“Is My Boyfriend Racist?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss a racist boyfriend, dating a roommate, and dealing with an over-texter.

I have been dating this guy for six months now and until yesterday everything was great. He had asked me to go to a rugby match with him and I had said yes. When we were sitting in the stands, a small group of black people were climbing the stands to find seats. He turned to me and said they were scum, and I then asked him if he knew them (not thinking that his remark had anything to do with the color of their skin) and he said no. I then asked if it had anything to do with maybe the way they were dressed (not that I could see anything wrong) and he replied no again. I left it at that and didn’t ask anything else. Do you think I’m jumping to conclusions? Could he be racist? He’s never done anything like that before, so I don’t really know what to do. Do you think I should talk to him about it? I’ve always grown up in a very liberal home, so I don’t really know what to make of it. It’s really eating at me so I hope you can help. — Grossed out by Racists

Perhaps he saw them punch a kid in the face or trip a pregnant lady just before they sat down, but since you didn’t bother to ask if there was a legit reason for his remark, you’re left to assume he’s racist. For the love on God, tell him his remark and your assumption of what it says about him is eating you up. Give him a chance to explain himself, and, if you’re not convinced he isn’t a bigot, MOA.

I am 19 years old and about to enter my sophomore year in college. I am moving with two guys and one girl into a house, and we already signed the lease. The problem is that I started dating one of the guy roommates after we agreed to live together. I know it was probably a bad idea to get involved with him in the first place, but we both liked each other so much and it felt so right. We have been dating for about two months now, and it’s going really great. But I am worried about living with him already, even though we didn’t plan it to be like this. The lease lasts one year, and that’s a long time for a couple who just started dating… Advice? — Sophomore Slump

Either you or your new boyfriend should find a new place to live and a new roommate to take over the empty spot in the apartment. If you decide to live together, the worst that will happen is you could have a horribly awkward breakup, decide to move out, break your lease, forfeit your deposit, probably piss off your other roommates, and potentially get stuck paying your portion of the rent and having a difficult time finding a new place to move into in the middle of the school year. Personally, it seems a lot less of a hassle to just find a new place to live now and avoid any potential drama.

I’m dating a great guy who has all the characteristics I look for in a partner. We’ve only been together a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to just enjoy myself and let things evolve over time. My question is: what should I do about the little things that annoy me? For example, he texts me every single day. I am not overly busy, but I still just feel overwhelmed texting him all day long. I have no problem bringing this up on our next date, but I am unsure if I should keep investing time in what I think could be a great, long lasting relationship, or do these early annoyances mean I should MOA? — Anti-Texts

If you’re seriously thinking about moving on already after only two weeks from a guy who has “all the characteristics you look for in a partner” simply because he texts too much, then perhaps you really aren’t all that into him. If that’s the case, then yeah, MOA. If not, just tell the guy you aren’t much of a texter and would he mind cutting back on the amount of texts he sends you.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.


  1. artsygirl says:

    LW 1: WWS

    LW2: WWS, but also make sure to communicate with your boyfriend. Make sure he knows that the reason you are uncomfortable with moving in together is because you want to take the relationship seriously and you don’t want to rush it.

    LW3: I would just text back saying something like – “I can’t wait to call you tonight and fill you in on my day”

  2. Oh, I do enjoy Shortcuts!

    Just a note to LW1- if he didnt say anything other than a quick “no” to your 2 queries…no elaboration, no nothing…then I dont get how there is any other conclusion to draw than that he is a racist…Calling ppl “scum” with no elaboration is just weird in general.

  3. LW1- Like Wendy said, I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s a racist. My first thought was maybe those people had a reputation around town as being the “bad kids” or something. In the 6 months you’ve been dating, surely you’ve been around people of other races/nationalities before, right? Has he made any other comments that would indicate he’s a racist? Be observant, and if somethign like that happens again, ask him specifically what it is about those people that makes them “scum”. Then you’ll know for sure.

    1. Right, it might have been the clothes they were wearing. My husband is not a fan of tom hardy shirts and I am not a fan of girls who wear shorts that the pockets are longer than the shorts. it might be that kind of judgement.

      1. lemongrass says:

        I hate those shorts! I always think that if your pockets are showing, your shorts are too short. I don’t care if the pockets are leopard print, it doesn’t make it acceptable.

        Also, I don’t know where I heard this but someone said “feather earrings are the new tramp stamp” and I can’t help but think that every time I see a girl wear them. I also assess her outfit to see if it’s true lol

      2. ele4phant says:

        Um, she did ask about the clothes. He said no. Although maybe his comment stems from some other, similar superficial judgement.

      3. But would you call those people scum? not a fan of is more like those women look trashy at best, scum to me is like a pedophile or someone who hits his kids.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I was under the thinking that trashy=scum.

      5. lemongrass says:

        No, I wouldn’t call them scum. I wasn’t implying that I think he is right. I just personally don’t like those shorts.

      6. I don’t get those shorts either -_- why would you want your pockets to show??? Also, it seems to be something young girls (15-18) tend to wear. I am only 22 but I don’t think a 15 year old should use such short shorts.

  4. Some of these seem very silly….and all have a common theme of being too scared to talk to someone. Good luck y’all….

    1. So many letters could be easily resolved if the LW would just say something.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        That would involve thinking and common sense, which apparently has gone out the window lately. Suddenly, it’s a whole, new generation of shrinking violets who are all 20 going on 11 — or so it seems…

      2. lemongrass says:

        co-mun-i-ca… nope can’t do it.

      3. ele4phant says:

        To be fair, aren’t twenty year olds always more insecure and afraid to speak their minds? Like, if we could roll back the clock to when today’s forty year olds were twenty, I bet they were behaving similarly.

        Which is to say, I agree with your assessment about a lot of kids today. However, I think how they’re behaving is natural for their age and there’s every reason to think most of them will grow out of it.

      4. lemongrass says:

        I agree with you except for using the word “always.” Not every twenty year old is immature, the same with not every forty year old is mature. Let’s not make sweeping statements here.

