My mother published her book... and I hate it :(

13

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    It's not criticism. It's basic courtesy and protection of your privacy.

    Evermourn
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 28
    Richy wrote: »
    Is there nothing in-between saying nothing and cutting her off completely?

    Can you talk to her and explain to her why it's problematic that she's using your real name and personal information in great details in her book? It sounds like you have a loving relationship with her and she's genuinely oblivious to the fact what she did is bad. A loving mother/grand-mother would never willingly want to her her children/grand-children, and I don't think that's what she set out to do when she wrote that book. So can you sit her down and explain to her why detailing your gf's vagina is an invasion of privacy, why going into your sister's career could hurt her career if her coworkers/employers read it, or why ascribing political views to your underage niece (regardless of the views) can be used against her in the future?

    EDIT: To be clear, I would not go into why the content itself is bad, which is an opinion powderkeg, but why naming her own descendants and ascribing this content to them personally is bad for them, how in some cases it reveals info they would not want made public and in other cases it can be held against them and be used to hurt them, which is a factual argument.

    I think this is where my confusion lies. It just seems like there are some ways to voice discomfort without just letting this go completely just to avoid even a little conflict. I think people arent trying to tell you to go ballistic on your mom. Everyone is trying to emphasize that, with the amount of liberties that have been taken on her part that voicing some cautions concern in as neutral of a way as possible is reasonable.

    I've had to go through uncomfortable conversations with family members who wanted to use my work (or have me paint something) for Christian novels they wrote, or teeshirts for their church. Free work aside, I feel incredibly uncomfortable with that, and when pressed I had to go into why, even though they may have thought it was a highschool phase, I'm not religious and I wouldn't stand for me or my work being represented that way. It was uncomfortable, but everyone sorta moved on eventually. I still hear about it from time to time.

    I consider this all to be much less egregious than just being put into a work that I disagree with, its the details here that make the passive action surprising.

    It would be shortsighted to assume that your family would react the same, or that you dont know how truly hurt your mom would be. If you just dont feel the same about it being a problem, then I think you've already got your answer. I suggest we lock down the thread, so people stop speculating.


    Edit:
    I want to believe that this is possible, buy my mother is notoriously bad at taking criticism. In the past, any time we've disagreed with her, she takes it as a personal attack and does a variation of the whole "well why don't I just give up and DIE, then!" thing. Some might say that that's emotional blackmail, and I wouldn't entirely disagree, but it's effective blackmail, and that, perhaps, is an indictment of my own emotional fortitude, I'm willing to concede.


    Ah you posted this while I was composing, but I think in the context of this sort of reaction, there's not much the forum can do to help you navigate it. You have a ton of different opinions here to consider, and it sounds like you and your wife already weighed the options. My only real take is that, if shes done that before but it tends to blow over after a day or two, it still might be worth the lightest version of the conversation you can muster.

    Iruka on
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  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    edited January 28
    Richy wrote: »
    Is there nothing in-between saying nothing and cutting her off completely?

    Can you talk to her and explain to her why it's problematic that she's using your real name and personal information in great details in her book? It sounds like you have a loving relationship with her and she's genuinely oblivious to the fact what she did is bad. A loving mother/grand-mother would never willingly want to her her children/grand-children, and I don't think that's what she set out to do when she wrote that book. So can you sit her down and explain to her why detailing your gf's vagina is an invasion of privacy, why going into your sister's career could hurt her career if her coworkers/employers read it, or why ascribing political views to your underage niece (regardless of the views) can be used against her in the future?

    EDIT: To be clear, I would not go into why the content itself is bad, which is an opinion powderkeg, but why naming her own descendants and ascribing this content to them personally is bad for them, how in some cases it reveals info they would not want made public and in other cases it can be held against them and be used to hurt them, which is a factual argument.

    I want to believe that this is possible, buy my mother is notoriously bad at taking criticism. In the past, any time we've disagreed with her, she takes it as a personal attack and does a variation of the whole "well why don't I just give up and DIE, then!" thing. Some might say that that's emotional blackmail, and I wouldn't entirely disagree, but it's effective blackmail, and that, perhaps, is an indictment of my own emotional fortitude, I'm willing to concede.

