Food Bullying was something i grew up with. And i am sure many kids who come from a cultural backround suffered from the same abuse from peers.
Food Bullying is the idea of being bullied over the food you are eating. This is harsh and traumatizing especially as a young kid, when confidence is not in existance...just yet.
I grew up in a white dominant area with few minorities. Growing up i did not eat "roast chicken" for dinner, or having a "PB&J" for lunch like everyone else. I had rice, dried fish, stewed veggies, fermented shrimp, and other "exotic filipino" food. To me, i thought this was normal...i thought every family ate the way we did. Till i started going to elementary, and i noticed everyone else's lunch was not like mine.
I remember, i brought a thermus to lunch, filled with steamed white rice and "Mongo"(which was a stewed green mung bean soup<---VERY GOOD). i kept it in my lunch bag, and when it was time to eat i opened up my thremus and IMMEDIATELY i heard someone say "ew gross, what is that smell. where is it coming from". Shocked, and embarrased i slowly closed my thermus and put my lunch away. I did not eat it. And i watched everyone else eat their turkey sandwhiches and oreos. Something i never had.
Ever since then, i started having the school lunch to fit in and be normal.
But it got worse in middle school. Middle school was the time were "bullies" develop, the age were we all at an awkward age in life. I remember we had break in class and i opened my backpack to get a snack. I had a ziploc bag filled with "shrimp chips" you know, the ones that EVERY asian grew up eating. So i started snacking on that, while drawing on my paper.
These two girls that sit next to me (known for being complete B*tches, rude, loud, and obnoxious) leaned over and asked "Hey, what is that". I told them "Oh they are shrimp chips". They gave me a weird look and went on to their conversation. Moments later, i found a picture on their desk...
Of a fat person with glasses, eating what clearly looked like shrimp....
I want to let you guys know, that image is still stuck in my head today, and still bothers me.
For the three years that i was in middle school, i would NOT eat. No snack, no lunch. and if i were to eat anything, it would be a "NORMAL" snack.
Is it wrong to eat those foods?
Was it ok for them to make fun of me?
I was bullied, made fun of, and ignored A LOT growing up. But food bullying was the one thing that really bothered me. Because it prevented me from feeling "normal". I am SO PROUD of being filipino. But why did i get made fun of for the foods i ate? and i am sure others have gone through events like this as well.
I am not sure where i am going with this. But, i do not want kids to go through this if it is still happening. I want parents to teach their kids about other cultures, and other foods other than what they are used too. I am sick of hearing the idea that "this is america, eat what americans eat". That is ignorant and incorrect IN SO MANY LEVELS. America is a melting pot of cultures, there is no ONE way of living in this country.
Its not only the time to open our minds, but open our fridges to new foods.