Dating someone of a different racist is pretty common in today's society. It can sometimes be challenging to introduce someone to a new culture, but as long as that person is willing to listen and learn, it can be a rewarding experience. Unfortunately, while the person you date is invested in respecting you and your culture, their family may be a different story.
For background, my parents and I (f21) moved from south Korea to America when I was 13. Both my parents are Korean too. My boyfriend (m22) and I have been dating for six months. We go to college together; my family lives in the same city that our college is in, but his family lives in another city, so I haven't had the chance to meet them until now. His parents invited us to spend the weekend at their house so they could meet me; until now, I have only spoken a few times on the phone with his parents but not his siblings.
He has three siblings: an older brother (25), a sister (13), and a brother (9). The problem with his sister is that she's a huge K-Pop fan. My boyfriend told me this before meeting her and told me to get 'ready.' I thought that meant she would ask me to say something in Korean or something like that (it has happened to me before, even to strangers in the street, it's annoying). Well, first things first, she greeted me with a 'hello' in Korean; I faked a laugh and greeted her too.
It wouldn't have been such a deal if that was it, but then she continued calling me 'unnie' and asking me if I called my boyfriend 'oppa.' She then asked where I lived in Korea, if I had met any idols, if I had ever tried to be an idol myself, etc. She insisted on sitting beside me and taking photos of me eating because 'I looked like an idol.' Like, what does that even mean? I'm just trying to eat; her mother had to tell her to stop because I was very visibly uncomfortable.
After eating, she wanted me to dance to some K-Pop choreographies with her because I guess every Korean knows how to dance. We stayed there over the weekend, so it was two days of not stop of this kind of behavior.
I was so glad when it was time to leave. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, I told my boyfriend, 'you were not kidding; your sister is worse than I imagined' he laughed and said it was 'expected' of her to act like this. So I told him, 'so she's always this racist, huh?'
He took offense at that; he told me that his sister wasn't racist at all. She was only excited to meet me. I said that all she did during our visit was make assumptions about me and talk to me in a racist way (come on, calling me unnie when she doesn't even know the context of the word has to be racist). Now he's mad at me, and I am angry at him for not understanding my side. So who's right?
The internet is here to help.
Honestly, I think many white people associate racism with intent and not impact. Her intent was not to be racist, but her actions were racist, and POC shouldn't be persecuted for pointing out those patterns. She didn't blow up or yell at the kid (which many of us can't say we wouldn't have done). She mentioned it to her boyfriend in a private space where she wouldn't have heard her.
If a 13yo white kid started calling me her n****, asked me if I had ever met Tupac or Beyonce, and insisted that I must be able to rap because I'm black, that would be racist. It's also weird to start calling a girl you just met your older sister. NTA.
You took this BS for two days without complaining. You did your best not to be confrontational in front of his family, even though you had every right to be. You only complained in the car to your boyfriend, and somehow that's still not enough?
The kid is not a monster, but how she treated you was racist. She let her obsession get over basic manners, and some adults from her family should be letting her know her behavior is not acceptable. I mean, she was taking pictures of you eating ?! What the hell? NTA (Not the A**hole) a hundred times. You must have felt like you were the main attraction at the zoo.
Not every racist is a pitchfork-carrying racist. There is also subtle racism. It's valid for people who endure racism, as little as it may be compared to other expressions of racism, to call it out. Also, a 13 year can behave racist, even just because they were uneducated. Racism is still racism.
It doesn't mean 13 yr old needs to be written off as a racist. It means she needs to be taught what's appropriate and what's not. Liking K-pop is appropriate. Taking all these pics while OP eats, saying they look just like an idol, etc, is inappropriate. It's not OP's job to educate, tho. I'd imagine if their partner truly cared about them, the partner would take this opportunity to educate their sister instead of invalidating their partner.
I think I'd maybe say NAH (No A**holes Here). You were absolutely racially objectified, but I wouldn't be surprised if your boyfriend and her sister were unaware of why that behavior was racist and what the context around a lot of it is. It doesn't make it ok, but a conversation about it might be helpful. But then again, it shouldn't be your job to educate people on their racist behavior so.
OP that little girl did behave in a racist manner, but the fact that your boyfriend wanted to tell you that you were wrong for saying you experienced racism is much more concerning.