Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

September 22, 2020

Thoughts on a AmItheAsshole forum post and the racism it implies

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:15 AM

There is an interesting Subreddit, called r/AmItheAsshole (AITA) where people who are not sure if they behaved correctly in a given scenario can post the details of their experience/behavior and ask the Internet for a ruling on whether they behaved correctly or not. The questions can range from “AITA for not cutting my hair for my Sister’s wedding” to “AITA for burning my wife’s Ex-Boyfriend’s pics”. I don’t subscribe to the channel but there are folks I follow on Twitter who do follow and every once in a while they post links to specific posts which are usually way out there (the picture burning I referenced earlier is from one such post). Today I ran across a post where the poster was trying to justify his actions/behavior where he accused his GF’s Indian friend of cheating because she beat him in Scrabble and he couldn’t accept the defeat without assuming that she cheated. The whole post is below for reference:

So my (M23) GF (F23) has this Indian friend (F18) called “Priya”. Priya came to my English speaking country (relevant later) a year back to study. My girlfriend absolutely adores her and Priya soon became my GFs “best friend”. I’m doing English literature and she’s in science (also relevant).

Recently, she invited my GF and I to her place (fluid restrictions here), and had made a bunch of Indian food for us, got some wine. I ate well, the food was good and was having a good time. My GF had apparently bought Priya a scrabble set because Priya had mentioned she loved the game, so GF suggested we all played scrabble.

I was really excited because I knew I’d decimate them both easily. We play, and as the game progresses, it wasn’t me who was leading but Priya. She was making these huge words like “maladies” and “ostensibly”. I was pretty sure she was cheating.

She got up mid game to go to the bathroom and spent about 3 minutes there. I’m pretty sure she was googling words in there. So when she came out, I jokingly told her I knew she was cheating and she asked me what I was talking about.

I told her I know that she’s cheating, and that it’s impossible for someone who’s literally lived only in India all the time to be so good at Scrabble and to have such an extensive English vocabulary.

She didn’t say anything to defend herself but just laughed and told me she wasn’t cheating and we eventually finished the game and went home.

My GF however was extremely upset with me and told me I embarrassed her. When I told her I was being honest, and that there’s no way Priya could’ve beaten me without cheating, She told me I’m a racist and that she’s reconsidering her relationship with me.


The verdict of a majority of the commenters on the post is that ‘YTA’ (You’re The Asshole) and racist to boot. This is a problem I have seen many times when I was in the US and have actually had a person tell me in my Freshmen year (1st year of college) that I couldn’t possibly be from India because I spoke good English and people from India can’t talk in English. To which my answer was that I have been studying in English for the major part of my life and most schools in India teach in English so that the kids are prepared to enter the professional world once they complete their education.

Another instance was when a professor decided that I must have copied my homework paper from somewhere because it was too good to be written by an Indian kid in his freshman class. Luckily for me we had to write another in-class essay on a given topic before the homework was graded and returned. When he graded my inclass paper he realized that I had written both of them and he actually told me that he was going to give me a D on the homework assignment initially because he thought I had cheated but changed his mind after he saw my in-class paper.

There are many such examples, but they mostly have one common denominator: it is usually a White Guy who is offended by the fact that a non-white person beat them in something that they perceive is their forte. I loved the expression on their faces when they realize that they are not the best and it was especially fun in college because after the first year I was writing for the college newspaper & had published articles as well in recognized magazines, so when they found out about my articles it was always a priceless expression.

Have you faced similar issues in your life?

– Suramya

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