Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Thanksgiving Means To Me

Here's how I plan to spend Thanksgiving this year. My wife, my daughter, and I are staying home and eating a cheap turkey and some pie we got and watching some movies. I'll probably have a few beers and wine. It'll be a nice day.

Why are we doing this? Are we celebrating family and togetherness? I guess we are, in our own way. Why are we doing that, exactly? Because we have the day off and everyplace has sales on turkeys, which we don't get to eat too often. It's important to spend time together as a family and you should make time to do that as often as you can.

What we are NOT doing is celebrating "Thanksgiving". We're not decorating our home with racist images of Native American's in head dresses smiling next to the pilgrim's who would go on to break the "Mayflower Compact" and commit an unspeakable genocide on an entire race of people. We're not going to remember that first "thanksgiving" where the Native American's shared their food and knowledge with a small band of invading immigrants fondly because, like any reasonable person should, we know what those immigrants went on to do with that trust.

Businesses shouldn't be required or even expected to shut down for this. If you're lucky enough to work for a business that closes and still pays you, then enjoy the day. Spend it with family. But don't ignore history. It's important to know EXACTLY just how racist this country is and how it was founded. KNOW why your office is closed and don't let anyone tell you that it's "evolved" to mean something else. Ignoring racism because it makes you uncomfortable is wrong.

A lot of retail businesses pay time and a half for employees who work on holidays and circulate a list for volunteers so they can staff up holidays in advance with people who might want to work one but have another off. I tend to find that people who want the whole world shut down for Thanksgiving are the same people who don't seem to give a damn that movie theaters are open every single Christmas. My guess is that Christmas, being a Christian holiday, causes those people to assume you can find the non-Christian people or people of a different religion more than willing to work on that day. Unlike Thanksgiving... which as Americans we're supposed to hold in some high regard.

Here is my word on the matter: don't. Take into consideration the words of American punk rock band, The Broadways:

"Third graders holding hands Indians
And Pilgrims celebrating new found lands
They tried to teach me that at school
Make the white man look superior, it's always been their rule
Now I can't believe we celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday of unity and pea
If I had my way, we'd all dress in black
And Daddy would serve up the white meat
'Cause genocide is nothing to celebrate, extinction doesn't deserve a parade
And we perpetuate these lies with the turkeys that we buy
I tried explaining to my mom but she's too afraid to admit to herself
That her race is a killing machine
Take a look around your town and who do you see?
The Native American is surprisingly absent in his own indigenous land
Do you want to know why? It's 'cause we killed them all
It's not that hard to understand, yeah
So I go to college and you know what I learned?
That 80 million people were killed by my grandpa,
Your grandpa and all of their friends
They bleached out our continent but that's not the end
The last full blooded Aborigine died a century ago
If it's possible there's a place in the southern hemisphere
With a history even worse than our own
No one finds it peculiar
That a tropical island is full of people just like you and me
But Australia's a piece of shit floating in the Pacific
Buoyed by the blood of the Aborigine.
Buoyed by the blood of the Aborigine.

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