I see so many folks on social media lamenting how they have to share the holidays with their racist relatives.
Newsflash: YOU DON’T.
You don’t have to entertain or break bread with racists. Nobody is forcing you. That is a choice.
If you choose to use the holiday to call out racism (or anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs, or misogyny or other problematic belief systems), good for you. That’s what I like to call good trouble. Don’t back down.
If you choose to make your beliefs known, and then skip family festivities because racists are welcome at the table, good for you! Take a stand, and set boundaries. There’s other ways to celebrate the holiday.
You do NOT have to choose to show up and act like everything is okay, when it is definitely not okay. For too long, we’ve been hammered with the “respect your elders” and “family over everything”, and those are perfectly admirable sentiments, unless your elders and your family members espouse and support hateful ideals. I mean, look at where we are at in America in 2018. We can’t afford to sit idly by any longer.
It’s way past time to speak up.
I learned a long time ago that most of us have people in our extended families who hold beliefs that are dangerous, problematic, and morally corrupt. I also learned a long time ago that I’m under no obligation to entertain these people or share any of my time with them.
As a college student, I skipped several family holidays for this reason. I made my feelings known, and then I worked an extra shift or enjoyed a friendsgiving instead. Since then, our holidays have become much smaller and I’m able to fully enjoy them with my favorite people.
I’m not telling you this because I deserve accolades for taking a stand. I don’t. Nobody should pat me (or anyone) on the back for this.
I’m telling you this because every year I see this unfold. Every year, folks express their sadness, anger, and disappointment at having to share holidays with people who are toxic in some way, who violate their most staunch moral convictions, and every year I just want to scream:
“NO, YOU DON’T!”
You really don’t. You can go about this a different way, even if it makes you sad, even if it makes your holiday smaller, and even if it means pissing people off. This is an especially good example to set for your kids now, the next generation. Sometimes the hard thing and the right thing are the same.
Don’t spend your precious time with anyone who stands on a platform of hate, family or not.