Some have joked, and many have been dead serious about ruining the holidays with family members this year based on the political climate and the fact that many of our family members showed us that racism was never a dealbreaker for them. The time to prove these promises of standing for truth is upon us. We are all about to learn a lot about ourselves.
Are those promises empty threats? Were those promises simple virtue signaling? Did they help appease our guilt and shame in the heat of the moment?
Rubber Meet Road
The easy part is done. The frequent reposting of memes and pseudo-original thoughts is coming to a halt, and it is being replaced by physical interaction. The angry texts are going to give way to personal conversations. The heated phone discussions are going to bring us face to face with those who are in direct opposition to what we stood up for this entire year.
The table is set. The meal is ready. Uncle Brett starts the evening out with, “I’ll tell you what, that BLM group is a bunch of terrorists and is full of ungrateful, lazy Black people.” How are we going to respond? Are we even going to respond? Are we prepared to start a holiday dumpster fire in the name of justice? Are we ready to immediately pack our stuff, tell Uncle Brett that his racist rhetoric is unacceptable in front of the entire family, and leave to eat a DoorDashed holiday meal from Dennys?
If we are loud and proud about what we believe but shut down at the first glimpse of real confrontation, then our demonstrations of virtue were both hollow and harmful. These holidays are going to set the strong apart from the weak. We have to be ready to put on our bulletproof vests and walk into the firestorm that is our family members and friends who are racist, deranged, and unhinged Trump supporters.
This year has allowed us to see the real evil and depravity that many of our friends and family stored firmly beneath the surface with no intentions of ever showing anyone. Not only did many of these folks show everyone their capacity for hatred, but they proudly displayed it and unconditionally supported an Orange Gremlin in the White House that ran this country for the last four years solely fueled by hate and fear.
There is a good chance that many of us will be seeing those family members and friends this holiday season. The first round of anxiety is going to hit in a couple of days. The gentle yet noticeable tension that has generally accompanied every holiday event before 2020 will now be replaced with overwhelming and potentially debilitating anxiety the minute people walk into these celebrations.
This new 2020 tension will never be able to be cut with a knife. I’m not even sure a chainsaw would put a dent in the type of tension that is going to be awaiting everybody this holiday season. The tension is good, though. It allows us to know that we may be walking into a group of people that might potentially violate our boundaries, ethics, morals, and our empathy towards others.
The food doesn’t matter. The number of people in the house doesn’t matter. The typical familial relational feuds don’t matter. Football games don’t matter. The game night following the food couldn’t matter less.
The responses or lack of responses to the expressions of underlying, festering racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and sexism are what truly matters. They should have been counting every year until now, but many folks never decided to stand up and speak out against the oppressive ideals they were raised with until this year. However, we are here now, and we have the opportunity to break those generational curses.
Silence is complicity regardless of how good the pie is.
We all have to ask ourselves if we are ready to potentially make this the last holiday season that we may ever see some of our family and friends again. Is maintaining the “peace” in the family more important than telling grandpa that his ideals are problematic and hurtful? Are fake smiles going to make a difference when a sister talks about being scared of “Mexican rapists and drug dealers”? Will a disapproving stare allow the rest of the family to know that making racist jokes at dinner is grounds for never returning to any future family events?
Choose justice over a 500-mile trek for dry turkey. Choose truth over false expressions of familial happiness. Choose empathy over a 3-hour oppressive dinner conversation.
Choose to do what is right regardless of what it may cost.
Our kids, family members, and friends who have seen and heard us stand against the atrocities supported and perpetuated by some of our own family and friends are watching and listening very closely to how we carry ourselves this holiday season.
Losing everything for the sake of truth takes some time to get used to, but eventually, time will heal those wounds. We must show the next generation what it means to stand against the oppressive ideals passed down to us from our family members. Being intolerant towards harmful ideologies does not make us the outcast. It highlights us as carrying glimmers of hope that what we experienced this year may never be allowed to happen again.
No Justice. No Piece of that pie.