I'm a Racist, You're a Racist

I'm a Racist, You're a Racist

It's racist to use chopsticks in a Thai restaurant.

Discuss.

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Graver's picture

leaving us few options.

it must also be racist to use western flatware.

ade's picture

Graver eats sticky balls

From Wikipedia:

With the exception of noodle soups, Thai food is generally eaten with a fork and a spoon, rather than with chopsticks. The fork, held in the left hand, is used to shovel food into the spoon.

To make your dining experience culturally authentic:

However, it is often common practice for Thais and hilltribe peoples in the North and Northeast to eat sticky rice with their hands by making it into balls that are dipped into side dishes and eaten.

Oh, and definitely not racist. Ignorant, sure. Insensitive, I'd call that a stretch. A quick Googling told me that sufficient Thais manufacture chopsticks to lead me to believe that their use at the table wouldn't have anyone gasping in horror.

Anecdotes about Thai waitstaff chuckling at culturally confused diners who request chopsticks fit with the longstanding contempt service people/servants have for those they serve moreso than they suggest any great transgression.

The worst part about whitey using chopsticks at a Thai restaurant is the juxtaposition of showoff pretension and unworldly naivete.

While I see what you're suggesting Bone, I contend it's definitely not the same as calling all Asians chinks, etc.

ade's picture

Stickin' it to noodles

Secondary Reference:

In my home country of Thailand, for instance, we eat with a spoon in our right hand to scoop the food. We also use the back of a fork (in our left hand) to push the food into the spoon. Only when we eat noodle dishes do we use chopsticks. This is because Thai food is normally eaten from a plate filled with rice, and if you try to eat from a flat plate with chopsticks, you will end up pushing the food off your plate and onto the table or your lap. However, noodle dishes are normally eaten from a bowl, so you just grab a bunch of noodles, lean your head over the bowl, and scoop them into your mouth. In this case the chopsticks are in the right hand and a soup spoon is in the left hand and you can use the chopsticks to place the food in the spoon and scoop it into your mouth.

I hereby contend that using the spoon itself to put the food in the spoon is an indefensible act of classism.

goff's picture

[insert racist China Sea music here]

I do not remember any restaurant in Thailand with Chopsticks at their placesettings (even the Chinese Food Place in Suka Thai); however, every tourist market sold nifty little chopstick placesettings complete with a chopstick rest.

terp's picture

Here comes the racist

Can we talk, for just a second, about methods of eating food, across all cultures, being ridiculously ineffective?

1. Case in point: using a utensil with holes to PUSH FOOD INTO A UTENSIL WITHOUT HOLES. Silly. Just take the utensil without holes, which also serves as a scooping sevice, and pick the shit up.

2. Noodles, which are usually long and slippery, to be eaten with long sticks. I'm Italian, and i can barely eat that shit with a fork without creating a huge mess.

3. Utensils to eat meat that is mostly bone. Fuck that. Rack of lamb? Pick that shit up and bite all the delicious goodness into your mouth.

Here's what I know:

-I don't use chopsticks because I'm a retarded Westerner. If there's no fork I pick the shit up with my hands. I bite it. And then I spit out the parts that my stomach won't digest.

-Servers' disdain over customers usually has to do with particularly obnoxious instances of retardation, and it would make sense that white yuppies trying to illustrate their cultural sensitivity by asking for chopsticks in any Asian restaurant would fall under that category.

-Burgers are delicious.

Graver's picture

Hey! I'm an insensitive yuppie, to be sure.

When I eat at a Thai restaraunt I ask for chopsticks. However, I do it to drive home the fact that their stupidly-shaped homeland will soon labour under the yoke of The Great Chinese Hegemony.

Keester's picture

I agree!

burgers are delicious!

(That made me laugh out loud Graver.)

"We should take this acid to keep us awake."

terp's picture

Hey Keester

Graver doesn't like burgers. He wants China to take over earth, can't you see that?! He's God-hatin', chopstick-totin', AMERICA HATIN' scum.

I love America. I'm now going to go buy something and spit on someone who doesn't speak American. And then eat a burger. And I'm going to do it all while singing Kelly Clarkson. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Keester's picture

ewwwww

Kelly Clarkson? That's just wrong.

It is sad, but I shit you not my brother has a bumper sticker on his pickup that says speak English or go home.

