Woman Defending Child Who Called Boyfriend's Niece Racial Slur Sparks Fury

A man is being urged to reevaluate his relationship after his girlfriend tried to defend a child who used a racial slur to describe his niece.

In a Reddit post shared to the Am I the ***hole thread under the handle u/throwawaymanzdone, the 24-year-old Black man said he was "totally shocked" and angry after his girlfriend of five months, who is white, tried to justify why a bully at his niece's school would use the n-word to describe her.

The argument took place during a "large family dinner" at his grandmother's house where the man ended up telling his partner she "needs to learn when to shut...up" and asked her to leave. He said was left regretting his "harsh" outburst, but most commenters felt his girlfriend had crossed a line.

Just over 1 in 5 Black children say their peers treat them unfairly or negatively because of their ethnic background, according to the American Psychological Association. That's a significant proportion and points to a need for more intervention to stop this kind of treatment. While there are numerous reasons why this can occur, family, friends and educators should be receptive to a child expressing these kinds of concerns.

A black girl working at a desk.
This undated stock image shows a child studying at a desk. A woman's attempt at justifying a child's use of a racial slur has drawn an angry response on Reddit. Tatiana Buzmakova/Getty

What they want to avoid is any attempt to downplay these problems. Yet that's what the girlfriend in the Reddit post stands accused of.

According to her boyfriend, the problems began during the dinner when his young niece "blurted out that she couldn't be rich because she's an n-word." It emerged that a bully at her school had said this to her on a career day "when they were sharing dream jobs and she said she wanted to be a rich president," the poster wrote.

Although he insisted this "wasn't true at all" and began hugging his niece as she started crying, his girlfriend jumped in to tell her that it was "really important to forgive the boy who said that because he probably wasn't trying to be mean and was just confused."

"I was totally shocked, and told her she needs to stop trying to justify what happened," the man wrote. "She then tried to hush me, and started baby-talking my niece and said that she should also try to be nicer to all the kids at school, because 'kindness goes both ways.'"

The man was left "totally livid" and quickly pulled his girlfriend aside before "quietly but angrily" launching into his tirade and sending her home. But she refused to back down, telling him "statistics" were on her side before she was sent home.

Since then, he's been inundated with calls from her sister, who called him "abusive," yet he still believes his girlfriend spoke to his niece in a "disgusting manner," he wrote.

Speaking about this incident, Chardè Hollins, an independently licensed therapist who specializes in racial equity, said the argument was ultimately about a lack of "cultural humility" on the girlfriend's part.

"With interracial dating, it's important to have hard conversations first," she told Newsweek. "It's easy to shy away but a necessary foundation for success. Discuss family dynamics, including [the] assumptions of your partner, explore your own biases and expectations, establish guidelines for addressing when feeling uncomfortable or a need for clarity, hold space regardless of your ability to understand their feelings, and most importantly commit to learning yourself too."

Hollins continued: "Actively pursue cultural humility, move from self-reflection to self-evaluation, challenging unconscious biases and oppressive perceptions due to race or socioeconomic privilege. And lastly, if nothing else, do everyone a favor by practicing discernment before speaking. Or, as the young man said, just "learn when to shut...up."

Though Hollins offered suggestions on how they could continue as a couple, many commenting on social media felt things had already gone too far.

One Reddit user, Tatersprout, rejected the girlfriend's viewpoint entirely, writing: "There is no scenario where racism should be tolerated, understood, or forgiven. Why is she still your girlfriend?"

MbMinx was similarly scathing, writing, "Your girlfriend sucks. She ENTIRELY missed the point, and absolutely needed to stay out of that discussion."

Electrical-Date-3951 said the girlfriend had "basically implied that his niece was partially at fault for being bullied and being racially abused" and had overstepped bounds by "interfering in this very sensitive exchange and refusing to back off."

Newsweek could not verify the details of the case and reached out to u/throwawaymanzdone for comment.

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