    I have a book recommendation for you: CONFLICT IS NOT ABUSE - Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair by Sarah Schulman https://arsenalpulp.com/Books/C/Conflict-Is-Not-Abuse (h/t Contrapoints, who mentioned the book in her video on Cancelling)
    From intimate relationships to global politics, Sarah Schulman observes a continuum: that inflated accusations of harm are used to avoid accountability. Illuminating the difference between Conflict and Abuse, Schulman directly addresses our contemporary culture of scapegoating. This deep, brave, and bold work reveals how punishment replaces personal and collective self-criticism, and shows why difference is so often used to justify cruelty and shunning. Rooting the problem of escalation in negative group relationships, Schulman illuminates the ways in which cliques, communities, families, and religious, racial, and national groups bond through the refusal to change their self-concept. She illustrates how Supremacy behaviour and Traumatized behaviour resemble each other, through a shared inability to tolerate difference.

    This important and sure to be controversial book brings insight into contemporary and historical issues of personal, racial and geo-political difference, as tools of escalation towards injustice, exclusion and punishment, whether the objects of dehumanization are other individuals in our families or communities, African Americans at the hands of police, people with HIV, and Palestinians. Conflict Is Not Abuse is a searing rejection of the cultural phenomenon of blame, cruelty, and scapegoating, revealing how those in positions of power exacerbate and manipulate fear of the "other" to avoid facing themselves.

    Good luck out there, bud, I hope one day you come to feel less trapped. It's a lousy way to have to relate to a parent.

    Yes, and... on
    Smrtnik
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Asking that she not use real names in her next masterpiece seems reasonable.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited January 28
    Asking that she not use real names in her next masterpiece seems reasonable.

    Nothing about what we have been told about this author leads me to believe she is much into being reasonable.

    Reasonable authors tend to alter details about personal acquaintances if they are going to include them somehow in a story. Even when including characters to be petty and vindictive!

    EDIT: I am not exaggerating when I say this is the sort of thing that an actual publishing house would have an apoplectic fit over and would stop sales of and recall all unsold stock once their lawyers caught wind of it. It's lawsuit catnip.

    *I* think it would be "reasonable" to tell her that she cannot give the book to anyone in its current state and she needs to make changes and republish it if she really wants to sell it so badly. I know it would cost her money to do that but it's her own damn fault for deciding to utilize the names of people without their consent.

    That she did this in the first place makes me question how much she truly cares about these people in her life - its possible that she had a mental blindspot as far as considering the optics at the time, and the lack of any real editorial feedback prevented this problem from being caught before publication - but if she starts trying to emotionally blackmail you over this then there should be no question that her self-image of herself as an author is more important than familial connections to these people.

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  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    Just... I'm having trouble figuring out the advice to give you, here.

    You're obviously uncomfortable with your gf's privates being described, details about your sister's business, and your daughter's name being attached to a princess who for all purposes could wear a MAGA hat for a crown- this I can understand- I mean, as soon as someone puts two and two together and it starts flooding your town, well, all three of them are going to have a very, very bad time that could haunt them for the rest of their lives over this- stuff like this just doesn't go away, and as soon as your daughter gets old enough, she's going to start getting it from every smartass in her school and they're going to rip her apart.

    And yet, faced with the obvious distress of the three of them, you waffle on this because you don't want to ruin things between your daughter and grandma and you know she'll just go for abusive behavior again.

    Call your mother on the carpet. If she throws a pissyfit and cuts contact, tell your daughter that sometimes the best people in our lives find a way to do extremely stupid stuff that hurts us, but that doesn't mean we stop caring about them, and that grandma still loves her regardless. Besides, grandma just showed how much she cares about your daughter's wellbeing by the character she named after her.

    She goes to the emotional blackmail because she knows it works, and then before long you have everyone in the community knowing what your girlfriend's bits look like, the intricacies of your sister's business, and that your daughter's the poster child for Trump's re-election, and then while you have the approval of your mother, everything else is falling to pieces around you.

    It's going to be hard, but call her on this, because there are other people this could hurt if it gets too wide of a distribution. Books are like pictures on the internet- once they get out of your hands, that's it, the information they have is out there forever.

    It pretty much boils down to this:

    Your mother is on one side, with her emotional blackmail and abuse. Your GF's, sister's and daughter's mental and emotional wellbeing are on the other. Which side are you taking?