      5. ele4phant says:

        No, you’re absolutely right. Not all twenty year olds are insecure. Not all forty year olds are mature.

        But I do think a large number of people gain confidence as they age, regardless of their starting point. So, rather than say Generation Y is so insecure (which in and of itself is a generalization too), its a lot of young people are insecure. And chances are, many of them will get over it, given time and experience.

      6. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        It seems to me a much higher percentage lately. When I was 20 our problem was we were TOO outspoken and prone to simply telling everybody to fuck off…

      7. ele4phant says:

        Eh maybe, I wasn’t there.

        Still though, people (well not all, but most) generally mature as they get older. So whether that’s learning to speak up for yourself, or learning when to hold your peace, it can be assumed people will eventually get past it. So, rather than despair at whatever today’s current crop of twenty-somethings problem is, know that after life kicks them around a bit, they’ll mature beyond it.

      8. Like one of my professors was fond of saying “Common sense is the least common of the senses”.

      9. Well he is right. It’s anything but common. Most ppl seem to lack it.

    2. budj, Im with you. A lot of letters all I can think is, “Why arent you asking more questions?” It often just seems like (chicks mostly) woudl prefer to pretend all is well, and not see CLEAR indicators that their bf is an *sshole/irresponsible/immature/not putting forthe the effort/what-have-you.

      What’s the Wendy-ism about being in a relationship just to have someone is worse than being alone, something something?

      1. Better alone than in bad company?

    3. Yeah, I can see how #2 or #3 might be awkward to bring up– but the first letter? After not getting anywhere with her delicate questions, she should have just asked “Is it because of the color of their skin?” or something. That kind of shit needs to be confronted head-on.

      1. Even a “Why do you think they´re scum?” might have done the trick.

      2. True, his reaction to an open-ended question like that would be telling

      3. See, I think all three are easy.

        “Why are they scum?”

        “BF, I don’t want to live with you this quickly since we are dating now – one of us needs to find a new place”

        “Dude, I like you, but I don’t like texting all day long…back the truck up.”

        If situation number 3’s boy toy would get all emo about that then he is a whiny baby and she is better off. I like texting people, but I don’t like texting people that I know don’t like to be texted – I for one would appreciate the knowledge.

  5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    When I first read the title I thought it asked if the boyfriend was a rapist, no racist, and I thought dear god no more of that!

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Well if that was the case it would have been easy – yes, yes he is. 🙂

      1. If you have to ask the answer is probably yes is a good rule for most yes/no Dear Wendys, I’ve found.

  6. Yeah, #1…since you didn’t ask directly as soon as this happened, you’ll have to find another way to bring it up. Maybe there’s another explanation..?

    #2 I think you should just talk to him– bring up any concerns you might have (“Hey boyfriend, are you worried that we’re living together too soon?”) to start a discussion. And same goes for the third letter…& I actually like the suggestion somebody made above, to just send him a “call you when I’m done with____!” kind of text as a hint.

  7. lets_be_honest says:

    These are always stupid, but usually funny too. These were kinda just stupid. Maybe that prediction that no one in the future will ever be able to actually talk to each other thanks to technology is really coming true.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Also, I missed a thread about making DW coffee mugs? Where do we order!?!

      Also, also, you know how you’re supposed to write advice for the bride at showers on an index card or whatever. Mine last weekend was “Read DearWendy.com” 🙂

      1. Maybe we should all just get that printed on little bits of paper and hand them out on the street. 🙂

      2. That’s awesome. The advice at the bridal shower. Well done lbh.

        By the way, my first job out of college was at a company called LBFH. Everytime I shorten your name, I think of it. Sorry, random side note.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        lets be fuckin’ honest? I like!

      4. Perfect.

    2. It’s the fear of rocking the boat too much and that changing the status quo will end the relationship that causes most people to hold shit in which then blows up their relationship later anyways. Self-fulfilling prophecies.

      1. True. They can fix it by learning to communicate though.

  8. LW1: Sales 101 – never ask closed ended questions that can only be answered with a “yes” or “no.” You learn nothing from your client and are left only to assume. When you assume, you make an “ass” of “ume,” which I’m fairly certain is the objective pronoun of “you,” or something like that.

  9. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    LW 2 – I say go for it, but have a solid back up plan. Like make sure you personally have enough money to cover a couple months rent plus a new rent in case you need to move out, get a new place, and find someone to take over your room. This should only take a few months time. I mean either way now or later since you’ve signed the lease you will be finding a new roommate – so what have you got to lose? Since you know the risks of an epic break up going into it – should that happen try to be mature about it.

    Oh, and try not to annoy the shit out of your other two roommates if you do end up going along with the original home. Try to be roommates first and bf/gf second. At least around them. I can imagine being annoyed if I thought this was going to be a super fun house and then two of the people are making romantic dinners every night, having loud sex, and getting pissed when us single people have people over. Not saying that would happen, but just try to be extra respectful, they might already have their guards up.

    1. Yes to your 2nd paragraph.

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      your 2nd paragraph is why I would never live with a couple, or have a couple live with me. It would just be so awkward. It’s awkward enough when you are part of a couple and you have a roomate, or vice versa.

      1. One of my roommates is moving out to move in with his girlfriend and could not for the life of him understand why another friend didn’t also want to move in and be their third roommate… Who wants to be a third wheel in their own home?!?

      2. Flanagan.er says:

        I’m actually really surprised you said that. I live with one of my coworkers and his girlfriend, who I’d met a few times before at parties and stuff, and it’s never been weird at all. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I’m the third wheel, and now I’m worried they’re annoyed at me when I’m in the living room with them.

      3. ele4phant says:

        I think your experience goes to show that it’s possible to make it work, so the LW shouldn’t immediately assume she’s going to alienate the two other roommates.

        However, if this is something she goes through with, she should take care to take their feelings into account and be mindful of how she and the BF behave in common areas, as it can go the other way too. And when it does, its the worst.

