For most people, the holiday season is a time to get together with your loved ones, eat great food, and be merry as you create new memories for the future. You may see the family who you haven't seen since last year, and can't wait to smoosh them up in a huge hug, but you might also see that one relative that you dread seeing because they always give you a hard time about your life choices or maybe they have opinions that fundamentally go against what you believe in. Whatever the case may be, it's a once-in-awhile type of get together so you bite your tongue, turn a blind eye, and keep the peace.
Maybe it's time to ruin Thanksgiving.
What do I mean by that? Think about the world that we're living in today. The headlines that are splashed across the news. The blatant <insert -ism of your choice> related issues that are making the news on a daily basis. Those issues didn't grow to what they are or come to light because they just happened one day, they started with a casual comment or joke. A comment or joke that people nervously laughed about or chose to ignore or shrugged off as "just talk". But those casual comments sting. They trigger. They grow into something else. Start calling them out.
This applies to social injustices and -isms and -phobias out there. Especially if you think you're immune based on your gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Do you stick up for someone, especially if it's a group that's not represented and one that you have no vested interest in, or are you going to stay silent? Maybe the comment was a mistake or someone didn't mean anything by it...but then again, maybe they did. When you call someone out, things are uncomfortable for that moment, but it brings light to a bigger issue. It sparks conversation. An open ear, an open mind and an open heart can lead to great discussion and action and maybe even change.
The thing about making mistakes is that even if they're made without malicious intent, it can still have a malicious effect. And yes, you can apologize for it, but sometimes the damage is done or the apology is half-hearted, so what's the incentive or motivation for not doing it again? I personally think it's just not worth it because there are so many ways to avoid it. Context and intention are a factor, but even if you didn't mean any harm by it, it doesn't negate the harm that it causes. This article says it best when the writer wrote, "Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters."
And if you let the comment slide by without saying something, think about why that is and why you can do that. Self care is one thing, privilege/ignorance is another. So go ahead, ruin Thanksgiving. The surviving hero of a racially motivated incident in Portland, OR (a city I consider home) summed it up best, "If you live here, move here, or if you want to call this city home - it is your home. And we must protect each other like that is the truth, no matter what the consequences." Except not just this city, not just this country, but this world--our world.