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Hi Jayson,

    I know you mean well, but I can't get behind that kind of black and white thinking. My mother isn't evil, I do believe she engages in emotional blackmail at times, but she no longer holds any actual power over me (outside of access to her as a mother and grandmother, which I do desire to keep, but do not depend on) so I would not consider it abuse. Furthermore, it's completely premature to make assumptions as to the potential damage this book may cause in the long run. Assuming anyone anywhere cares enough about me or my family to dig up embarrassing family secrets is a bit paranoid at this juncture, IMHO.

    At this point it's just as likely that this will boil over and be forgotten and then what? I've ruined my family for something that ended up being not that big a deal in the end? The losses at stake are too high to resort to ultimatums at this point. My mom deserves to know how I feel, and I need to work up the courage to tell her but I'm not about to scuttle an entire life's relationship over this matter at this particular point in time.

    I've reached out to my sister, who lives out of town, and she agrees with me, though she is more of the thought that, as I said, this is not in any danger of actually going anywhere outside of our immediate circles. We have committed to meeting (she, myself and my wife) next time she's in town to see if we can come to a consensus on how to proceed. At the very least, a "bitch session" might prove to be cathartic for all of us and we can move forward with a more measured approach but, we'll see.

    I've also thought about seeing if I can talk to my dad alone. He and I don't agree on politics either, but I at least feel more comfortable talking to him on political matters, even when we disagree, because, despite his views being incompatible with mine, he's a political junkie and he doesn't internalize his views like my mom does and only eye rolls when we debate instead of taking it personally. I dunno.

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  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    At this point it's just as likely that this will boil over and be forgotten ...

    How's that for a Freudian slip, eh?

    All jokes aside, considering that your mother wrote the book, self-published it, submitted it to the public library and the school board, and held a launch for it, what part of that obvious pattern of escalation leads you to believe that it won't continue?

    JaysonFourElvenshaeAridhol
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    At this point it's just as likely that this will boil over and be forgotten ...

    How's that for a Freudian slip, eh?

    All jokes aside, considering that your mother wrote the book, self-published it, submitted it to the public library and the school board, and held a launch for it, what part of that obvious pattern of escalation leads you to believe that it won't continue?

    When she gets rejected/it doesn't get rented out/she realizes no one outside of the family wants to buy it.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Asking that she not use real names in her next masterpiece seems reasonable.

    Nothing about what we have been told about this author leads me to believe she is much into being reasonable.

    Reasonable authors tend to alter details about personal acquaintances if they are going to include them somehow in a story. Even when including characters to be petty and vindictive!

    EDIT: I am not exaggerating when I say this is the sort of thing that an actual publishing house would have an apoplectic fit over and would stop sales of and recall all unsold stock once their lawyers caught wind of it. It's lawsuit catnip.

    *I* think it would be "reasonable" to tell her that she cannot give the book to anyone in its current state and she needs to make changes and republish it if she really wants to sell it so badly. I know it would cost her money to do that but it's her own damn fault for deciding to utilize the names of people without their consent.

    That she did this in the first place makes me question how much she truly cares about these people in her life - its possible that she had a mental blindspot as far as considering the optics at the time, and the lack of any real editorial feedback prevented this problem from being caught before publication - but if she starts trying to emotionally blackmail you over this then there should be no question that her self-image of herself as an author is more important than familial connections to these people.

    Some parents feel they own their children and all their accomplishments. My mother told me when i was 38 that she's personally responsible for me graduating high school and college with honors. (Note: she never once in my life helped me in any way with homework or a school project).

    "I made you therefore you are nothing without me"

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Well, if you can't even ask your mother to publish a book about your wife's vagina without permission, then there's not really anything to be done. You suck it up and deal with everything and there's no advice to give.

    What is this I don't even.
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think we can take the harsh tone down a notch guys. Parsing parental relationships is generally difficult. No matter how easy it is to make a call as an detached observer, you dont have to deal with the emotions, the fall out, and the cascade effect. I'm saying that as someone who generally agrees with the advice to do something, but also had to really struggle to make similar choices myself. Have a little empathy.

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  • AmarylAmaryl Registered User regular
    I'd still suggest to actually have a conversation with your mother about your feelings, There's a large gap between Your book sucks and can potentially ruin my family and Your book is great mom I love it!