      4. Yeah, I kinda feel bad for all the boyfriend drama my roommates senior year of college had to deal with. Though, to be fair, that house just had a lot of drama all around!

    3. ele4phant says:

      Very much agree with your second paragraph. Please LW, consider not only your ability to make it work with your BF, but your ability to be considerate and respectful of your other roommates.

      I’ve lived with a couple (not by choice, my roommate just sort of moved her in – but that’s another issue for another day) and it suuuccked.

      Nothing like trying to study in the living room only to have them come home, pop in a movie, and start a cuddlefest. It made me feeling like I was intruding in their space. And as they were ALWAYS being affectionate or lovey dovey, it didn’t take long to feel like I was completely unwelcome in my own home.

  10. sarolabelle says:

    my first question to someone who said what LW1 boyfriend said is “why do you think that?” not, “is it because….”

    LW3 – my current fiance texted me every day after 2 weeks of me knowing him. He was even in the hospital for a week of those two weeks and there we were texting away. I LOVED IT! It was so exciting to receive a text from him. To know that he was thinking about me and smiling when he was sick. Enjoy the texting!

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Yea, its kind of weird there’s no early love bird-ish stuff.

    2. I agree! That’s the cute part of dating in the beginning! (At least I think so..) Not the OH MAH GAWD he’s bombarding me with texts, will his thumbs never tire?! But the, aw, he wants to talk so he texts me and actually replies within 30 minutes! When I first started talking to my now boyfriend, I loved that we texted everyday, and with actual meaningful convo, because to me, it showed that he was interested. Before, I would dread texting guys, because it would be a) not interesting b) take forever to get a reply c) I don’t think I was actually interested in the guy..
      Either way, enjoy it (if you so choose)! Because eventually, the texting frequency sort of declines as time goes by.

    3. Phew, I thought I was the only one that liked receinvg texts from my bf. He used to text me A lot more at the begginig. Now after 4 yrs he doesn’t text me as much 🙁

  11. I’m not sure LW3 is as into this guy as she would like to think she is. Early love is chemically very similar to OCD, which often means people embrace behaviors they normally wouldn’t in order to maintain the connection with the SO. The fact that this is bugging her so soon makes me wonder if she really likes him that much. (Constant all day texting would drive me nuts, too. But early in my relationship with my fiance, every text he sent was like “OMG the best thing ever” just because of the ridiculous early love glow.)

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      My SO said he realized he liked me more than a FWB when he caught himself smiling like a weirdo every time he got a text from me. I assumed every “fresh” couple enjoyed those kind of things.

  12. LW1: Err.. somehow I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and say maybe he’s not racist.. But from what it seems, he just might be. Why not just ask up front, “Why do you think they’re scum?” and have your problem solved?
    Funny story!
    Once, I went out with a guy that I thought he surely couldn’t be racist, because he asked me–a biracial girl–on a date. (Oh, naivety.) Well, towards the end of the date, a group of black people walked by. They were just walking. They weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Just talkin’ to each other and going their merry way. When suddenly, the guy got this disgusted look on his face and said, “God, that’s awful.”
    I was shocked. I think I may have taken a similar approach, by asking “Was it because of X?” When I finally figured out that X=black. He eventually admitted that he was perplexed that they were “let in” the nice part of town. WOAH. BUDDY. I was like, wait, don’t you know I’M half black?! His answer? “No, no, you’re different. You’re not like other black people.. You sort of act, whiter..I guess. Plus, you’ve got some Asian in you, that’s pretty exotic.”

    Needless to say, I did not talk to him again. And if I hadn’t been so hurt and shocked, I would’ve poured my drink all over his fancy sweater vest. (Who the heck wears a sweater vest in college? You ain’t Carl Sagan!)

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      High five for the Carl Sagan shoutout!

      1. Love that guy! Carl Sagan? More like Carl Swagan!

        (yeah.. I’ve been saving that one for a while..)

      2. Carl Sagan!! 🙂

    2. OH MY GOD.
      Seriously, what is wrong with people?! It’s bad enough that he’s racist, but then he said that stuff about you being exotic, thinking that would make it ok. Gross.

      At least you found out early on that he sucked.

      1. Yeah buttoned, your story made me throw up in my mouth a little. That guy is a despicable ass.

      2. Yeahhh I’m glad too! If I kept dating that awful guy, I’d never find my current boyfriend. Who, I am proud to say, is not prejudiced! He’s studying to become an anthropologist, and appreciates many cultures. I learn a lot from him!

    3. GatorGirl says:

      I, unfortunately, have some family members who are pretty racist. My cousin is dating a girl with a mixed backrgound. I’m not 100% sure what her ethnic make-up is, but my uncle has stated she is part African-American. Anyways, my aunt refers to her Hawaiian even though it is very far from the truth.

      Needless to say I don’t hang out with that side of the family very often.

      1. My entire immediate family is pretty racist. Every time I go visit them, they want to spout all kinds of Tea Partyisms, offensive racial slurs and “jokes” and have political/religious discussions that just make any free-thinking person want to rip their fucking hair out and scream. So needless to say I don’t go visit them often. When they make racial jokes or use the n-word, I straight up tell them I find it offensive and I don’t think they should talk about others that way. After all, their God wants them to love everyone, right?

        If I were LW1, I would definitely ask about that comment. If it does turn out that he’s an ignorant racist, I would dump his ass immediately.

        It just so happens that my cute coworker I’ve been crushing on a little is black, and he is one fine piece of man. I seriously wonder what would happen if I did end up dating him and the time came to introduce him to my parents.

      2. true story- my sister was dating a mexican and my father openly told her if she ever married him or got pregnant with his baby, she was out of the will.

        another true story- i kind of dated a black guy for a few months one summer. i introduced him to my mom, and after he left, she told me “you know you cant ever get serious with him, right? your father would kill you”.

        its a sad world we live in.

