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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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..

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.

lljkk Mon 12-Nov-12 17:49:40

The standard of your written English is somewhat poor.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 12-Nov-12 17:45:08

There is nothing racist about asking it as a genuine question.

If you know someone is visiting here from
Abroad seems nervous when they speak with you it's a perfectly reasonable thing to ask, you can then assist them as best you can or try and speak the other language.

What about if I went on holiday to Japan and someone asked me if I spoke Japanese would that be racist?

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Mon 12-Nov-12 17:41:00

It's not racist and calling it so belittles the real racism people have to endure. I live in a non English speaking country and am frequently asked if I speak the language. It a normal question when you are known to have a different native language. I have encountered racism frequently too, and this isn't it. An example is when the shop assistant makes out that they cannot understand what you're asking for when you know damn well they do.

garlicbaguette Mon 12-Nov-12 17:28:27

<deep breath>

I said it was slightly racist, albeit well-meant. I still feel it is. If you meet a white woman named Jane Smith, who fails to respond to your greeting, it is unlikely you'll assume the reason is a lack of English. You might wonder if she's shy, perhaps hearing- or speech-impaired, or simply ill-mannered. It's unlikely you would then go "Can you hear me?" - it would be rude to assume a problem. Similarly, it was rude to assume a problem when OP failed to respond and, also, racist to assume the problem was lack of English.

I bet I still haven't explained it well ... <gives up> <exhales>

Londonandwhere, can you explain what makes you feel so uncomfortable about your husband's relationship with his mother?

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 17:07:45

Or even merci. Sorry.

ihavenofuckingclue Mon 12-Nov-12 17:07:00

mwrci the op has had lots of counselling.

mercibucket Mon 12-Nov-12 16:51:07

Have you ever spoken to your GP about some of your feelings, op? You sound quite tense

Not everyone gets along with their MIL. It's family and sometimes you just need to forgive and forget.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 12-Nov-12 16:47:30

those saying "why didn't MIL ask the DH before she met OP whether she spoke english or not".

well maybe she did and he said yes she speaks english, but as OP has said, she answered hello nervously so maybe that made MIL doubt whether she had made a mistake in understanding that she spoke english. it's hardly unimaginable. i could easily see this happening and the MIL is hardly going to turn to the DH infront of OP after just meeting her and say "i thought you said she spoke english". far better to ask the person themselves.

I do have to say londonandwhere writes better English than some on my fb friends list. And scarily her friends all write on her wall in exactly the same way.

squeakytoy Mon 12-Nov-12 16:33:25

londonandwhere, you are the one with very odd ideas and strange issues, your husbands mother sounds perfectly normal, and you sound utterly unhinged and from a different planet, never mind a different country... confused

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 12-Nov-12 16:33:07

Is that a racist comment Fakebook? Unkind certainly. racist? Hardly.

I think it a little unfair to point out OP's errors as she has already said that English is not her first language. She asked for input and got roundly told that she was probably incorrect re her MIL being racist.

English is a much easier language to learn to speak than it is to read and write because so many words sound the same and are used in different contexts (there,their,they're), are spelt the same but said differently (row) and so on. So give OP a break on that front.

If your MIL was racist I'm sure she would make alot more comments by now. Her question was valid.

I met a flemish colleagues wife years ago, I said 'Hi, pleased to meet you, I've heard so much about you' she replied in with a very nervous and unsure 'Hello' so I too asked if she spoke english. She didn't, we got over the language barrier and she's now a close friend that I'm sure doesn't think I'm racist.

mirry2 Mon 12-Nov-12 16:28:22

Fakebook. It's not racist although it's a bit rude - although true.

Fakebook Mon 12-Nov-12 16:21:49

Hmmm I wonder how good your English was 8 years ago as right now it ain't perfick.

Well that's a racist comment if ever I saw one.

If you don't speak to your MIL then how can she be impolite to you? OP you sound like you have real issues than need sorting out. This festering hatred could destroy you and your relationship with your DH.

No I don't think your MIL was being racist if she spoke to you and you didn't reply. Its reasonable to assume that if a non-native English speaker is not answering your direct questions possibly they are struggling with the language. My DH is not a native English speaker and I wouldn't regards someone questioning his language skills, if he wasn't answering direct questions, as racist.

londonandwhere Mon 12-Nov-12 16:09:02

Sorry I could not answer why I hate my mil so much because there were so many stories to tell. Those happended from her ignorance, careless and impoliteness. I dont take it seiously anymore after seeing my counsellors. I have been quite in my mind until recently. Then this came up and I think I can sort this out. I'm not telling my husband she is a racist referring to public opinions here. I really appriciate your precious comments.

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