    I understand that you're afraid of her overreaction, or simply don't want to deal with that, but from the other side - Why would your mother decide to cut contact with her grandchildren and children, because her son felt uncomfortable with the context of her book? Yes the conversation is going to be uncomfortable, yes you both might get angry during it, but once its over and after a few days will things go back to normal or not? Or is this a case, that if you have this conversation you're not going to hear the end of it for literary years - and you don't want to deal with it?


    If you really don't want to have a conversation with your mother, then yeah the only option left is to smile and nod, and commiserate with your sister and your wife and your friends about the situation.

    JaysonFour
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    edited January 29
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Well, if you can't even ask your mother to publish a book about your wife's vagina without permission, then there's not really anything to be done. You suck it up and deal with everything and there's no advice to give.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the HELP and advice thread. They have asked for advice, and if the only thing we can do for now is being a bit of a sounding board as the situation evolves. Most advice here has been sound, and has been thoughtfully considered by OP. Especially if it's a long standing forum member, I'd put the help aspect higher than the advice in this case. So ya, +1 on the empathy, I'd agree.

    Edit: Had originally quoted Iruka, but that came off as a criticism of her post (which was absolutely not intended). Apologies.

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 29
    BouwsT wrote: »
    Iruka wrote: »
    I think we can take the harsh tone down a notch guys. Parsing parental relationships is generally difficult. No matter how easy it is to make a call as an detached observer, you dont have to deal with the emotions, the fall out, and the cascade effect. I'm saying that as someone who generally agrees with the advice to do something, but also had to really struggle to make similar choices myself. Have a little empathy.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the HELP and advice thread. They have asked for advice, and if the only thing we can do for now is being a bit of a sounding board as the situation evolves. Most advice here has been sound, and has been thoughtfully considered by OP. Especially if it's a long standing forum member, I'd put the help aspect higher than the advice in this case. So ya, +1 on the empathy, I'd agree.

    I think she knows where she's posting. If you have a problem with something she's said as a moderator you are free to take it to PMs.

    edit: misunderstanding!

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Thinking about it, the privacy issues that this book represents for your family could be enough of an argument for your local library to withdraw it.

    I know you don't want to damage your relationship with your mother, but if you don't want this level of detail about your partner and daughter available for public consumption, this is a conversation you need to have with her. Set the rest of the content aside and base your criticism around that: "Mom, I love you, and I'm proud of you for writing a book, but I'm not comfortable with you using our real names for this. Some of the stories in it are too intimate and I wish you would've talked to us about including them." That's about as mild you can get.

    If she blows it out of proportion, or you don't want to risk your relationship at all... well, I don't really have anything else for you.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Asking that she not use real names in her next masterpiece seems reasonable.

    Nothing about what we have been told about this author leads me to believe she is much into being reasonable.

    Reasonable authors tend to alter details about personal acquaintances if they are going to include them somehow in a story. Even when including characters to be petty and vindictive!

    EDIT: I am not exaggerating when I say this is the sort of thing that an actual publishing house would have an apoplectic fit over and would stop sales of and recall all unsold stock once their lawyers caught wind of it. It's lawsuit catnip.

    *I* think it would be "reasonable" to tell her that she cannot give the book to anyone in its current state and she needs to make changes and republish it if she really wants to sell it so badly. I know it would cost her money to do that but it's her own damn fault for deciding to utilize the names of people without their consent.

    That she did this in the first place makes me question how much she truly cares about these people in her life - its possible that she had a mental blindspot as far as considering the optics at the time, and the lack of any real editorial feedback prevented this problem from being caught before publication - but if she starts trying to emotionally blackmail you over this then there should be no question that her self-image of herself as an author is more important than familial connections to these people.

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
    JaysonFourbowenSkeithNobodyNightDragon
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I just caught up with this thread after 1/3 of the way through page two and holy fuck.

    She needs to change those names post haste.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • VeeveeVeevee WisconsinRegistered User regular
    Richy wrote: »
    Is there nothing in-between saying nothing and cutting her off completely?