      3. I have a feeling I would get the same reaction. My parents aren’t confrontational with strangers, so they would be nice to his face but later on in private they would ask me why I’m dating a no-good n-word and tell me I’m about to pollute their gene pool. And then I would hear about how my ex was so much better because at least he’s white.

      4. Goodness, I get so many people trying to play the race guessing game with me. “are you Hawaiian? Mexican? Chinese? Carribean?” really. Does it really matter what I am? Sometimes that’ll be the the first thing they ask. Sigh.

        Also, racist fams can be quite the doozy. Both halfs of my non-immediate sides are just nasty to each other, and us, and it’s pretty sad. We just keep to ourselves now, and stay in our family bubble.

      5. honestly, i hope that asking about ones heritage isnt always seen as racist… i love learning about people, about where they come from or what heritage they have, and then ultimately what kind of food they like… i ask people all the time. i would hate to be thought of as racist for that. does it make any difference that i ask everyone new that i meet?

      6. To be honest as a mixed-race person I would be pretty put off by asking about where am from (um the US) and what type of food I like (all kinda of food?). I get the curiosity but no one person knows that you’re asking everyone that question and I get asked it all the time and its definitely a trigger-ish question for some under the surface rigamarole (at times, not saying thats at all what you’re doing)

      7. Also phrasing is really important, there are appropriate ways to ask these questions.

      8. Savannah, can I just say I feel like your#1 Fan right now. The way you make certain points factually, not emotionally, not anecdotally but logically and thoroughly, I’m super impressed 🙂

      9. Thanks Lili!!

      10. well the food thing comes into play for me because i love food. i have definitely met people from like india who dont actual cook indian food, you know? its not like oh your from india can you teach me how to cook indian food because your an expert- but its more like learning about a person in general, but for me everything in my life revolves around food so the conversation always goes there…

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I think its pretty oversensitive to be annoyed that someone would ask what your nationality is as though that’s racist. Go ahead, yell at me now.

      12. mm, not gonna yell. I think its just assumptions made over and over are tiring. Esp. in the US where anyone can look like anyway and be an american.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        Well if they’re American, they’re American. Its the heritage people ask about.

      14. Right, but its who gets asked that question that is the issue.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        Well I doubt anyone would think I’m anything other than from an Irish heritage because I’m pale, blue eyed and COVERED in freckles, but I wouldn’t be offended if someone asked. Actually, my sister has no freckles and pretty blonde hair and people ask her. People ask italians, swedes, asians, etc. I just don’t see how curiousity is offensive. But then again, I didn’t think being cautious was offensive either.

      16. yeah ok.

      17. When I lived in Asia, I would actually get offended that people *would* assume, instead of being curious and asking. Many people thought I was not American because I wasn’t what they expected. I would much rather have people ask. People in the US ask me where I’m from based on a very slight accent, and I get wrong assumptions all the time about that, so again I personally feel it’s better to be asked, even if it gets annoying.

      18. Someone actually said to me . . .”so, you must be german?” . . . recently. Yes, that’s my heritage. 99% actually. What tipped you off? Tall and thin with blonde hair and blue eyes? I have another friend that gets asked all the time if she’s Italian. Or jewish. Her heritage is part italian. She has a bigger nose, olive skin and dark brown hair. And completely Catholic. Not jewish. But I think it’s often the nose.

        I like to think of it as a conversation piece. I honestly don’t think people are trying to be inconsiderate. I view it more a friendly talking points.

      19. Well ok, but I get just as much enjoyment about learning that someone’s German grandmother makes the best stollen for Christmas time as I would from a Sudanese guy telling me about what traditional African food really is… It’s not like only non-white people are singled out. Everyone has a heritage. And it’s also not like I say, nice to meet you. What heritage are you? Because that’s just awkward. I mean like in the course of getting to know someone…

      20. Since everyone from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego is “american” it´s not really a bad question. 😉
        I feel like BGM, starting discussions is fun!

      21. lets_be_honest says:

        Ah! Good call JK. We’re both American, I never think of it like that./

      22. Technically I´m NZer, but yeah. 🙂

      23. Jk, are you an “ex-pat” new zealander? Is that the right word? I’m just recently learning what that means lol

      24. @katie I guess so 🙂 I´m also considered “Native argentinian by choice”,so I´m never quite too sure.

      25. Haha thats ok, jk. You can claim both that’s totally allowed

      26. Thanks! Anything I´ll just say but katie said I could!

      27. I don’t think it’s racist – It’s not rude to eventually ask about a persons background but when it’s the first question out of your mouth it’s kind of off-putting. Like savannah said there’s definitely ways to phrase your question without making anyone uncomfortable. The whole “No, where are you REALLY from” conversation does happen a LOT unfortunately and it can be hard for someone who doesn’t experience that to understand why it can be a sensitive subject.

        As for letter writer #1, if you’ve been dating this guy for 6 months it shouldn’t be a big deal to just ask him to clarify his meaning. I get the feeling you already know what he’s going to say and you don’t want to hear it – but it’s better to know now then to get any more invested if this is a MOA situation for you.

      28. Eh, its not up to you to decide or legitimize what people get to be sensitive about though, right? So, if some people wanna get upset by that question, let em. They have as much right to their emotions as anyone else 🙂

      29. lets_be_honest says:

        I wasn’t saying its up to me to decide. I said I think it’s oversensitive. And just like you said people have a right to be oversensitive, I have a right to share my opinion too.

        Why all the spinning and assumptions in DW lately? Growing tired of it. I don’t mean that as an insult to you Lili. Just an observation I guess after yesterday and this.

      30. I think these discussions are hard on both sides/multiple sides because there is a lot of existing discourse out there that is available and accessible to a lot of people but that doesn’t mean everyone is as involved with the rhetoric or discourses as others. This is especially so when it comes to race and sexual violence issues and this is where I think a lot of the issues arise. There are a number of preexisting theories and schools of thought on these issues and its hard to discuss in this type of forum when peoples backgrounds are unknown. Everyones experiences with these issues is personal and some are academic as well and it colors our thoughts and reactions. Perhaps that is where the ‘spinning and assumptions’ you feel are being made are coming from.

