Vegan Falls Out With Her Friend For Refusing To Call Tofu By Its Appropriate Name

By Emma Williams

A young vegan woman fell out with a close friend for refusing to call tofu by its culturally appropriate name. The 24-year-old asked Reddit’s Am I The A**hole if she was in the wrong for not always using the proper name for tofu. The woman explained that she had discovered that in some cultures, tofu is called ‘tahu,’ so she tried to refer to it as that when she remembered. 

The Woman Thought Her Friend Was Joking

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When her friend told her that she kept saying tofu wrong, the original poster (OP) thought that she was joking and she wasn’t really expected to say tahu all of the time. That was until her friend became mad at her when the OP dedicated herself to completely ignoring her friend when she was trying to correct her. 

Long Drawn-Out Argument

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Ignoring her friend led the OP to have a long, drawn-out argument in which she was told she was disrespectful. Insisting that she was just calling it what the majority of the population call it and what it is called on the product packaging fell on deaf ears. The friend believed that as she likes to call it tahu, the OP should at least call it that in front of her. 

She Told Her Friend She Was Dumb

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The argument did not end, which led the OP to call her friend dumb, insisting, “It is the same thing as tofu,” and that most people would not take offense to her using that word. She explained that sometimes it is a hassle using the word ‘tahu,’ especially when others do not know what she is talking about. 

She Used The Correct Pronouns

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The OP says the argument became complicated when he friend told her that she should be able to get the name of tofu correct when she manages to get her pronouns right. Explaining that her friend is non-binary and uses “they” as a pronoun, she was accused of being stubborn in the tofu situation. The OP tried to tell her friend that using the correct pronouns for someone wasn’t the same as calling tofu by its common US name. 

Other Friends Were On Her Side

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It was revealed that two mutual friends witnessed the argument, and they both took the OP’s side, but they stopped short of vocally defending her. One of the mutual friends said that the OP should just apologize for using the wrong word for tahu even though they don’t think she is bad for saying tofu. 

The Woman Feels Policed by Her Friend

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The OP admitted that she would just apologize to keep the peace if she did not think that her friend was controlling her. Feeling policed, she said that if she were to back down this time, she would likely have to change a lot of her language, which she does not want to do. 

She Doesn’t Want to Ostracize Her Friend

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The dilemma the OP has is that the friend she is arguing with is the only one from a different culture, and she is worried that she is being ignorant. Looking for AITA readers for advice, she was comforted to discover most people agreed that she was not in the wrong. 

The Woman is Toxic 

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One reader gave the OP a word of wording when they said, “There is a phrase which describes how Alex is acting: “toxic activism.” Don’t cave. She is immature and ridiculous, even if she thinks she is fighting for cultural justice for tofu.” Many other readers agreed and said, “NTA, if she is so sensitive, better avoid interaction. Of course, pronouncing tomato as “to-may-toe” or “to-mah-toe” is a significant problem in the world.”

How Can Tofu Be Compared with Misgendering 

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One shocked reader proclaimed, “Oh man! I could not believe her friend actually compared “tofu” with misgendering someone.” Another reader gave insight, saying, “That’s a super common experience relatively privileged progressives have as we grow up. I try to be gentle with people younger than me who make an ass out of themselves in this way.”

Not Many People Called It Tahu

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One person took on the role of detective and looked up the proper word for tofu. They revealed that “Out of 70 languages from a Google search, only 3 called it TAHU”. Other people pointed out that whether the OP was right or wrong was not a big issue, saying, “There are more important things to spend one’s time and energy on. Things that can make a difference in the world, in people’s lives.”

Who knew that the subject of tofu could be so contentious? However, if the friends try to resolve this issue, it will be an interesting journey.