A woman has claimed that knives and forks are ‘racist’.
Joshna Maharaj, a food writer, apparently believes that telling children they can’t use their hands at the dinner table is an example of ‘colonisation’.
The chef said that youngsters should be encouraged to use both cutlery and their hands when eating food.
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In an issue of Today’s Parent magazine, she wrote: “Recently, I chatted with someone who told me a story about her young niece, who goes to a prestigious preschool and was eating rice with her hands at lunchtime.
“The feedback her parents received was that this child needed to work on her table manners and use proper cutlery to eat.
“I immediately felt a rush of anger bubble up inside me when I heard this.”
The Toronto-based writer continued: “The message that eating food with your hands is an unmannered way to eat is a real problem for me because it is dripping with the control and shame of colonisation, which is particularly dangerous in an educational context.
“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 ‘civilise’ 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.”
To conclude, Maharaj stated: “Let me be clear here: I think it’s vitally important to teach children how to behave at a table.
“But I think we need to revisit what we’re teaching and how we’re teaching it. Recognising diversity in cultural backgrounds and food traditions is essential…
“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.”
Maharaj made the comments last year, but they have since resurfaced on social media.
One person tweeted: “I’m getting a bit sick of folks looking for offence in everything!
“Racism is a very overused word. Racism, as I understand it, is the deliberate act of singling out a person or group, based on their ethnic characteristics, not how they eat their dinner!
“That’s just a matter of differing manners. Surely, if you follow that argument, it is racist to complain about using a knife and fork.
“There is racism against all groups, but if you are white and living in a western society, no one cares that you are discriminated against.”
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