    Can you talk to her and explain to her why it's problematic that she's using your real name and personal information in great details in her book? It sounds like you have a loving relationship with her and she's genuinely oblivious to the fact what she did is bad. A loving mother/grand-mother would never willingly want to her her children/grand-children, and I don't think that's what she set out to do when she wrote that book. So can you sit her down and explain to her why detailing your gf's vagina is an invasion of privacy, why going into your sister's career could hurt her career if her coworkers/employers read it, or why ascribing political views to your underage niece (regardless of the views) can be used against her in the future?

    EDIT: To be clear, I would not go into why the content itself is bad, which is an opinion powderkeg, but why naming her own descendants and ascribing this content to them personally is bad for them, how in some cases it reveals info they would not want made public and in other cases it can be held against them and be used to hurt them, which is a factual argument.

    I want to believe that this is possible, buy my mother is notoriously bad at taking criticism. In the past, any time we've disagreed with her, she takes it as a personal attack and does a variation of the whole "well why don't I just give up and DIE, then!" thing. Some might say that that's emotional blackmail, and I wouldn't entirely disagree, but it's effective blackmail, and that, perhaps, is an indictment of my own emotional fortitude, I'm willing to concede.

    The answer to that question, at this point, is "I guess so?" It will escalate, but the longer you put this off the worse it will be when it does happen. Walk out if you even get the slightest whiff of it getting physical, and then give it a cooling off period and call her back. Not to apologize, but to check on her welfare and ask her how she is doing.

    She isnt going to kill herself, and if you honestly think she would then you should be trying everything you can to get her into treatment now anyways.

    You do have the strength to stand up to her. You may not believe you do until you do, but you really do.

    Hey, do do
    At this point it's just as likely that this will boil over and be forgotten ...

    How's that for a Freudian slip, eh?

    All jokes aside, considering that your mother wrote the book, self-published it, submitted it to the public library and the school board, and held a launch for it, what part of that obvious pattern of escalation leads you to believe that it won't continue?

    When she gets rejected/it doesn't get rented out/she realizes no one outside of the family wants to buy it.

    Do you honestly truly believe no one is going to pick it up out of sheer curiosity, and that the person that reads it doesnt know you personally?

    Persinally, I wouldnt be willing to risk my wife's vajayjay description on that.

    JaysonFourSatanic JesusAridhol
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I don't think there was any mention of things getting physical, I doubt it's a concern.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Small update:

    My wife and I did ask mom this weekend why she didn't consider using pseudonyms for her characters.

    Her response: "for the girls! I wanted them to know that these stories are about them! So that when they look back on their stories they'll know Nana had them in mind when she wrote them"

    She honestly doesn't think, or realize, that this could come back to them in any negative way. Also, it's clear she didn't consider me or my wife's feelings, as we're just side characters in my daughter's story, so why bother with fake names?

    Again though, after some consideration, we've realized that there's no child that's going to want to read this book on their own, and I have to believe no school will add this to their curriculum. Also, we just learned that the book was "checked out" at the local library but, mysteriously, the paperwork went missing, meaning the library has (or claims to, at least) no record of whoever "rented it out". Right now my wife and I are choosing to believe that the local library is being diplomatic here and trying to appease a local author while having their book "mysteriously" dissapear. Mom offered to give them another copy, but they politely refused, citing that they are allowed to accept one donation, but, if they were to expand their collection, they would have to buy a copy, and that that involves more paperwork.

    So, at this time, it feels as though there are a lot of people who, like me, want to support my mom, without actually promoting her work. I'm choosing to take this as a positive sign.

    In the meantime, the folks are off to Barbados for their winter vacation, so I won't expect any developments until they come back in two weeks. Mom is planning on heading to the library in my hometown where she is meeting up with more family for further promotion. After that, however, family connections will be exhausted. Barring any openings by non-family, I feel confident things won't progress beyond that point.

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  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    I'm so glad, I was worried it would keep escalating until we heard Oprah announce " Our next guest is the vaginal inspiration for the new best selling children's novel.."

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah libraries can't keep everything. Our local library is huge and they don't keep more than one copy of too many things. They also have these huge book sales once a month I'm guessing for books that have been donated that they can't keep or don't want and I'm pleased to say that I've seen the same Laura Ingram book for the last five months. I'll be sad when it finally sells because that means someone saw it and wanted to read it.

