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Problems with Mum - warning contains recount of racist comment

Community Member

About four weeks ago my Mum anf her new husband came down for a visit, they live about 300km away in a small town and we live in a big city. They took us out to dinner and he kept talking about the troubles in the aboriginal communities in central Australia, referring to aboriginal people as 'blackfellas' and kept saying 'It's your tax dollars'.

The next day we met up again for breakfast with other family and someone was talking about the rule for borrowing the car and said 'It's ok to take the car so long as you don't bring it back empty.' Meaning empty of petrol. And he said 'So it's ok to bring it back full of Blackfellas and Indians then!'

I didn't say anything at the time, but I wish I did.

Later after thay had left I sent a text to my Mum saying that I didnt apreciate the racist things he'd said and she called me back straight away saying that she had no idea that he'd said anything racist. She initially said that I should have said something at the time.

Then she rang back the next day saying that he isn't a racist because he has aboriginal friends, that he'd never say anything racist and that he didn't say "Indians and Blackfellas" bur just "Indians" and that Indians was just a stand in word forpeople. She almost convinced me to apologise and I said that I was sorry if I miss heard. She said that I was judemental and ungrateful.

When I told my partner he said that he heard 'It's ok to bring it back full of Indians and Blackfellas" too. He told me not to let my Mum gasslight me. And also that Mum knows her husband says things that she doesn't approve of and her response is to 'Shush' him. She would never say things like he does.

Mum rang back and when I still sounded like I didn't want to talk to her she asked what was wrong and said she thought that I'd already apologised. I said that even if she didn't think that what he said was racist that at least she could at least say it was a good thing for me to say something when I thought something was racist. I ended up hanging up on her when she kept saying he'd never be racist.

I feel worthless and accidentally missed my appointment with my psychologist. My psychologist scheduled an appointment just after the visit from Mum on purpose but I stuffed up the time. I haven't been able to stop re-running conversations in my head for weeks.

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear 365Emm~

I'd like to welcome you here, it's a friendly place and we go out of our way to make sure people feel respected.

Unfortunately in the outside world that is not always the case. Through ignorance, wanting to feel superior or from cruel nature sadly many denigrate their fellow human beings. Often one can avoid such people , sidestepping the issue. Sometimes the behavior is too gross or circumstances are such that one has to take action.

Don't feel bad about not saying anything right then, I would have felt shock at your mother's partner taking that way, and been basically speechless. You did take action shortly after.

It does come as a shock when a parent selects someone with such obvious faults. A figure that has stood for sanity, security and love suddenly appears in a new diminished light. It's sad she felt the need to defend him and deny his actions. I guess she may feel she has no choice.

All very hard to cope with. It may take time to become settled in your mind, after all this is a big thing.

I'm concerned you feel worthless and missed your appointment. I assume from that you are under treatment for a n illness like anxiety or depression. Can I urge you to make another as soon as possible. From what you said it sounds like you might have been expecting trouble, arranging a consultation for after their visit.

Apart from medical care do you have support on a personal level. Can you talk frankly with your husband or someone else who will understand and want to help?

Maybe future visits can be mum only.

It does take people like you, who object to racist language, to make our society a good place for all to live - so you have my respect, I'm only sorry about the circumstances and cost to you.

Please feel free to talk here as long and as often as you would like


Community Member

Thanks Croix,

I guess I think that I should be able to explain it to her so she would just understand, but I also don't think she wants to understand.

He isn't a horrible person, but he does say racist things. Because he's nice no one ever says anything so he doesn't see a problem with what he said. Which is why it's important I said something and I don'tregret it even after all the pain it's caused me. Because I think he will think twice about what he says and also I will be more prepared to say something in the moment.

My Mum called me judgemental and ungrateful which is just really hurtful. Like she actually rang me up specially to tell me that I was a horrible person.

It's like I know I did the right thing but I can't stop arguing with her in my head. I wish I could just let it go.

I keep thinking maybe I should call and ask her to apologise, but I know she isn't going to. She has it all in her head that he used the word 'Indian' as a stand in for 'people' which is not a thing. I keep thinking maybe if I tell her how upset it's made me then she'd take it back.

It's been weeks and I want my headspace back. I want to stop feeling crap about it. It's wasting my time and draining my energy.

Community Member
Dear 365Emm,

Welcome to Beyond Blue and thank you for coming here and providing your post.

Croix’s response to you was very good and exampled just how some people simply don’t get this world, be it through ignorance, feeling superior, wanting to be cruel or simply being (for lack of a better word) a tool or douchebag.

However, what you did was to stand up for what’s right and your principles and just honest decency and yes, you should be bloody well congratulated for that. I really want you to know that with how you’ve written and how you have treated this situation, you did the right thing and did well. All too often, we hear things, and we’re stumped for words at the time, and it’s only later that we think, “Oh damn, I should have said that”. I guess that’s a human nature trait as well – thinking on the feet is one thing, but to be able to come up with appropriate responses at the time, is another.

Have you been able to arrange a follow-up appointment with your psych? I do hope you’re able to, and to be able to unload there as well.

But in the meantime, please feel free to write back, I hope you can, and to vent as much and as often as you’d like too.

Kind regards,


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear 365Emm~

I've been thinking about this and wonder if what you are feeling is loss, grief. You no longer have the mother you did, but are faced with a person that sides with another, tries to duck a hard issue, even if it means telling a lie, and tries to bluff her daughter into silence.

Mind you she must be in a pretty hard place. She is stuck with him after all, and while you may see the loudmouthed obnoxious side that does not necessarily mean that is all there is to him. In other respects he may be what she needs.You did remark something similar yourself about his qualities.

Even so she really has no business in stifling your view, or assuming you should apologize, it is his fault, it is a fact, and that's it, and she is making matters worse.

I guess it is a sad time. As we get older many of us look at our parents and see smaller people, with more obvious faults, less wise, less capable, and more vulnerable. A hard thing to handle.

I"m not sure she can take it back at the moment even if she wanted to, so I don't know what to think about you ringing her and asking her to apologize. It might just generate more friction.

Really the ball is in her court to make the next move, she may wish to make peace, or may be stuck between a daughter with principles and an unfortunate habit in her partner.

I suppose if I was in your shoes and felt the matter needed to be resolved I would consider writing her a letter and while being firm in stating what he said, and firm in your resolve not to allow it in your presence, you could allow that he has other qualities, then see how she responds.

Either way I hope you are able to think of other things more and more as your life continues and the grief reduces.