A viral video of a woman using her bare hands to eat at an airport has triggered a debate on social media about cultural practices and racial bias.
About the video: The four-second video, which was posted on X by user @jusbdonthate on Jan. 7, shows the woman eating rice with her bare hands at an unidentified airport. It amassed over 24.7 million views before the poster’s account was set to private.
The uploader expressed disdain for the act, raising hygiene concerns. “Y’all, why this lady sat next to me eating with her damn hands? In a nasty airport,” they wrote in the caption.
Social media backlash: The video sparked an intense online discussion, with commenters branding the post as racist. Some questioned the ethics of recording strangers without their consent, while others defended the woman’s choice, citing cultural differences. Netizens criticized the uploader for imposing their cultural norms and labeled the act of filming a stranger without consent as creepy.
“If it was an American having fries you wouldn’t bat an eye,” one user wrote
. “It’s not like she’s sharing it with you either it’s her own portion and how she culturally does things and it’s less wasteful in terms of cutlery. You’re the weirdo for filming a random person in an airport.”
“If you don’t like it, you should have just mind [sic] your business than filming her invading her privacy,” another user chimed in
. “It’s our culture, we respect our food, you are being ridiculous.”
“It’s her mouth, her hands. Stop interfering and mind your business,” wrote
another. “Your handle name and your actions don’t match.”
Defending their stance: The video uploader doubled down on their position in subsequent posts, arguing that eating rice with hands is suitable for home or culturally accommodating restaurants, rather than in public spaces. The user went on to claim that it was a “case study” and accused others of selectively portraying Black Americans negatively while downplaying the significance of cultural differences.
The big picture: Eating with hands is a practice deeply rooted in various cultures, particularly across Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa. The practice signifies a deep connection to tradition and fosters communal bonds. While hygiene concerns are undoubtedly important, judging hand-eating solely on that lens ignores the diverse culinary practices that exist worldwide.