    Maybe I should think more positively though and imagine that someone out there has a couch that really needs a leg to stand on, and they've brought that book home only to find that it can't help them.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    edited February 6
    ceres wrote: »
    Yeah libraries can't keep everything. Our local library is huge and they don't keep more than one copy of too many things. They also have these huge book sales once a month I'm guessing for books that have been donated that they can't keep or don't want and I'm pleased to say that I've seen the same Laura Ingram book for the last five months. I'll be sad when it finally sells because that means someone saw it and wanted to read it.

    Maybe I should think more positively though and imagine that someone out there has a couch that really needs a leg to stand on, and they've brought that book home only to find that it can't help them.

    jfc, Ceres :lol:

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Hey guys!

    So, parents are back from Barbados. Had dinner there last night.

    After dinner, the neighbour happened by to drop off the mail that he had collected for them during their time away. Mom goes through it, and is disappointed that no news has come from the school boards. Naturally, the topic of the book comes up.

    Mom: Gosh, I get that maybe some of the topics of my book might be a little controversial, but some news is better than no news...

    Sensing an opportunity, I engage, delicately (spoiler for long back-and-forth dialogue)

    Me: (treading lightly) What do you mean mom, what part of your book do you think is controversial?
    Her: Well, I'm sure some people would have a problem with the princess story. You've read it, right?
    Me: Yes mom, I've read the whole thing (wife squeezes my arm)
    Her: Well, tell me what you think then, it's not that bad, right? (Dad leaves the room. I take a deep breath)
    Me: I've debated with [wife] about broaching this topic with you (sorry PA, I would have mentioned you but I felt it would have derailed the conversation, but you were in my heart), but I'm nervous about it because you tend to take criticism pretty hard
    Her: So you hate it
    Me
    : (trying to avoid the hyperbolic response) Do you understand why people might have a problem with that story, mom?
    Her: People think you shouldn't expose kids to politics, but I disagree! Children should be empowered to come up with solutions to difficult problems!
    Me: This isn't just "politics", mom, this is more than that. Do you understand that some people might accuse you of being racist for this idea? Do you understand that the idea you proposed isn't new, that it's been tried before, to disastrous effect?
    Her: You obviously don't understand what I'm trying to do here
    Me: Can I tell you a story?
    Her: Sure, let's hear it
    Me: (tells the history of the Viennese "Borghetto" of the 16th century, which is commonly believed to be where we derived the word "ghetto" from)
    Her: Look, it's unfortunate that people react this way to strangers coming into their countries ("this way" implying to mean racism and discrimination), but people can't just pop up in another country and expect to be treated the same as those who have lived there their whole lives and established their own way of life. I don't want honor killings happening in Canada, and I need to know that people who come here aren't going to do that!
    Me: But mom, that's impossible to know ahead of time without banning entire cultures or religions! Is that what you're asking for here?
    Her: No! But I don't want criminals and terrorists to think they can just run away to another country and have their slates wiped clean!
    Me: 1 - why do you think this is a thing that is happening right now, how many foreign-born terrorist attacks have we had in Canada recently and 2 - Do you believe that all foreign law enforcement bodies are just and are properly applying their laws? How do you know these refugees aren't just trying to escape an unjust system?
    Her: Those things aren't our problem!
    Me: But your proposed city doesn't resolve any of those issues, it just contains them. History has shown that that doesn't solve the problem, it just causes it to metastasize and make things worse. Besides, is this city for all immigrants or just certain kinds?
    Her: Everyone is subject to the same rules!
    Me: Even British or French or American immigrants?
    Her: Well they would have an advantage, as their culture is closer to ours, but yes.
    Me: Wait, what advantage?
    Her: Oh, well once immigrants have proven that they can live within the rest of society, they can leave the village and choose to live wherever
    Me: Wait, so there's a test? An evaluation?
    Her: Of course. People aren't expected to live in the city forever, once they've proven themselves, they can move out
    Me: So wait, what's this test? Who administers it?
    Her: Well, we would have experts in place to evaluate them
    Me: What experts? What's considered "suitable?" how do you test for that
    Her: Well, you know, we have people who [stammers]
    Me: What people, mom? Who decides who's "fit" to be Canadian? You? What are the rules?
    Her: Well I don't know, I'm not an expert!
    Me (insisting): Who is? What does it mean to be an expert in Canadian Culture?
    Her: I don't want to talk about this anymore

    So there you go. Didn't go quite as bad as I feared but, I sadly confirmed that my mom, in fact, holds racist views and my dad was not even willing to participate in the conversation. Can't really say I'm surprised, but at least I don't have to feel like I'm walking on eggshells when the topic of the book comes up. She knows that I don't think her book is appropriate for classrooms, but I can't stop her from continuing to try and sell so, as before, I have to continue to hope that the school boards share my perception of the matter and leave things at that.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    Awesome'd for you being able to have a well-prepared and reasonable discussion with her about this.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Well that's unfortunate, expected and about as well as I guess it can go for that topic if she feels that way.