      31. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess what’s annoying to me is when someone says something that’s so clear and yet another person will interpret, twist, pc attack, assume things that just aren’t there.
        Like me saying I think it’s sensitive. I wasn’t also saying ‘and therefore no one is ever allowed to feel sensitive bc what I say goes.’ You know? I said sentence finishers yesterday which I thought was a good way of putting it.

      32. “that’s so clear and yet another person will interpret, twist, pc attack, assume things that just aren’t there.”
        But this is exactly what I am talking about. Two people seeing the same sentence and reading different things into it based on whatever. Language is to be interpenetrated and no one ever should utter a sentence thinking everyone in the room will take it exaclty as they do. Layer a level of monotone text form onto this and things get complicated. Layer a formal education about these issues- people who see/read trigger words, ideas and phrases and it gets even less ‘clear’.

      33. interpenetrated? Did anyone know this was a word?

      34. @Savannah I was really impressed with how academic it sounded, you coulda rolled with it 😉

        @LBH–Savannah and Cats are hitting the point about assumptions and sentence finishers WAY better than I ever could, so yeah. I wasn’t trying to bait you or put words in your mouth. Just offering a live and let live type cliche comment.

      35. “I think these discussions are hard on both sides/multiple sides because there is a lot of existing discourse out there that is available and accessible to a lot of people but that doesn’t mean everyone is as involved with the rhetoric or discourses as others” THIS. This is a good summary of the entire issue on the thread yesterday, as well as what’s starting to go on today.

      36. Well, if you want to split hairs, calling someone’s reaction “oversensitive” does imply that there is a “right” level of sensitivity, or a “right” way that they should react. Just because you wouldn’t take offense to something, doesn’t mean that someone else won’t or shouldn’t. And when someone offers a personal opinion on something as touchy as race, especially if their opinion is based on their personal experience, you might want to listen. It’s not a personal attack on you. It’s not “spinning and assumptions.” It’s other people voicing their opinons, like you said you have the right to do.

      37. Lili, I feel like one day you’ll end up being a patron saint, lol. You just so nice!

      38. Aww! Thanks Buttonned. How are you btw? Going to check out your link now and hope to be FB friends and email buddies!!!

      39. I’m doing good!! Thanks for asking ^_^ how are you doing? I’d love to be FB friends/email with you! Although, I’m not sure if I actually have any info in my profile link.. If I do, please add me! If not, I’ll look for you!

      40. I sent you a question with my email address 🙂

      41. brendapie says:

        It’s annoying when people ask that of you right off the bat. I understand that there are people that ask out of curiosity over my background but I feel as though they are trying to classify me or figure me out. Of course that’s why they ask but when you’re a minority, it can come across as offensive.

        I have seen people’s faces literally change in front of my eyes when I tell them where I am from. I have always been touchy about it because many people don’t believe I have a Mexican heritage. I feel stuck not being “Mexican enough” to fit in with others of a similar background and not being “White enough” to be considered an American.

        I think people’s ethnic backgrounds come out naturally in the course of getting to know someone. But asking someone you just met, yeah I would be uncomfortable with the question.

      42. BriarRose says:

        I have to say I agree. When I was married and had an asian last name, people would look at my brown hair and blue eyes and immediately start in on the questions. It was just curiousity, not racism. What was offensive was when my husband and I were in line at the grocery store with our daughter, and the lady behind us asked if he was her “real father” since he’s 1/2 Japanese and she looks as white as I do.

      43. A cousin of mine (Indian) is married to a White guy, their daughter looks more like him than her so she’s always asked if she’s the nanny at all the NYC playgrounds she takes her to…

      44. One of my friends has 2 kids that look just like her, but the girl has green eyes and really white skin, the boy has dark eyes and a darker skin tone (like my friend). Once she was out shopping with the girl, and the cashier asked her if she was babysitting that day.

      45. Ha! Like kids HAVE to look like the parent…Yeah I’m not a mother, but I wonder how it feels to get asked if your own kid is your own just based on looks? Maybe its NBD, but when my cousin was relating the story to me, she seemed upset by it. How’d your friend feel?

      46. i watched a show about albinism and they profiled a black family with two brothers, one albino and one not. the dad said that he was actually stopped in a toy store once and the security or whoever stopped him thought that he was kidnapping the “white” kid.

        super sad.

        i dont think its a bad thing to comment that the kid doesnt look exactly like the parents, i mean people talk about it because genetics is a real thing, but i think to actually ask if you are the nanny is wrong. it is always much better to just ask if thats your little one. that covers all the bases, because then if you are the older sister, you say oh no its my little brother, and if your the mom, you get to say oh yes he is with all the pride you should have, you know?

      47. She laughed about it (she´s pretty much the only darker skinned person in her family, most ofher relatives are really blond and pale, so she´s used to stupid comments like that).

        Come to think of it I get comments like that as well, I look nothing like my mother- who has darkish skin, black hair and brown eyes, who looked nothing like her mother (german). I don´t know if she was ever upset about it though.

      48. @katie I think it´s just one of those things that better safe than sorry- like assuming a woman is pregnant, or that an older person is a kid´s grandparent.

      49. Also the kid could always be adopted and not know. And that would be awkward.

      50. actually, now that i think about it, i had a friend in college who asked me if i knew for a fact i wasnt adopted… but i didnt get offended by it.. i was telling him how when we were trying to get my passport, an agent actually accused my mom of switching babies at birth with someone from another country… i guess that was the only reason a person wouldnt have birth papers in his mind.. my dad wrote this huge letter about it and everyone got really mad. so i told my friend, who used to be a mortican so he had some experience with facial structure from putting people back together after accidents, and he looked at my parents, who i apparently dont look like, and honestly asked me if i knew for sure… it was pretty funny.

      51. JK- exactly. there is a way to find out about things without looking like an ass. a little manipulative? maybe.. but it’ll get you the information you need/want.

