Teen's Reaction to Stepmom's 'Racist' Comment at Baby Shower Backed Online

A 16-year-old girl has sparked a parenting debate after revealing that her stepmother has repeatedly made "racist comments" about her.

The anonymous teenager posted on Reddit's popular "Am I The A**hole?" thread to ask for advice. The girl explained that her father is white and her mother is Chinese, but her father's new wife—who is also white—often makes derogatory remarks about her race.

"I really did try to like her in the beginning but she's kind of racist," the girl wrote. "The first time I met her she wouldn't stop touching and commenting on my hair and how I looked like a K-pop star."

The teen added that her father, who split from her mother "a while" ago, is usually good at correcting people who make assumptions about his biracial daughter—"except for my stepmom."

The stepmother made comments about the teenager's body type and called herself a "tiger mom"—a sometimes pejorative term typically used to describe Asian mothers.

The 16-year-old added: "When she moved in she had my dad ask me to only speak English in the house and watch English shows because it made her uncomfortable if she couldn't understand what was being said.

When they got married, she kinda sneakily left me out of the wedding photos and when I asked why she said she wanted a certain aesthetic, which I guess is a nice way of saying 'white'."

The teen said she had spoken to her father about her concerns and he had promised to speak to his wife, "but never does." According to him, she "just doesn't have a lot of familiarity with Asian people" and he asked his daughter to have patience while she learns.

Teen girl crying
Stock image of a teen girl crying. Getty Images

The situation came to a head, however, during her stepmom's baby shower a few weeks ago. The girl wrote: "I heard her make a comment about how I don't look very much like my dad so now he'll also have a kid that resembles him and I just couldn't take it anymore. I called my mom to come pick me up and left."

The girl again asked her father to intervene, saying she no longer wanted to visit his house. Her stepmother later sent a text apologizing, but the teenager felt it was inadequate and said she didn't want to talk to her anymore.

"I love my dad, but I just don't want to see his wife again and if that means I don't see my dad too because he won't stand up to her, maybe that's how it needs to be," she concluded.

Her mother and stepfather support her stance, she said, but "my dad is really upset and my grandparents on my dad's side are really mad at me."

Anti-Asian racism and attacks have risen markedly in the U.S. since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with organizations such as Stop AAPI Hate highlighting the scale of the problem.

The racism faced by multiracial children has also become a hot topic in recent years—particularly after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan alleged that a member of the royal family had expressed concern about the color of their baby's skin before he was born.

According to a 2015 study by Pew Research, just 9 percent of multiracial individuals said they had been mistreated by a relative or extended family member because of their background. The results varied widely by multiracial background, however.

Redditors reading the teenager's story were in no doubt that the stepmother was mistreating her.

One commented: "Your stepmom is a racist. Worse, she is an example of what I call 'The banality of racism'. She is not a white supremacist, I assume, and by that I mean she doesn't go to rallies, burns crosses in black folks front yard, wears a hood for fun, or shouts Sieg Heil among friends.

"That said, she is worse than most WS skinheads because her racism is assumed, ingrained and much more pervasive than that displayed at neonazi conventions. It's the type of racism many, if not most white folk accept without a second thought. The kind of racism that is way more damaging than any Stormfront, blood and soil march can ever be."

Reddit users overwhelmingly voted the girl "not the a**hole" in her family dynamic—and most criticized her father for his failure to speak up. "It's not good enough to not be racist. Her father needs to be actively anti-racist and he's decidedly not doing that," commented one user.

Another posted: "Every time your dad saw or heard or was told about your stepmother saying or doing something racist—especially involving his daughter—he had the opportunity to speak to her about it. First in private. But the more she did it, he should have been doing it in public.

"And the fact that she kept doing it means that either he never said anything or that she felt that he didn't really care about her comments."