    I think the issue of using real names and such may be the sort of thing she's more understanding of if the topic comes up again.

    Kids aren't involved in politics because they don't have the necessary critical thinking - it's a class of people who are essentially told to do whatever the adults say without serious question. Maybe in the early teens it would be appropriate, but that book sounds aimed at little kids.

  • kimekime Queen of Blades Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Well that's unfortunate, expected and about as well as I guess it can go for that topic if she feels that way.

    I think the issue of using real names and such may be the sort of thing she's more understanding of if the topic comes up again.

    Kids aren't involved in politics because they don't have the necessary critical thinking - it's a class of people who are essentially told to do whatever the adults say without serious question. Maybe in the early teens it would be appropriate, but that book sounds aimed at little kids.

    I kinda disagree with that last part. "Politics" in this case (and often) really just means "beliefs about how the world should work." Kids are exposed to that, every waking moment of their lives. How you expose them to other cultures and other people, how you introduce them to adults and expect them to address adults, how they interact socially with their peers... these are all things that line up directly with what people talk about in "politics." I can go to my two-year-olds bookshelf and tell you which one of her books maps to what divisive political issue today (often things about diversity/inclusion, respecting others' opinions even if they aren't your own, etc.).

    These are active political issues and kids get their first lessons in them from birth almost :P

    So I don't really disagree with RU's mom when she said that kids are capable of understanding difficult problems and shouldn't be sheltered from "politics." I think RU went the right direction to say that it wasn't "it has politics" that was the concern :)

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  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Fairy tales are cautionary.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    So serious question: Does your mom know that her book is racist? I know we think we can spot when we are being racists, but as someone who has been on the Right (maybe even Alt-Right) in my views, you some times don't really realize that what you are saying is actually bad. Like, you said that the Queen who makes the new city for them until they "learn our ways" does it out of the goodness of her heart, but maybe point out that asking people to change themselves completely without doing so ourselves is unfair. I get there should be some changes on their part, like learning the language of the land they want to live in, but maybe the Queen should learn who these people are and their culture since she's going to be responsible for them. Maybe show your mom that even if you give them a nice ciry to be in, treating people differently hasn't been a good thing in history (segregation being a good point of reference) and maybe make your mom see that she's done that maybe without even realizing it.

  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    RU- dude, I'm sorry you had to find that out about your mom like that. I know it wasn't the ending you hoped out of it, but at least now you have an answer- and at least a convenient reason to poof the book off to a high shelf to be forgotten, or even stuffed in a box until your daughter's old enough to understand why the story is so problematic.

    Kids learn this kind of stuff in exactly this way, and if she knows that this is how beloved grandma thinks, then she might give these views just a bit more weight in that "grandma holds these views, so they must be the right ones to hold because she's never wrong about this kind of thing!". Kids love to mimic their parents- you teach them how to do a lot of things, and you're their biggest teacher when to comes to how they see and view the world, and they will easily pick up everything about how you interact with it- even the parts you never mean for them to.

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    So serious question: Does your mom know that her book is racist? I know we think we can spot when we are being racists, but as someone who has been on the Right (maybe even Alt-Right) in my views, you some times don't really realize that what you are saying is actually bad. Like, you said that the Queen who makes the new city for them until they "learn our ways" does it out of the goodness of her heart, but maybe point out that asking people to change themselves completely without doing so ourselves is unfair. I get there should be some changes on their part, like learning the language of the land they want to live in, but maybe the Queen should learn who these people are and their culture since she's going to be responsible for them. Maybe show your mom that even if you give them a nice ciry to be in, treating people differently hasn't been a good thing in history (segregation being a good point of reference) and maybe make your mom see that she's done that maybe without even realizing it.