      52. @JK, oh GOD–the pregnant thing. I get upset if i’m ever asked that, but well it does send me to the gym for a few workouts so I guess thats the productive thing in that comment. But yeah, I normally wait for the woman to mention it, and I stand for people who ‘appear’ to be pregnant on the bus. If they’re not, they can just not take the seat right, nothing wrong in offering a seat to someone…

      53. Moneypenny says:

        Definitely… As if these people are all experts in genes or something… Sounds more like they’re busybodies. Another example- myself: I was a total towheaded kid (white-blonde hair, blue eyes) while my mom has dark wavy hair, hazel eyes, more Mediterranean features. My sister has her coloring (brown hair, green eyes) while I take after my dad (blonde, gray eyes). I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything to my mom, but my sister and I got confused for being friends, cousins, etc. all the time. Especially because we are 7 years apart (she’s older). We would go to the mall or something, and she would be college age, hanging out with middle-school/early high school age me. Since we don’t look alike at all, people thought it was weird that such an older person would be hanging out with this kid. Nowadays people think we are just friends, and we say, well, I guess you could say that…!

      54. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Lili – An attorney I used to work with was Mexican, but she was born in the U.S. Every time I was in court with her the clerk’s would ask if she was the interpreter. She was so feisty and awesome and always had the funniest responses that would stop them dead in their tracks.

        “Assumptions make an ass out of u and me” 🙂 I’m not really one to talk because I put my foot in my mouth all the time, but I always thought she handled it in the most hilarious way.

      55. Humor goes a long way 😀 Like…this is prolly not relevant but my kick ass ‘family recipe’ for butter chicken, is actually from a recipe printed in the LA Times food section. But no one’s ever doubted it since I have Indian grandparents…teehee. Now you all know. Darn it!

      56. When the subject comes up around friends/friendly acquaintances of how different to my mum I look (my brother and sister look more similar to her) she usually talks about a european couple that sold me to her. 😀

      57. LOL! Personally, I don’t think I’d ever ask though at all what a child’s relation is to someone. Just because here there are tons of ways people become family and I personally think drawing attention to how a family looks alike isn’t that relevant in establishing anything. Like..I wouldn’t go around asking a gay couple ‘where’ their kid came from either. BUT this is a Seattle Caveat since we do have so many blended families. I took a friends nephew to the playground the other day and can’t explain the joy I felt in watching all the kids with two dads there.

      58. lili, thats why i love to ask, is that your little one?

        because you can simply say yes, you can say oh, no, he is actually my friends little one, and you can ALSO reply with yes, this is my little cousin!

        like, i dont feel like that question could be answered in a weird or awkward way, so i feel good asking it.

      59. But why do you need to know?

      60. To learn about people I come across… As a good conversation starter… Because its awkward to stand next to someone and not talk (I think)…

        I dunno. No real reason. But I talk to basically everyone I come in contact with… People in line with me, cashiers, my co workers. Seriously, I talk a lot and usually people love talking about themselves and bragging about kiddos (theirs or not) an so that’s an awesome way to start a conversation. I’ve had some really cool conversations with strangers started with an offhand comment like oh he is so cute (meaning a kid) or wow I really like your shirt or whatever

      61. @Katie, I think people love it when you show an interest in them and their kid 🙂 And i’m a chatter too! Most people who aren’t in the service industry (like cashiers or barristas etc) just nod at me though, so i save chit chat for people who offer it as part of customer service. We have something here called the ‘Seattle Freeze’ which seems to discourage stranger chit chat, its kinda sad for a person from the much more friendly Southwest!

      62. Moneypenny says:

        Hmm, please share this recipe for butter chicken. Sounds delish!

      63. @Moneypenny–SENT 😀

      64. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Lili, I feel like I’m still living in the 50’s sometimes, here in southern AZ. I still have never actually seen a gay male couple out with their child. NEVER. I am so glad that I get on this site so that I know how to behave when I do come across new “forms” of family, and which questions will seem stupid, offensive, or nice. Thank you, everyone.

      65. lili, i will totally talk for like an extra five minutes with my cashier, even if im in a hurry, if they are cool enough. lol… but i guess from how many “likes” the snotty “why do you need to know” got, a lot of people take offense to that.. oh well. lol

      66. @Sweets–No prob! Ha I know what you mean about Southern AZ. Oh and nothing wrong in expressing interest in the child and commenting on how cute/adorable they are. If the couple feels like sharing, one may say he’s got my eyes or something, thats letting you know a little bit and maybe leave it at that. Of course, here its not polite to ever ask HOW a kid came to be to a gay couple you don’t really know, I mean I think I read somewhere that to some its the equivalent of asking a straight couple if their kid came through in vitro or ‘the old fashioned way’

      67. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Yeah, I can understand that. Most people here still don’t know how to react, though. For example, an obviously lesbian couple who were past middle age came in, and my boss whispered under his breath to me, “Something seems… strange… about them. I don’t think they have husbands”. Like, seriously? But that’s a typical response around here for anyone past their 20’s. Most college kids are pretty open minded, but we don’t have a lot of “exposure” to gay pride here. Our Pride Parade is miserably small in comparison to how large our city is. The only gay person I know is my hairdresser, and my social circle is pretty wide. DW is basically my only source of practical information on gay parents.

      68. The fact that you’re curious and supporting of gay parents says a lot 😀 I know I like to look on the bright side of things, but it gives me hope for So. AZ to know you care so much about not offending them. I know and hope there are more people like you there!!!

      69. sweets, i can honestly think that “not knowing how to react” is kind of normal when you arent used to something, especially if you have been taught your whole life that something is wrong (like being gay). i will admit that sometimes i also dont know how to react, and its because of the conditioning/brain washing i was subjected to as a young kid… but, i am actively trying understand how to react and understand that it is normal.. so i guess i just mean that people like that arent all necessarily homophobic.

