An article in Today’s Parent, a Canadian parenting magazine, claims that table manners are “dripping with the control and shame of colonization.”
She describes a conversation she had with a friend, who’s niece was reprimanded at nursery for eating rice with her fingers, and told she needed to work on her table manners. Maharaj “immediately felt a rush of anger” bubble up inside her, because suggesting that “eating food with your hands is an unmannered way to eat is a real problem… because it is dripping with the control and shame of colonization”:
Suggesting that a child who eats with her hands has no manners is an echo of European colonial powers looking to tame the wildness out of the people they controlled. These European table manners were imposed on conquered people in an attempt to “civilize” them. It’s a damaging message about right and wrong ways to do things. It positions the technique as superior and the people who practise it as setters of the standard, leaving those with a different approach to eating with a status of inferiority. The idea of a single standard of acceptable table manners is just one of a host of strategies used to grow and promote racism. It’s a subtle message but one that is reinforced three times a day, every day, which makes it quite powerful.
She goes on to argue that it is “essential” for a country “as multicultural as Canada,” to embrace a wide diversity of eating habits:
We shouldn’t be teaching kids that they’re not supposed to eat with their hands at all or that eating with cutlery is a more refined or sophisticated way to eat. Different people eat their food in different ways… The message we need to send to our kids is that there are many different ways to eat food and that they’re all worthy of respect and acknowledgement. We need to show them that good manners can look quite different from table to table, particularly here in Canada.
The article was widely mocked online, and Today’s Parent even had to hide some replies to their tweet because of how silly they looked. Some of these hidden tweets are posted below.
Having well-behaved children is racist. You are literally the worst, Today’s Parent.
— Miles J Fenucci (@FenucciMiles) September 11, 2019
Wow. I can fight racism and colonialism just by being a pig at the table. That’s great!
— Varga (@VargaGrinned) September 10, 2019
Damn I am still trying out to get the pronouns correct. Does the racisim actually extends beyond silverware to actual dinner plates and glasses? Cant use paper plates as that would be environmental racisim not to mention plastic cups. Bad all the way around.
— scott borman (@waterman02) September 10, 2019
When you have to go with " using silverwear is racist", to write an article on racism I'd say we've got racism pretty well under control
— Whistlin' Dixie (@Shugababysmydog) September 10, 2019
Those damn white people and their…
*pulls out card…
— Maryland Jen (@RedsoxJen1) September 10, 2019
Got it. It's racist to not want E Coli now.
Look forward to reading your article on mosquito repellent and the racist origins of avoiding malaria and west nile.
— WheelmanForHire (@WheelmanForHire) September 10, 2019
Like The Rundown News on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therundownnews/