    Well, I did try in the conversation above as follows:
    Me: This isn't just "politics", mom, this is more than that. Do you understand that some people might accuse you of being racist for this idea? Do you understand that the idea you proposed isn't new, that it's been tried before, to disastrous effect?

    Her response was:
    Her: You obviously don't understand what I'm trying to do here

    This tells me that either:

    1- She thinks calling her proposal racist is an exaggeration or;
    2- She thinks racism is unfortunate but necessary in order to preserve National Security / Cultural Identity

    Now, I can think of many ways to tackle the subject with her, but it has to be piecemeal, and only when she's open to further conversation. As you can see above, she shut down the conversation when I started challenging her on specifics, so getting through is not something that's going to happen over a single conversation.

    That said, I do have some ideas. To wit:

    My mother is Anglophone, my father is Francophone. Throughout our upbringing, my father insisted that we children be brought up in French first, as he knew that we would be naturally exposed to English via osmosis, so more effort should be spent on teaching us French. What this meant though, was that my mom could literally not communicate with her own children in her native language until we were all about 4 or 5. Mom always felt like her own culture had to take a back seat during our formative years. We went to school in French, our homework was all French, we went to Church in French, and mom just had to sit by and struggle to understand what was going on.

    Now, why am I bringing this up? Because I remember one day, I must have been 12 or so, we were sitting in Church, and, during his homily, the priest made a goofy, off-color comment about "les têtes carrées" (those square-heads); a French-Canadian derogatory term for English speakers. My mom didn't speak French, but she caught that bit and oooooh boy!

    That was that; we stopped attending church weekly after that incident, that's how insulted my mom was.

    Now, this, all things considered, I feel is a relatively benign form of discrimination, but it was discrimination nonetheless. So what's my point in all this? I've thought about asking mom how she would feel if suddenly the government of Canada decided that it was to become mandatory that ALL Canadians become fluent in both English and French, and would be relegated to specific living quarters to be indoctrinated in both languages before they could rejoin society, to see how she felt about that, but I'll have to wait for another opportunity to bring up that example.

    Oh, also, my mom HATES blonde jokes (she's blonde, naturally), which I also find is hilarious now that I know what I know.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited February 18
    All of this and you didn't get to the whole using family member's names and talking about their vagina thing either!

    bowen on
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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    All of this and you didn't get to the whole using family member's names and talking about their vagina thing either!

    Well, I saw the opening she gave on the princess's story and ran with it. By the time she shut that down, there was no re-opening that box that evening.

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    You handled that in the best way possible and I'm going to guess it might not come up again, because you were pretty clear and reasonable about the issues you had with that bit in particular. She might not believe that that is what she wrote, but she knows you've got a pretty grounded objection in your pocket.

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  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Racism aside, how are people supposed to learn to live in a new culture if they're kept isolated from it.

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  • Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    Racism aside, how are people supposed to learn to live in a new culture if they're kept isolated from it.

    But the alternative is letting them live free and maybe have their culture influence ours! Is that what you want??? /mother

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    Racism aside, how are people supposed to learn to live in a new culture if they're kept isolated from it.

    But the alternative is letting them live free and maybe have their culture influence ours! Is that what you want??? /mother

    Yeah but that's how you get shit like pizza and st patricks day.

    Different cultures are awesome, we should mix in more of them.

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  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Calica wrote: »
    Racism aside, how are people supposed to learn to live in a new culture if they're kept isolated from it.

    But the alternative is letting them live free and maybe have their culture influence ours! Is that what you want??? /mother

    Yeah but that's how you get shit like pizza and st patricks day.

    Different cultures are awesome, we should mix in more of them.

    but we'd end up with a taco truck on every corner!

    .... wait a second, that sounds amazing!

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  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    Calica wrote: »
    Racism aside, how are people supposed to learn to live in a new culture if they're kept isolated from it.

    But the alternative is letting them live free and maybe have their culture influence ours! Is that what you want??? /mother

    Man, good work picking your battles. I've had luck in the past when the other party wants to shut down discussion by saying something like "I know we're done talking about this for tonight, but I would like to continue when we've all had some time to collect our thoughts." I hope you get some more opportunities to press her on the specifics though, because these racist tendencies love to flourish when they aren't challenged.

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