Luc Cagadoc’s table behaviour is traditionally Filipino; he fills his spoon by pushing the food on his plate with a fork, his mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, says.And when the mother filed a formal complaint against the employee and talked to the school's principal, Normand Bergeron, he said this to her:
But after being punished by his school’s lunch program monitor more than 10 times this year for his mealtime conduct — including his technique — the seven-year-old told Gallardo said last week that he was too embarrassed to eat his dinner.
“Mommy, I don’t want to eat anymore,” Gallardo says Luc told her at the kitchen table April 11. “My teacher is telling me that eating with a spoon and fork is yucky and disgusting.”
When he eats with both a spoon and fork, instead of only one utensil, the Grade 2 student said the lunch monitor moves him to a table to sit by himself.
"Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat."Quite frankly, I am surprised to learn that this happened in Canada. I mean, I thought we Americans had the monopoly on the "This is America, do as we do" argument. If they're going to ban spoon-and-fork eating in Canada, they may as well close every Thai restaurant in that country. Newsflash: They do it too, damn heathens, eating with a spoon and fork like that. How DARE they. While we're at it, let's chastise the Europeans, who eat with a knife and fork in each hand. Hell, let's banish those Asians that eat with those funky sticks, too. And while we're at it, someone tell those damn Messikins that tortillas are NOT eating utensils!
The principal tried to defend himself by saying Luc's eating habits were "turbulent," whatever that means. Obviously, we all know that every seven-year-old kid has impeccable manners.
Reading stuff like this really breaks my heart. Some fools in Canada, in their patriotic zeal (I got another word for it), ended up giving this poor kid a complex.
Way to go, Canada.
It's this blatant refusal to accept the subtleties of other cultures that makes me pessimistic about issues like racism and immigration reform. Yes, this story came out of Canada, but when was the last time you heard stuff like, "This is America, speak English," or "If you don't like it, go back to where you came from," or even "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"? Or when was the last time you laughed at a joke that perpetuated a stereotype about a specific culture?
There's always going to be some level of intolerance in our society; I've come to accept that. And maybe we are making baby steps toward inclusion and tolerance. But Jesus H --- the kid is seven years old. I hope my little homeboy in Canada stops feeling ashamed for who he is. And I hope eventually, or hopefully through that "everything is embarassing to me" phase of his life, that he learns to embrace his culture down the line rather than repudiate it.
I hope nobody ever again makes him ashamed to be Filipino.