Now for my dissertation on racism since I am an expert on the subject. My proof would be I grew up in Mount Greenwood on the south side of Chicago (which all of you have met me know from my incredibly thick south side Chicago accent which only gets exponentially worse in relation to the amount off alcohol I have drank).

As items of proof to my expertise in relation to my youth:

• I can remember as a kid having people I did not even know come up to me and say "We hear there are some niggers up at the park and we are going to go up there and kick their ass. You want to come?" No shit. My family was not Irish (I would often get the reply of "What the hell is that a religion or something? When I told people in my neighborhood I was Lithuanian) nor did my father work for the city or even a union. So in my neighborhood I was somewhat of an outcast. So imagine even with that, kids just asking me for help to go beat up the black people at the park? It was like you are low on the totem pole but they are black so lets go. I never went which probably did not help my outcast status.

• I distinctly remember the fireman across the street handing out KKK literature and telling stories about how when they would get a call in from a black neighborhood they would drag their heels a little in going to put those fires out. He would also brag about how he had this campsite in some campground where they clearly stated no blacks allowed. He even called the cops on me in high school because I had a black guy from school over skating in the street in front of my house.

(In an ironic side story with this guy worth 50 bizzilion arbitrary awesome points. This guy sent his daughter who was totally his little princess to the local Lutheran high school which had a majority African American enrollment. I started hearing stories about how she was going to all black parties and such. She ended up pregnant before her senior year started and a black man was the father. It was AWESOME to see this guy have to eat his own shit. He ended up having to sue the campground he used to brag about because they were not going to let his granddaughter in the campground.... I loved every minute of it)

• When I was in 5-8th grades it was utterly and totally acceptable to upon first meeting another kid from the neighborhood to exchange nigger jokes and see who had the best ones.

• The sign that said "Welcome to Mt. Greenwood" when you were driving into the neighborhood had KKK spray painted on it... For years. And the clubhouse at the park had HUGE 15 foot lettering someone had painted on there that said "HOODSMEN" on it... For years.

I know it was a somewhat tongue in cheek statement and also meant to stir up some debate, (thank god because nobody was posting anymore) but when you even try to equate chopsticks with racism I have to scoff based of my experience with real racism.

If someone gets upset over the cultural ignorance of Americans regarding said chopsticks they should put a little placard on the table explaining how the food would traditionally be eaten and that chopsticks would only be supplied with noodle dishes. Educate the stupid. If they are willing to be open minded enough to try the food chances are they are not being malicious which their flatware choices.

"We should take this acid to keep us awake."

wadsbone's picture

"calling all Asians chinks"

Obviously, it's only okay to call certain asians chinks. Which ones? The chinky ones!

Which is more racist: that last comment or assuming that all Asians eat with sticks?

wadsbone's picture

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down

My gut reaction is that it's ignorant, but it's not racist. It's an ignorant misapplication of a sterotype, which is a lot of what racism is about. But, it's not a negative sterotypem it doesn't assume the superiority of another race, and it doesn't really hurt anyone. (I suppose it might hurt a Thai person's feelings to be lumped in with all other Asians.)

markrpaulson's picture

Okay, seriously. You're sa

Okay, seriously. You're saying that me instituting my preferred method of putting food into my face at any restaurant could be construed as racist? No way. Even calling it ignorant is a fallacy. To think that when you walk through the doors of a(n) "_____" restaurant you're suddenly responsible for conforming to some notion of culturally sensitive gastronomical protocol is ridiculous. If someone walks into my resturant and requests a garden hose to suck their food up with, let alone ask for chopsticks, that's fine with me, if it makes them happy and they pay the bill and tip respectfully. It's the service industry, not someone's home. If you think your chopstick/fork decision in a Thai restaurant is keeping some poor waitress up at night pining over the increasing racial insensitivity of the U.S. populace, you're kidding yourself. It's a personal preference, no more. Now, if, while enjoying a repast at your local Thai eatery, you raise your requested chopsticks in the air and yell "I feel like a real Thai citizen using these chopstick, because that's what they all use! Chopsticks!", you're an idiot.

Shippy's picture

What would Ferneyhough do?

I won't know what to think about this until Grin weighs in.

Alec Eiffel's picture

Totally racist

Whatever paulson. I bet you'd ride a bike in france without a baguette over your shoulder.

Graver's picture

its true

That can't be helped... Paulson's afraid of baguettes.