadnt experienced racism from my mil it would be extremely shocking

but if it was,

I wanted to tell my husband what his mum said was slightly racist in an unthinking way."

He was there at the time, standing right next to you. He answered her on your behalf, because you were hesitating to do so. Don't you think if it had been racist, he'd have noticed it right there and then? Instead, it made so little impression on him that he can barely remember it.

If it helps, I do not presume that people who have been resident in the UK for a few years are necessarily fluent in English. Growing up I knew many Italian-Scots. Those my age (2nd generation) were bilingual, or had English as their first language; but often their parents still struggled, despite having been in the country for decades. The Italian community was large enough that many of them rarely needed to speak English, and so were not fluent.

I think you need to reflect on why you are doing this. It is not healthy to be picking over past imagined slights (and it IS imagined) looking to start a fight.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 12-Nov-12 21:29:59

I wouldn't say racist. Abrupt, perhaps. Possibly rude, depending on the way it was said (was it said very slowly, loudly?)

My DH is from Germany. I brought him to visit my mum in the US. Her neighbours did a lot of "Does he speak English?" type questions; they hadn't been exposed to many people from other countries. It wasn't a race thing, though it was a "foreign" thing.

RoryCeilingCat Mon 12-Nov-12 21:39:03

I live in Switzerland. I am from the UK. I expect one of the first 3 questions I'm asked to be 'Sprechen Sie Deutsch?' I'm very happy if the asker then can speak Standard German (as opposed to Swiss German) or English. Not racist as far as I'm concerned, so YABU.

Teabagtights Mon 12-Nov-12 21:44:14

You are pissed off he gets on with his mother so are trying to make a problem where there isn't one. You resent her in your husbands life and want to be the only woman in it.

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