Is being teased for an “ethnic” school lunch a thing of the past?

A young boy is sitting behind a plate of food. He has the cutest grin! Photo was taken by Jon Haley on Unsplash

The following story came up on my social media feed. And encouraged me to post the following response elsewhere.

https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2021/02/12/ethnic-lunchbox-shame-finally-thing-past

This made me a little emotional.

Growing up in regional Australia where I was one of two Korean kids in my year, mum understood the politics of school lunches.

She would pack us ham and cheese sandwiches when I would have loved some of the delicious stew or bulgogi and rice we had for dinner the night before.

Now many decades on I found my son begging me not to pack any more ham sandwiches for lunch. (I thought he was joking. It was delicious ham off the bone!) Instead, he wanted to take last night’s bulgogi leftovers to school.

When I asked if he’d get teased about it, he looked me square in the eyes and said:

“It’s lunch mum. It would take a special kind of person to tease you about lunch.”

I left the place where I spent most of my childhood more than twenty years ago now. And I think, while my experiences there shaped me, the place has slowly changed as well.

Time to head back for a holiday soon and say hello again I think.

4 thoughts on “Is being teased for an “ethnic” school lunch a thing of the past?

  1. It’s interesting isn’t it? I’ve got the same revelation myself – with my own children going to a school full of diverse cultures, my young son eats a range of foods from different traditions alongside kids eating a diverse range of things. And indeed the major topic he and his friends bring up is those who eat unhealthy amounts of sugar and salt, food in packets and packaging. It feels like a shift has happened and it makes me think about my own eating shame as a child as an aberration, not the way things were always going to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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