How would you handle this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 06-20-2010, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm due in a few weeks so I'm admittedly hormonal and a little sensitive. That being said there was a woman who managed to offend me on both sides of the 'race commentary' line. It's possible I'll interact with her again so I'd love some gentle comments to have on hand and deflect the conversation.

It was at the laundromat right by our house. Our belt broke on the washer and I'm waiting for DH to fix it, so until then...laundromat here I come! Anyways the first attendant there was REALLY nice. He helped me carry baskets in, showed me how to run the machines (they take cards instead of coins now?!?! Clearly it's been a while for me LOL) and checked to see if I had questions etc. We started chatting and he mentioned he's Laotian and has three kids around the age of my 9yo. He asked about my girls and said he didn't want to be rude but are they Asian? I said yes-Korean-and he smiled and went on chatting about girls that age and other normal parenting type 'small chat' topics.

I switched loads to the dryer and ran to the store for hangers. When I got back my friendly attendant guy was gone and a new woman was there. I had dropped 9yo DD off at camp so it was just me and 2yoDD - at naptime - trying to get umpteen loads folded so we can get home. At this point my back was killing me (the dryers are all floor level front load-ouch!) and DD was getting ornery. The woman attendant says to me "Ohhhh your baby is Asian huh? She looks like a little china doll! Heyyyy (to another customer-they knew each other from what I could tell) look at this pretty China baby doll!". I smiled and said thanks-actually my husband's Korean-and the woman said "Well she's just the cutest little China doll." Umm. Ok? A few minutes later she comes by and says "Are all your kids Asian? I have four of them and everyone asks if they're adopted." I said well-that's the funny part-I have two adopted kids but they are Caucasian. She responded with 'oh well mine are ALL Asian". Ummmmmm. Okayyyyyyyyyy. I really didn't get it at that point.

A little bit later she looks over and says "Well you're lucky because your little China baby doll can pass for white-none of my kids can. Do your other kids pass for white?"



I said well, like I said, my two adopted kiddos are blond/blue eyes but everyone else is Korean.

Then she went into a big drawn out story about how someone called the cops on her at Walmart for kidnapping one of her own kids because he was screaming "you're not my mom" and that she's positive it's because they look "so Asian".

And she kept calling DD a China baby doll. While murmuring that she's lucky to look 'so white'.

Here's the thing. I don't freaking care how "Asian" or white my kids look. I was offended though when I said she's Korean and she kept calling her the China doll comment, but then to go on and on and on about how she's LUCKY to look white?

So the washer isn't going to be done before I need to do laundry again. I'll likely see her again. How do I handle it? I don't want to be rude-but the ENTIRE focus of her conversation with me was based on race. I tried the 'you guys must be busy around here' comment but that got nowhere.

To top it off I asked her to help me please carry out the six massive totes of laundry to the car while I hauled two baskets in a cart, one on my hip, and a screaming exhausted toddler, and she refused. Not that she was obligated but daaaang that would've been a HUGE help! Not the end of the world but it did add to my annoyance with her LOL

ETA: The first attendant is her brother in law, his brother is her husband. Just to clarify, not that it matters

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#2 of 4 Old 06-20-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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Well, she clearly lacks social graces. Perhaps she has other issues too, either mental or emotional? What she was saying wasn't even "normal" for offensive comments...it was pretty strange.

I'd ignore her comments to other people about your kids, and keep it short and polite if she's talking to you. Not sure it'd be worth "getting into it" with her. Or you could say it in a rather round about way "You know, some people might find your approach and the way you're saying things really offensive and even hurtful".
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#3 of 4 Old 06-20-2010, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's the thing-she talked gardening with another customer with no problems, and was on a political rant with another one that, while I disagreed with her, wasn't inappropriate. I tried to chime in on the gardening conversation at one point but it brought her attention back to me and DD...awwwkward! I don't think she's got any mental/emotional issues-it was like she wanted to connect based on the similarities of our kids? I should add that while we are in a reasonably diverse area for the midwest-there ar VERY few interracial families and even fewer Asian interracial families. Still.....it was REALLY annoying to have it be the ONLY thing she'd talk (to me) about!

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#4 of 4 Old 06-20-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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Assuming that's the only laundromat around and you can't just not do business with them:
Call to find out what hours the awesome guy is working and go then?

Ask your dd to put things into the dryers and pull them out for you? Toddlers love transferring activities.

Time it so you can pick up your older dd before you have take stuff home?

Don't fold there because it's not actually more convenient with a toddler.


If it's only going to be one more round of laundry before your washer/dryer's working, is there any place in town that does laundry pick up?

( Funnily enough, I was just thinking that since moving away from a college town, I hardly ever see Asian people any more. Where I grew up, there was a large Asian population, then I was in Chicago which is very diverse, then I was in a college town with a large international student body and also a lot of Japanese people working for Subaru, but around here I pretty much never see anyone Asian on the street.)
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