Ah, white privilege, you rear your ugly head each Thanksgiving in the form of family members attempting to prove who has a superior understanding of the political sphere, and more cringingly, who knows the “truth.” Or worse, you arrive in the form of avoidance behavior.
You know what they say, “Never talk about sex, religion or politics at the dinner table.”
Now, the activist group Showing Up for Racial Justice has provided an emergency hotline. Oh yes, it’s very, very real. So when you find yourself drowning in the “everyone is being too dramatic” speech, simply text “SOS” (sans quotations) to 82623. If you don’t have texting services or texting becomes too much, call (201) 691 – SURJ (7875) and leave a message. They’ll have a representative on the phone with you as soon as possible to coach you through argument igniters such as:
“Nothing will be as bad as you think.” Or, “we don’t know how Trump is going to act when he gets into office.”
The discussion guide not only helps you lead conversations around racist and xenophobic rhetoric, but also brings up a vital truth we all need to accept. We are all a part of the problem and we all need to work towards a solution.
“If we’re going to make significant change in our country, we have to break some of the customs we have as white people. One of those is not to talk about race at the dinner table. We want to encourage everyone to go home for the holidays and have courageous and loving conversations with our families about race, Trump and what’s at stake,” reads the guide.
This means asking the difficult questions and keeping an open mind. The discussion guide is designed to lead a meaningful discussion with your loved ones forward through listening, not just waiting to form your own eloquent answer. Instead, it creates a multi-generational discourse to bridge the divide between politically differing groups.
This year, the discussion guide suggests creating new traditions that move away from the idealized myth of the Thanksgiving feast. There is no reason to mask colonization in silly Pilgrim hats, buckles and Native American war bonnets. It’s time to teach our children about America’s real indigenous people and the struggle that continues today…literally. The resistance at Standing Rock is rooted by the Native American community, looking to protect their land and water.
Overall, 2016 is a year of movements. The Dakota Access pipeline protest fights on, the movement for Black Lives Matter builds, LGBTQ, Muslim faith, and reproductive rights groups are moving fast to protect what they can; now we have a productive way to move our conversation forward.