A dad’s baffling dilemma has sparked serious debate online after he became furious that an Indian friend served his son curry.
The father in question wrote into an advice column Dear Prudence run by Slate.com under the subject line ‘inappropriate food’ on Tuesday, August 11.
In the lengthy outline of his problem, he explained that in recent time he had ‘decided to ‘open his bubble’ to include the family of his 9-year-old son’s best friend ‘Neil’.
He also very casually, ‘barely worth mentioning’ mentions that Neil’s parents happen to be doctors who were born and raised in India.
He went on to explain that he was left horrified after Neil’s parents served his son curry and lentils on a play date.
“When we came to pick up Chris, Neil’s mom recounted to me how much chicken curry and lentils and vegetables Chris ate,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe that they served my son spicy curries without even calling to ask us if that would be OK!”
“I was taken aback and gently mentioned that spicy foods can be hard on small tummies, but it didn’t seem to register,” he continued. “Thankfully Chris didn’t get sick.”
His and his wife’s resolution was not to confront the issue as it could come across as ‘racial’, but instead to not let their son return to the house.
The baffling tale of anti-curry sentiment left Prudie, the advice columnist, stunned, and forced to point out that most of the world’s population eats curry and lentils on a regular basis, and that ‘gently pointing out’ the impact of curry on children’s tummies to qualified doctors is ‘infantilizing’.
Moreover, the curry was not confirmed to be spicy at all, and the child wasn’t impacted, so the problem, at least to the advice-giver, seemed non-existent.
“Your kid was not endangered by chicken curry, and your problem is not one that Neil’s parents can fix for you,” Prudie concluded.
Curry story sparks fury online
Shared online by actor Rizwan Manji of Schitt’s Creek fame, the tale had many seeing red, and arguing that the knee-jerk reaction to a wildly common Asian dish could be definitively chalked up to racism.
“Absolutely awful [and] enraging,” one woman wrote. “I hate that this xenophobia & racism continues to exist. As an Indian immigrant, I faced ignorant remarks like these all the time.”
“I don’t even understand this is nuts!” another agreed.
Rizwan himself wrote about his own experience of similar attitudes.
“I feel bad for Chris because his dad is an a**hole,” he wrote.
“In middle school, Chris will make fun of Neil for his jacket smelling like curry and Neil will resent it until he is 45 and won’t let his mother cook in their house because of the trauma,” he continued, admitting: “Fine, ‘Neil’ is Riz.”
Many pointed out that not only was the dad vilifying Neil’s cultural dish, but also denying his own the chance to sample foods outside of their ‘bubble’.
“This article made me so freaking angry,” one commenter wrote.
“On top of the racism and xenophobia, the fact that you would deny your child the experience of trying new food and taste profiles is just ridiculous. You should want your child to experience all kinds of food.”
“This is heartbreaking for Chris to miss out on a good friend, plus being around another loving family, learning about another culture, and trying new things,” another agreed, adding: “Heartbreaking for Neil/Riz [because] he has so much to offer to others.”