Tory MP slams activist who claimed teaching children to use cutlery is “racist”

A Conservative MP has hit back at claims made by an activist chef that teaching children not to eat with their hands is “dripping with the control and shame of colonisation”.

Lee Anderson, the Tory MP for Ashfield called out an article penned by chef Joshna Maharaj – in which she argues that teaching children table manners “is actually kind of racist” – as “rubbish” in a Facebook post on Monday.


The Toronto-based activist wrote about how she “felt a rush of anger bubble up inside” when the daughter of an acquaintance was told to work on her table manners when eating rice with her hands at a prestigious preschool”, claiming the message that eating food with your hands is unmannered is “dripping with the control and shame of colonisation.

“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,” she added, claiming that European table manners were “imposed on conquered people” and that teaching a message about a right and wrong way to eat at the dinner table is “damaging”.


However, Mr Anderson hit back at her remarks, insisting that different cultures have their own styles but in the UK it is considered polite to use cutlery at the dinner table.

Above a screenshot of the article’s headline, the Tory MP wrote: “When in Rome. Different countries and cultures may have different ways of eating food. Chopsticks, cutlery, fingers etc…

“I taught my kids to use a knife and fork and not their fingers. Not once did I think of colonisation.

“In the UK it is good manners to use a knife and fork at the table. More rubbish,” he added.