Happy Thanksgiving! Despite the headlines and our deadlines, there is much to be thankful for. And while thanksgiving will cause some of us to revisit bad memories shared with a relative (that we are still not speaking to), I have noticed that there are also old words, images and experiences that are being remembered and repeated now. With the election of Mr. Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, some persons have taken it as their cue to step from the shadows or perhaps speak louder to “make America great again” by making it “white” again. There are talks of a Muslim registry and there was even a discussion of their internment on national television.
This aim is problematic since America was never an all ‘white’ nation. Ask those indigenous to what is now the United States, those that remain after the genocide of tribes and nations. When Columbus arrived, they were here. This land is their land, even as the Dakota pipeline attempts to erase their foot prints. They chant to police, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”
So, I can’t just say, “Pass the turkey.”
These attempts are reminders that the legend of white supremacy is still being told, that a generation is being tucked in with lies that they are better than other human beings because of the social coloring of skin, that we have not learned that it is wrong to take what belongs to someone else. And for those who don’t fit this description, here is another:
If you are afraid to challenge members of your family on their perceptions and stereotypes of other cultures, then you should get up from the table and pick up a few books on the history of oppressed people in the United States. A head full of these truths is better than a full stomach. Don’t sit next to coworkers next week and talk about the pain that this election cycle has caused if you don’t feel it when you are at home.
If you laugh nervously so as not to draw attention to yourself or because you have not rehearsed a response to racist jokes told in your company, put your plate down and pray for the courage to do so. Your need to belong is not more important than the right of all Americans to fit in.
If you cannot be seen with those who are being oppressed, then stop talking about the alt- right and stop questioning why this is happening.
If you are not showing up for rehearsals and cannot be heard among the chorus of those who are being demonized, then you are apart of the silent majority that gives these ghosts of hatreds past an audience.
The kind of ugly racism that we thought buried is alive and well.
While I had thought that those incidents would remain captured in photography, that this would remain apart of America’s past, I am being victimized by salutes of “Heil Trump,” shared images of signs like “Japs keep moving,” reading the pledges of mayors in Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles who will not deport immigrants and listening to the very real fears of friends who are immigrants.
So, as you sit to give thanks and work to avoid touchy topics like race, religion and politics, do address the ghosts of hatreds past that are in the room.