thanksgiving Archives - The Jose Vilson


Thankful (After Thanksgiving)

by Jose Vilson on November 23, 2012

in Jose

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

I try to be thankful everyday.

I’m always reminded that I have ancestors who didn’t and don’t have the same fortune I have, and how blessed I am to partake in meals with all of my family. It’s hard to celebrate a day you know was dedicated to what pilgrims perceived as manifest destiny but that the victims and survivors perceive as the pillage, rape, and genocide of their people. Of our people. Our blessings in the present came from a legacy of a foul philosophy placed on those who didn’t fit a description or a mold.

What our curriculum teaches our children as a moment of harmony amongst humans is overshadowed by the centuries of deceit shortly thereafter.

Yet, I also know that having a day dedicated to spending time with family matters. Lots. In the midst of working on one project, worrying about other projects, and frankly not tending to ourselves, we lose a myriad of chances to reflect on our successes, no matter how small. Some of us might have returned to our usual M.O., partially a personal choice, another part a function of societal norms of going back to work. It’s as if we only thank in a dream state, and waking up means we return to the mundane, the miserable, the unappreciative.


As with every year, let’s remain dedicated to thankfulness. Becoming a parent has only given me more perspective on understanding my fortunes. I can provide for him, put a roof over his head, put clothes on his back, and food in his stomach. Every time we can do any of the things that contribute positively in some way, shape, or form, we can take some time and be thankful in those moments.

Thank you.



A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Human nature always leads us to believe that the days of yore had more promise and glimmer than they really did. We glorify the past as if present times overcomplicated living for every and any modern mainstream American family. Well, except for those disenfranchised in this country during certain periods of the calendar. We’re probably the quickest to recognize the sordid history of every and any holiday because that too matches up with our own experience in the Americas. While people throw firecrackers during July 4th, Blacks wonder when they’ll get actual equity in all institutions. While people celebrate Labor Day, Latinos and other immigrant groups wonder if they’ll ever find a path towards naturalization to continue their underpaid, over-utilized, non-union labor. While people celebrated this past weekend over turkey, stuffing, and zealotry for supposedly cost-effective early Christmas shopping, hundreds of indigenous Americans wonder whether the souls of millions of their ancestors have to wait for their histories to run through the scribes of the victor’s alleged history book.

All the while, those of many backgrounds wonder why we only have a dedicated, extended time to say thanks for the gifts we have all around us.

I’m not a fan of people trying to turn something historically negative into something positive, at least not without cleansing or dealing with the ramifications of that thing or things. However, let it be known that today, after everything I’ve seen this weekend, I’m officially happy to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, this comes from the very guy who only two years ago renamed this holiday Indigenous Slaughter and Genocide Day, but let me explain.

Everything I’ve learned about myself and others, the triumphs and negativity, the opportunities and shortfalls, and mainly the state of my life currently only give me hope that the road I’ve walked on leads me directly where I need to be. No minor feat on my end, I’ve kept much of this process to myself as I’ve sworn myself to secrecy about the details. It’s really easy for we pontificators, ruminators, and pseudo-psychologists to overanalyze our lives and nitpick at the unkempt and murky parts of our lives, thereby foregoing the light that calls us.

A few weeks ago, I dedicated myself to taking a step back and cleaning out some of the negativity in hopes of finding a center within myself. Now that I see it, i’ve become more energized and ready to kick butt at school. I have good family, good friends, and I can put food on the proverbial table. The same one where my now bald-headed younger brother, my mother, my stepfather, and my aunt sat with a forks and knives ready to clean up the few plates of rice and beans, turkey, pork, and Russian-style potato salad.

What’s more, the government of this land actually gave me a whole 2 days free of the hustle to pause everything and reflect like I just did.

Today, as I did a couple of days back, I give thanks for the ability to tell this all to you. Thanks.

Jose, who restarts the school year tomorrow …

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Counting Your Blessings (Am I Not Human?)

by Jose Vilson on November 27, 2008

in Jose

courtesy of Chris Britt,  The State Journal-Register

courtesy of Chris Britt, The State Journal-Register

This is not my Thanksgiving
Meat cooking in the oven, parents readying themselves for the night’s festivities
My brother in from the academic institution I once attended
A mix of house cleanliness and unease over my mother’s operation tomorrow
But this is not my Thanksgiving
This is a call to attention to counting our blessings
On a day after Mumbai becomes overrun by young terrorists
On a day when over 3.5 million people were affected negatively
By the storms in Rio de Janeiro
On a day when Iraq and Afghani deaths have eclipsed 30,000
Not too casual considering the casualties
Boys in Queens throw their future away for a few shots of Vodka
Young men broadcast their suicides on MySpace
Girls gone missing, unreported, threatened, tortured,
Whose whole family is murdered for all to see
This is not my Thanksgiving
My inheritance: an undesired bailout to companies unwilling to bail us out
From their profit-mongering methods
Their poisoning of our collective consciousness
Homes stripped,
Toxin popularity on the rise
A cycle of oppression over turkey continues
But this is not my Thanksgiving
This is my prayer,
A yell out for a better Earth
Where counting our blessings becomes higher on our priority list
Than our profit count or a body count …

Jose, who sends out his best wishes to the world today, thankful for what he recieves …


Open Thread: Thankful

November 27, 2008 Jose
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

My favorite Thanksgiving traditions involve my younger brother and cousin eating pernil (pork) from Mom’s awesome cooking, drinking tons of soda, playing NBA 2Ksomething, or Mario Kart, and then sitting in the living room after the adults left and talking shit. Just putrid and haterific shit. Most of it I can’t even remember, but I […]

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Tryptophan Sedates Me, Too

November 22, 2007

In 2000, when I finally had the language to express my frustrations and quandaries about the state and history of America, I started to refer to Thanksgiving as “Happy Indigenous Slaughter Day” to commemorate the millions of indigenous people slaughtered by the incumbent European oppressors who pillaged, raped, and committed ruthless genocide amongst the many […]

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