Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

MIL Slow to Catch on DIL Is an American

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I only met my mother-in-law a few times before my husband and I got married. He’s stationed in and we live in Florida and she lives in Montana, so the only times we met were when he took me home with him on leave.

All my great-grandparents were born in Korea, but everyone in my family since has been born in and around Jacksonville, and I’m as American as my husband, yet my mother-in-law sees me as this kind of exotic foreigner. She always asks me questions about how they do things in my country, and I’ve never even been to Korea!

I don’t want to offend this lady, but how many times do I have to politely tell her I’m a citizen, just like her, her kids, and her husband? --- ALL-AMERICAN GIRL

DEAR ALL-AMERICAN GIRL: I was curious, so I just looked up the racial breakdown of Montana and see that according to current Census Bureau statistics, the state is just over 89% Caucasian. Depending on where your mother-in-law lives in Montana, and if she’s been there all her life, it’s possible you’re one of the first Asian-Americans she’s met.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt that her treatment of you is from ignorance, not malice, you might just need to keep on reinforcing that yours has been an American experience, not a Korean one; and it wouldn’t hurt to have your husband back you up some when the topic arises in the future.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at