Saturday, May 06, 2006

Offending Articles: You Tense Still?

This is forked!

A Quebecois mother of a Filipino child Luc Cagadoc, who was separated repeatedly by lunch room supervisors at Roxboro school for his eating habits will be asking for an apology.

Though the supervisor's claim it was the manner in which he was eating the food, having called him "disgusting" and a "pig" after separating him from other children, the child was simply eating his food with a fork and a spoon -a style commonly used in the South by the Filipino community. They use the spoon the way some might use a fork and the fork as some might use a knife.

What's the big deal? I personally like to push my food on my fork with my knife, but that's just me. Chaqu'un son gout.

Well, this incident has sparked international protests over the discriminatory way in which Cagadoc was segregated, with protesters holding utensils and signs that say "we eat with a spoon and fork and we are proud of it!" The mother of the child will be taking the school board to Human Rights court because of the way the principle reacted to her when she first called wondering what the punishment was for. He basically said: "You're in Canada now! Eat like a Canadian!"

It is quite a leap for people to assume that Canadians eat any specific way. To assume one way is "civilized" and another not is to revert back to what amounts racism or intolerance of cultural diversity.

When I was a child, one of my best friends lived in the second storey of his parent's Indian restaurant. They came to Canada from Bangledesh and it was customary for them to eat their rice, chicken and curry with their fingers. It didn't look "disgusting". In fact, there seemed to be an art to pushing the grains together with the tips of the fingers and manage to get it into your mouth. It seemed that they were just more intimate with their food and I'm sure it was more practical than needing utensils everywhere you went. I couldn't master it. I was simply too used to the old fork and knife. So they tolerated me as I ate in their home in my accustomed fashion. I would devour their pampadom and curry until my mouth was burning, my eyes were watering and my nose was running. Boy did I love their mother's food!

Canada should be an accepting place considering we regard ourselves as a "cultural mosaic" of diverse groups of people from all over the world. Apparently the way you eat has a lot to do with culture but no one should be expected to give up their culture to be "Canadian". Rather, Canadianism is the combination of all those cultures that are brought and preserved here.

Filed under News Reviews


Blogger Nabeel said...

I am not quite following this .. so the spark was caused because the child used the fork in some other way? danggg ...

I used the fork too .. but i hold it in my right hand .. many hold it in their left hand.

am I disgusting too then? dangg .. i knoww .. what's the big deal.. why is she going name calling?

10:03 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

nabeel -I know it doesn't make sense does it? The school supervisors are saying it was the way the kid was eating, whether he was inhaling his food too fast, being rude, or whatever, I don't know but it has sparked protests because it's seen as a case of cultural discrimination over the manner of eating. Eating with a fork and spoon is customary in some regions of the south. To some Canadians, that might seem foreign because we usually eat with a fork and knife. If you take that they separated him from the others because of the "way he was eating his food" in one context, it was because he was pushing the food onto his spoon with his fork or vice versa.

I'm used to people eating with forks in whatever hand they are dominant with -either left or right. I don't think you're disgusting. No "danggg" required.

I'm right-handed so I usually eat with a fork in my left hand unless I'm using a knife. In that case, my right becomes the cutting hand and my left the holding hand. With spaghetti, I use my right hand to twirl with the fork and my left to hold in place with spoon.

12:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Meili said...

Well the school official did also call the boy a pig when his mother called up to ask him what was up. As far as I know this a big insult to the French and French Canadians and entirely inappropriate to use for a 7 year old boy. Even if he wasn't being racist, he was still way out of line and any parent would be mad to basically be told "your son is a pig." Hmph.

BTW the boy is said to be an A student in Math...who really cares if he uses a spoon?

4:22 p.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

meilie -Agreed. This will damage French Canada's reputation as a welcoming place.

The principle should not have called the kid a pig, that's for sure.

Manners in one's home are one thing but it's a sensitive thing when you impose them in public because there are so many different forms of etiquette.

I'd say let the kid eat however he wants as long as he gets his homework done.

4:33 p.m.  
Blogger The Imaginary Diva said...

I eat both ways. With a fork, or with a spoon. Just depending on what's available. My parents are from the Philippines, and I'm first generation. People do look at me weird when I use the spoon. But what the heck.

Anyway, since French is a not a taught language in the Philippines and English is their 2nd language, there. My first thought that this could possibly be a language driven communication problem.

But hey, that's just me.

And yes, I do pack my spoon, fork, and knife for lunch :)

9:15 p.m.  
Blogger Luanne said...

really, you guys use a knife and a fork? now, that'll be very unusual here, where I come from. Using only a knife and fork will make it difficult, granting that we have rice as a staple food :)

we usually use knives only when we eat steak :)haha. must sound weird, but yeah... that's that :p

1:04 p.m.  

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