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Woman won't remove 'offensive' book from home; tells uncomfy SIL, 'It's not MY fault you're uneducated.' AITA? UPDATED.

Woman won't remove 'offensive' book from home; tells uncomfy SIL, 'It's not MY fault you're uneducated.' AITA? UPDATED.


When this woman is annoyed with her SIL's response to a book she has in her home, she asks Reddit:

'AITA for not removing sensitive books, and "making fun of my SIL's education'

I live with my fiance in a one bedroom apartment. It's quite small and we don't have an office. We have a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Plus, a little balcony.

That means that our books stand in the bookshelves in the living room. My fiance is a historian. A proper historian. He has a degree and works at university teaching classes. His field of expertise is Germany from 1930-1960.

That obviously includes the most infamous person of that time and the book he wrote while imprisoned. We have those books ( it's two massive books that are heavily noted and contextualized historically, as you can not buy the thing as is anywhere. It also says so in the title)

Besides that we don't have any "souvenirs" from that time. We have a lot of other books, articles, etc. laying around.

So on Friday we had my brother and his gf over. It got too late and we invited them to stay on our couch. The next morning, the GF was in a horrible mood, refused to talk to us, and made my brother leave after coffee.

Then, on Sunday, my brother calls me to "talk" and "confronts" me with the books they found. He said it was highly inappropriate. Those books don't belong in a household and that we needed to put them away when guest came over. I was just puzzled because my whole family knew what my fiance did.

He then said I owe his gf an apology, and he wanted me to show him how we deal with my fiances "issue. I just told him this was all very ironic. And this is where I might be the AH.

I said that it was not my fault, his gf couldn't read. Because if she did, she would have read on the covers that it was a "critical view on the manuscript of___". That this fake outrage was childish and that he could call me when both of them grew up.

Since then, my mother has been hounding me. But my father thinks this is hilarious. AITA?

OP provides this update about the situation:

As a reminder, it is, in fact, a critical review of the book My Struggle. It had over 3500 annotations. It is not just the book. It is a scientific piece necessary for my fiances work.

If it makes people uncomfortable, that's amazing. It's not work that should be aspired. But you need to read it to understand certain things. My fiance burns for this topic.

He would have LOVED to explain to her and to talk to her about why it makes her so uncomfortable. But calling me and demanding shit is where I am not okay with things.

You know people that like to get outraged even if they don't have all the facts straight. But not because they care about the marginalized group? Just because they want to male themselves feel better? That's my SIL.

She's just ultra woke and doesn't really know what she's talking about. We're probably on the same side, she's just too dumb.

Let's take a look at some of the top responses. People had some very different opinions on the matter.

rodanrodan writes:

ESH/INFO: Ive got to see what this book looks like to be sure, Im assuming this is "My Struggle", but a critique version.

That being said, depending on what the cover/spine looks like, I cant blame someone for not looking more closely, especially if the title is something like: "MY STRUGGLE" in big letters and then "a critique of it's dumb dumb ideas" In much smaller, harder to read letters.

Additionally, with the books being out in the "public area" of your apartment (you living room where guests are expected to be) your SIL likely views you as displaying them.

Now, I understand from your post that they are simply stored on the shelves there, and there is a perfectly good reason for you to have that book in your home, but most people arent going to see something like that and stop and think "Wait, let me consider storage and such...".

Instead, they are going to think you, without concern, are displaying that book in your home. Surely you understand why that is going to grab some people the wrong way.

Additionally, a lot of folks who have encountered.... "questionable" individuals can attest that often they arent covered in hate symbols and constantly spewing slurs. Far too often, these folks will seem like normal reasonable folks who will try and make the things they say and own sound so reasonable and even moderate.

All that being said, after talking to your brother, things should have been cleared up and I imagine your SIL refuses to accept your explanations because she doesnt want to admit being wrong and that she jumped to conclusions, even if the conclusion was potentially understandable.

In the end, I would just not have that book spine out where anyone could see it. I love history and I still wouldnt want to see that title staring out at me from my bookshelves, even in my office.

sashaopinion writes:

NTA. She's virtue signalling in an incredibly basic way. Of course if you had actual memorabilia and were talking about this person in a hero worship way that would be entirely different. But the fact that your brother didn't correct her immediately is ridiculous.

justisperfect writes:

NTA. Your brother and his gf is the reason why no one takes social and "sensitive" problems seriously and that the people who really know about these issues can't say anything without someone screaming "woke" to dismiss them. Also this is your house.

Even if you were an AH who had this book cause you agree with it, which would make you an asshole, they would still be AH to tell you to hide the book (and also for being more concerned about hiding this book than the political beliefs).

Edit: I thought the book was forgiven but apparently, it is available. It's caused in my country, bookstores and libraries are not allowed to have it visible, so I thought it was impossible to buy it, but apparently you can if you ask for it.

dazzleslove writes:

Your SIL’s mind is going to be blown if she ever watches the History channel- as far as I can see it is wall to wall WW2. NTA. Even if you had the BOOK itself on display, as a historian, it is an important read to understand how we ended up at war.

I’m not a historian but am reading a book called Travellers in the third reich- it includes first hand accounts from tourists visiting Germany in the pre war years.

It clearly shows everyone’s refusal to engage and believe Hitler’s viewpoint enabled him to gain power. If people like your SIL continue to be afraid of even looking at the book, it may happen again.

economy8w writes:

I apologize that you went snooping on my bookshelf and got offended because you're so narrow-minded. Maybe SHE should apologize for snooping and pre-judging the content of the bookshelf.

Maybe she should have asked for clarification before she got on her high horse. There's a few reference books on Germany.

Reason? My son took a course on holocaust and genocide in high school so he could learn from the past. He said it was some of the most awful stuff he ever read, but he learned from it.

We had the movie The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich when I was a child. We watched when we were in our teens with my grandparents. My grandfather's family emigrated from Germany, and he wanted us to understand how horrible that Era was and why.

There are completely legitimate reasons for books to be in a house. NTA.

freya1957 writes:

NTA. Your brother is not that well educated either. They missed a good chance for an interesting conversation. Did they realize that the author was a big fan of Henry Ford? Do they know anything about the newspaper he bought and what he published?

Do they know about the Germans sending an attorney to the US to study the laws that were passed inspire if the US claiming to be such a Democratic country of rights? Germany used the US as a role model for some of what they did. You cannot learn from the past if you willfully remain ignorant of it.

Looks like OP is MOSTLY NTA here. But did she take thigns too far by insulting her SIL's intelligence. What would YOU have done in this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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