"So I said, 'yeah, she's a little burnt, isn't she?' and started laughing."
An odd but heavily discussed story has circulated on Reddit in which one man explained his reason for referring to his Indian girlfriend as “burnt” and asked if he was in the wrong.
The man stated it was meant to be a joke but no one saw the funny side, with many calling him out over his obvious racism as well as saying how much they can affect someone.
The man wrote: “I’m a white male who comes from a conservative Christian family. My girlfriend is Indian and comes from a Hindu family.
“I surprisingly get along great with her family, but my family acts a little cold towards my girlfriend.”
The unnamed Reddit poster then explained that he had to beg her to come to his uncle’s birthday party as she was reluctant to go.
This is because his family become unbearable around her but her family are very accepting of him.
“My girlfriend and I make jokes about our skin colour all the time – she tags me in those white people spicy food memes.
“Everything started to go wrong when my second cousins opened their mouths. They’re total d***heads. They started joking about how our children would have a ‘s***-like complexion”.
“I could see my girlfriend getting mad, so I wanted to alleviate the situation and try and make it into a joke. So I said, ‘yeah, she’s a little burnt, isn’t she?’ and started laughing.”
The comment led to a massive argument between the couple in which the woman began talking about colourism in India and how darker women are discriminated against.
“I told her that I was just trying to lighten the situation and she snapped and told me that was the wrong way to do it and that I was an a***hole.”
“I got annoyed with the way she snapped at me and I told her that she was being a little hypocritical considering that she makes jokes about my complexion too.
“But she feels as though my joke was of a different calibre. Things have been awkward for a little while now.”
The man’s attempt to make a joke of a situation which was clearly cruel towards the woman was not a popular choice among Reddit users, with some explaining why his actions were wrong.
Many highlighted the obvious racism by him and his family. Some also blasted him for not supporting her but also for adding to the abuse especially when his family is already hostile towards her.
One user explained that the racial comments can be damaging, recalling how their Indian friend was forced to use lemon juice on her face to lighten her complexion even though it would irritate her skin.
They wrote: “You don’t ‘alleviate a situation by ganging up with the people who are being d***s about your girlfriend’s skin colour, especially if you’re white and your girlfriend comes from a culture with problems with colourism.
“If you don’t understand why a brown person making fun of a white person in a system where whiteness is rewarded and brownness is seen as a disadvantage is not the same as a white person making fun of a brown person I don’t know what to tell you.”
Many users explained that she may have been more upset because her boyfriend did not stand up for her compared to what he said. They advised him to apologise to his partner and to confront his family about their hostile behaviour towards her.