Eating With Hands: A Wild Concept by Nasima Ahmed

This week's Dirty Eraser is by London-based writer and illustrator Nasima Ahmed, whose cartoons comment on the representation of Muslims and people of colour in everyday media.


By Nasima Ahmed

It was four years ago, when Oprah Winfrey documented her visit to India. There were many issues brought up around the time concerning the portrayal of India and how she resorted to 'stereotypes and clichés'.

Never mind that India has a booming economy, overtaking China as the fastest growing economy in the world and expected to surpass the UK. As well as many other scientific, business and social achievements, India continues to be reduced to poverty, elephant rides, colour festivals and other mysterious allures (of which Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend video is a perfect example).

And yet, though it has been four years, I still think about Oprah’s comment, “So, Indians still eat with their hands?”

I’m not here to take a dig since Oprah received her fair share of backlash and it serves no purpose to individually attack her now. The cartoon is merely a comment on the way the West views people of colour and their cultures. On one hand, we are exoticized, and at the same time, we are looked down upon for not having kept up with ‘modern times’. This hypocritical mentality is why the characters in this illustration are drawn with pizzas and burgers – American favourites which are consumed with bare hands. We’re expected to assimilate to Western culture and values but the favour isn’t returned when our countries welcome tourists and expats (unless it’s in the form of cultural appropriation). I guess the West refuses to see the irony.


Nasima is a marketing graduate from London. When she's not drawing her feelings or ranting on Twitter, Nasima likes to spend her evenings binge watching TV shows with her mum. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter: @Moosleemargh and @ThisIsNasima
Erika Del Cid