There's starving children in ________!

When I was a child, growing up in a lower-middle class household in the northeastern United States, my parents would admonish me to finish my meals by eliciting guilt over the bounty we had. “There’s starving children in Poland!” was the line my father most often used, while my friends got “There’s starving children in Africa!” and “There’s starving children in India!”

When a child in Bangalore won’t finish their meal, and parents there use the “starving children” line, what country was used? What about kids in Nairobi, Accra, or other places in developing nations where US parents claim kids always go hungry?

:dubious: They usually say, “Look at little Anil’s family, just down the street, starving, do you want to be like that?”

Seriously, is this a joke? Why is this in GQ? The fact is there really are kids starving in India and all those lovely places…but there is no true factual answer to the question!

I dunno, but I presume they realize just as much as the US kids how illogical that line is. How is MY eating something I don’t want to eat to help the children starving in Africa? I will also presume that those kids just as quickly learn that “Well send it to them, then, maybe they’ll eat it.” is not a response they want to make.

It won’t help. The intention is more like this: ‘There are children starving in Africa who would do anything to have that food you’re refusing to eat. Be grateful you have anything to eat at all, unlike those poor kids in Africa.’ So it’s not that eating the food will somehow help starving children somewhere else; it’s an attempt to ‘guilt’ the kid into eating what he has. But through the decades it seems as if the ‘… who would be grateful to have the food you want to waste’ has been dropped in many cases.

You can usually date someone according to where the starving children referenced in their childhood were. If you were a picky eater in the late 1960s, it was Biafra. Slightly earlier they were in India and China. In the 1970s it was Cambodia. The 1980s - where else but Ethiopia?

Here in the Dominican Republic we might mention the poor children living in the countryside or the barrios, or in Haiti.

Didn’t they have Jello?


. . . Beverly Hills?

One smart aleck kid, after her parents said that, promptly dumped the contents of her half-
eaten dinner into the trash can. When her shocked parents scolded her, she replied that
the starving little kids could now go to the dump and scavenge her dinner.

When I was a kid (1950’s), it was the “people in China”. Not just kids. Had some kinda tie-in with commies. :dubious:
Also, “people in hell want icewater”. No, wait. That was something else.

Whatta buncha rookies. It’s obvious that those who needed help were The"Starving Armenians."

1950’s Mother: Clean your plate there are children starving in China!
Smart ass kid: Name two.

It was always “there are starving children in Africa” for us. Somehow it never went down very well when we suggested “let’s send them this spinach then”.

I’m one of the “there are starving children in Biafra” generation from the 1960s.

In early 1970, Biafra ceased to be a political entity, but Mom would continue to invoke its name anytime we balked at eating something she prepared. So when we kids said, “well, send it to them then,” Mom would say, “We can’t; Biafra’s no longer there, so you’ll have to eat it yourselves.”

Sneaky, Mom! Still, Mom’s implication was what was stated upthread: “You children are lucky to have this food; other kids in other parts of the world would envy you; you should be grateful.”

Equally unpopular was the smartass response to the “and they’d be grateful for it!” addendum of, “No, they wouldn’t!” :eek:

Which is why I was always baffled during the 1980s by Wierd Al’s song, Eat It…
“Dont want no Cap’n Crunch, dont want no Raisin Bran,
Well, dont you know that other kids are starving in Japan”

I guess there were no breakfast cereals with titles which rhymed with Ethiopia.