      70. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Well, just because they’re different from me doesn’t mean that they deserve anything other than the same treatment I’d provide a heterosexual couple. I know a lot of South AZ religious folk who can’t see past the homosexuality to realize that those people are PEOPLE. They aren’t rocks who won’t feel anything if you kick them… they’re still PEOPLE. And regardless of how a person lives their life, I want to be friendly and nice to them. Even my ex-Baptist future-mother-in-law who is SUPER Christian can still be friendly with and polite to gay people (she’s not really friends with any, but I think that’s because she’s a workaholic with no real time for any friends), so I don’t see why some people even consider hateful behavior an option. I try to address bigots in a polite but firm way when I come across them here, simply stating my opinion and moving along.

      71. Moneypenny says:

        I completely agree wholeheartedly. I live in a city with a very high gay population, and in my head, I get honestly curious about couples and their kids. Of course, it’s none of my business, and I would never presume to ask. It makes me happy to see happy families, period.

        And speaking of Pride, around here it’s not just a parade, it’s called Pride, and it lasts a whole weekend.

      72. exactly sweets! and like lili said, just the fact that you are supportive is really great. and, if you ever come across someone who grew up like me -and it sounds like there are a lot of them where you live- you can really be a great influence and a wonderful voice of reason.

        the best thing that ever happened to me regarding my views on gay people was having a theater class with the most flamboyant, out gay boy at our school.. like, he wore huge pink prom dresses for dress up days. and he was made fun of all the time! and then i got to actually know him, so he wasnt just some talked about almost legend of a person, and i found out that he was just a normal person, and the fact that he was gay (and is now transitioning into becoming a woman!) has absolutely zero to do with him or who he is or how he acts to others, you know? …and now i feel like i should go and turn all those he’s into her’s…. dang it. i get really confused when i talk about him being in high school, because he was a boy back then, but now he is a she. well, you know what im talking about.

      73. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Katie, I have the same confusion about being PC regarding gender transition. I’ve never met someone who has gone through that, though I was acquaintances with a drag queen for one semester of college. When he dressed like a man, I referred to him as a he. When he dressed like a girl, I referred to him as a she. I imagine that simply asking a person – “What would you like me to refer to you as, a he or a she?” is the best way to go, when the answer is ambiguous.

      74. asking is always the best way to go.

        the last time i saw her, i hadn’t seen her for a while- since high school, i think- and i kept referring to her with male pronouns, and after i would say it in my head i would be like OMG THAT IS TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE.. i felt so bad, lol. but, at the end of the night i apologized, and i just explained that i always knew you as a him, so its hard to start saying her, and she totally understood and told me no harm done and everything… she is very understanding, and in a way, that is the best thing that she could be, because then i get to really, fully understand her, where she is coming from, ect- i can really learn how to be, from her, i guess… and if i make a mistake, she is kind enough to correct me, you know? its a good thing all around, and especially for me, as i have never known a transgendered person before or since her.

      75. My granddaughter is likewise 1/4 Japanese, has a Japanese name, and is going to cause some confusion in the schools because she is going to look like my son-in-law’s mother – a cute Italian.

        My wife took our kids to ballet lessons one time, and one woman complimented her on how well her daughters were doing. Wrong kids, sorry. The girls she assumed were my wife’s were adopted by somebody else. It’s a natural assumption to make, no malice was intended and I don’t see any reason to be offended.

      76. No, I dont seem it racist, but as annoying. Just because I get it all the time, it sometimes make me feel like people are only interested in me because of my background. I agree with savannah, phrasing is nice, because if you just ask “what are you?” or “are you even American?” it can come off sorta rude. At least to me.

      77. yeah i didn’t say it was racist either, I said it was tiering and off putting. I would get into a discussion about casual racism and ‘good intentions’ or ‘onus of education on the Other’ but I don’t think its a good time for that.

      78. Nah, I don’t think you’re racist! I honestly don’t think it’s racist to ask, it just can be annoying (to some, like me haha..) when it’s like the first and only thing you ask. Curiosity is wonderful! I’ve been guilty of doing the exact thing that annoys me too to other people, hahaa.
        It’s fun the first few times, when you’re all excited to share about your culture, but then I get people who just are blatantly rude about asking (i.e., what are you, why do you look that way). And while it’s not racist, it’s just annoying.

      79. About 3 years ago I went to the US to work over there during my summer holidays (it was winter over there). My employer seemed to be super nice at the begging and she asked me a lot of questions. I didn’t see anything wrong, and instead of telling her that I didn’t want to discuss my personal life with her, I answered her questions. One was what religion I belonged to. And when I said I didn’t believe in god she said I looked Jewish to her. She eventually learnt I had a black boyfriend and she was shocked that a white girl would date a black person.

        Anywhoo, I ended up getting fired, and somehow managed to find a place to stay ‘for free’ (I worked on the day care without getting paid, but I was fed and had a room to sleep). Turned out that they were pretty racist. The first thing they asked me about my bf was what was he. I didn’t understand what they meant so I answered, he is american. And the girl goes, no, just because he was born in america doesn’t mean he is american. What’s his race?. So I go, well hes mom is white and his dad is black and he also has native american ancestors. So she goes “Oh my god! You are dating a black guy?”

        And the day I left, the girls mom said this: “You are white, you are better than your bf.” They are all from Ecuador and far from being white too, which makes that being white is better comment make even less sense. One time she also said she was afraid of taking the sub cause it was full of black people. WTF

        And they kept claiming that they were not racist. They also had a problem with me because OMG I don’t believe in god, and I have a tattoo on my back.

        (Yes, it was stupid of me to tell them about my personal life, but it never even crossed my mind that they would be SO racist.)

        All this was very shocking to me because I’ve never met anyone here in Argentina to be so blatantly racist. (Of course there are racist ppl here too)

      80. wow… insanity. seriously.

        thats like my friends mom.. she has a mexican boyfriend, and she just had a baby with him.. her mom says, apparently a lot, “i dont have a problem with him, its just that id like to see you with a white guy” and im just like, so you do have a problem with him, then, right?

