Mother accused of racism after calling son a 'cheeky monkey'

She was also accused of viewing her baby as an 'accessory' 

Chelsea Ritschel
Friday 27 April 2018 20:58 BST
Mother accused of racism after calling her son 'cheeky monkey' (Stock)
Mother accused of racism after calling her son 'cheeky monkey' (Stock)

A mother has expressed her outrage at a stranger who accused her of being “racist” towards her own son after she called him a “cheeky monkey.”

The mum, who is white, was playing with her mixed-race son at the park when she called him a cheeky monkey affectionately.

According to her post on Mumsnet, which she shared under the username Jumpiin, a black woman at the park immediately confronted her over the nickname and called her “ignorant” for using the term to refer to her son.

Jumpiin wrote that the other mum also accused her of treating her son as an “accessory,” despite not knowing that Jumpiin is learning about her partner’s Swahili culture and learning the language with her son.

“As for seeing him as an accessory, that’s just ridiculous, he is the most precious and important thing in my life,” she wrote.

Reeling from the accusations, the mum asked other parents if she was wrong to be upset over the situation.

She also questioned if she was wrong to “think that I can call my child whatever I want as long as there is no malice behind it?”

Responses to the incident revealed support for both sides, with some commenters agreeing that she should be furious and that the nickname is perfectly acceptable.

“Ridiculous! You obviously weren’t using the phrase in a racist fashion. I used to call my children 'cheeky monkey' all the time, in a totally affectionate way when they were being, well cheeky. And what did it have to do with her anyway?” wrote one woman.

Another responded: “Sounds as if you were targeted for abuse because you are white with a mixed-race child. She sounds pretty awful.”

However, others attempted to explain the other woman’s reasoning and acknowledge how the term could be viewed as offensive.

One woman wrote: “It sounds like she was very unreasonable to you and I can understand why you’re upset. I think there are probably good reasons behind her being so sensitive to the term ‘monkey’ when it has previously been used in such a derogatory way about people of colour. But that said, you OBVIOUSLY weren't using it in that way and she had no right to say you see your baby as an accessory.”

And another referenced the backlash that occurred after clothing store H&M used the word “monkey” in an advertisement featuring a black boy to further explain the potential offence caused by the term.

“Wasn’t there a huge rumpus recently when H&M had a black child in a shirt with ‘monkey’ written on it? They were told in no uncertain terms that they were insensitive and wrong.

“This woman was unbelievably rude and aggressive but underneath that, I can see where she’s coming from,” she wrote.

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