      81. Avatar photo Will.i.am says:

        That’s the hidden way of saying I’m happy, but I’m not happy. You are basically saying, I’m glad he treats you right, but I won’t love him like I would love a white guy. It’s the polite way of saying you have a slight prejudice of a certain race.

      82. bingo.

        and now my friend is worried her mother isn’t going to love her child as much because she will be half mexican. it is sad all around. and also, her boyfriend is an awesome guy! like he isnt even someone to dislike for really any reason, you know? so its so much worse, because she has literally no character flaw to even try to mask her distaste of his race, making it totally obvious..

      83. I´ve heard of several cases like this, that once a baby is in the picture the bigoted grandparent lightens up. I hope that´s the case for your friend, as well!

      84. i sure hope so.. i imagine having to either hear the little one ask why grandma says daddy is a dirty mexican or hearing from my friend how the fight with her mom ultimately went…

        from what i gathered, these obvious overt racists statements have only started since the pregnancy/baby… which leads me to believe her mom had some shred of “hope” that they would ultimately break up and she wouldnt have to deal with a mexican son in law.. and now that the baby is here, she knows it is much more permanent situation…

      85. Wow. It really is amazing that there are people like this out there. I feel so awful for your friend, her BF and the baby.

      86. Moneypenny says:

        Wow, that’s just nuts. I can’t believe how people can justify this stuff to themselves. Way to set society back 50 years. And more.

      87. Seriously? Just because he was born in america doesn’t mean he’s american??? I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of american…

        Funny story about Ecuador. I have a green eyed, blond haired friend that went to Ecuador to teach english for a year. Right at the end of her trip, a couple she had been friends with while she was there took her out to lunch and asked her for her eggs – not because they couldn’t have kids, but so they could have a white baby with green eyes and blond hair. They were super surprised and apparently a little angry that she wasn’t into it!

      88. wow

  13. LW1, this is a cheeky long shot, but you WERE at a rugby game. Is it possible you misheard and your bf was actually talking about the rugby match and was referring to the scrum? I feel stupid just typing that out, but I think it is so weird to just call a group of people scum without provocation, so I am hoping it was a misunderstanding.

    1. hahaha you read my mind, Sally! You beat me to it because I was trying to think of a joke. And my mind is rebelling against me today, apparently.
      That would lead to the most awkward conversation ever!

    2. I kinda thought the same thing.

    3. I kinda wanna go to a rugby match In Europe right now…

    4. Ha! That is an excellent point. I hope for her sake that’s the case.

  14. For the record, I’m a big fan of curiosity…I find it compelling in a person, engaging in a child, and critical in building a relationship. Curiosity leads to questions, questions lead to answers, answers lead to discussion and understanding — for which I give three cheers!

    The other part about curiosity is that it trumps assumption. Assumption will kill a relationship because when you assume you know what your partner thinks and feels it’s quite easy to make decisions without getting their input…bad idea! Even after 27 years, Mr. J still surprises me when I predict he’ll say one thing and something completely different pops outta his mouth. A good thing for certain and a great reminder that we all deserve the respect of having our opinions requested and our words heard!

    1. “Curiosity leads to questions, questions lead to answers, answers lead to discussion and understanding — for which I give three cheers”


      i actually asked a co-worker of mine what state in africa he was from just as Sudan was splitting.. he is from sudan, and it was amazing to hear what he had to say about the whole thing… a totally different perspective then you would hear anywhere on the news.

  15. SydneyMellow says:

    Can someone please tell me what MOA and LW mean?

    1. brendapie says:

      MOA – Move On Already
      LW – Letter Writer ( I think? )

      I used to think LW meant Little Wendy for some reason haha.

    2. Move On Already and Letter Writer

  16. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

    To the last LW: Don’t text back so quickly. I promise you this will work.

    Everyone has that over-texter in their lives and the only way to squash it is to take a long time to respond. If he asks you about it later, tell him you’re not that big of a texter. DON’T bring it up out of the blue on your date, let him figure it out on his own.

    I actually feel exhausted when I’m texting all day. It sounds stupid, but I’m the kind of person who often leaves my phone in my purse and forgets about it all day.

  17. The last letter was sort of weird to me. Wendy brought up good points. Maybe the LW is new to relationships and dating. I’m not sure why you’d think that a couple of annoying traits in someone THAT awesome are grounds for ending things. Everyone has them. You’re not going to find someone who’s not annoying at all. Plus, texting too much is a problem I’d like to have. Besides telling him to cool it a little, just stop texting back so much. No need to ignore him, but the LW makes it sounds like she actively texts him back all day. If I’m texting with someone for a while, I eventually just wind things down. There’s usually a “Haha” or something that requires no reply.

  18. Dear Grossed out by Racists, I believe that this attitude can represent a racist one. However, I think you should first talk to him about it and ask questions that will make show that your boyfriend is racista. Well, sometimes he might have said that just as a joke, even though it was a very bad joke, and you would be judging him without proof. If you question him and get enough proof that he is racista, you should explain to him what racismo really is, what the consequences are for those who practice it,and what the consequences are for those who suffer from this kind of prejudice. And whenever you go out with him, you should observe his attitudes and any other attitude in a similar way, you should move away from him and/or even report him, because people who practice racismo should be punished to serve as so that other aggressors will not exist.

    1. Dear Grossed out by Racists, I believe that this attitude can represent a racist one. However, I think you should first talk to him about it and ask questions that will make show that your boyfriend is racist. Well, sometimes he might have said that just as a joke, even though it was a very bad joke, and you would be judging him without proof. If you question him and get enough proof that he is racist, you should explain to him what racism really is, what the consequences are for those who practice it,and what the consequences are for those who suffer from this kind of prejudice. And whenever you go out with him, you should watch his attitudes and any other attitude in a similar way, you should move away from him and/or even report him, because people who practice racism should be punished to serve as so that other aggressors will not exist.

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