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 across this hemisphere (and in other continents). The history of these states demand that we appropriate the more tender (and proportionally few) moments of those events: people of different origins celebrating together after months of long and arduous travels where we can commune in peace with our families. Unfortunately, just like the day itself, that’s too far from the truth. It’s an ideal that we can strive for, and sometimes substantiate enough to mimic such joyous feelings, but the word Thanksgiving irks me some.
And I hate to be labeled as the Angry Black Latino Man (which I am, and I acknowledge in parts), but this should be a time to reflect upon why it is that we’re truly thankful and why we choose this day to do so. Are we thankful for the families that we have and if so, what role do we play in making those families a beacon of our inspiration? Are we thankful for the freedoms we supposedly have and the virtues of peace and love we hold so dear to us while men and women throw weapons of mass destruction at one another for the very same cause? Are we thankful for having something to eat and sleep at night while our comforts allow for this hapless yet conniving administration to sedate us while they continue to proliferate an underbelly of their imperialist regime?
Or is it simpler than that?
How many of us come from families that
don’t have any dirty secrets about each other? How many of us don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because they’re tired of pretending to like the person sitting across from them? How many of us wish we could have people sit around a table and just eat? How many of us hate our jobs and wish this day off would never end? How many of us feel unappreciated and lonely on this day of thanks? How many of us want something to truly be thankful for?
As much as I hate to say it, just being right here right now makes me an accomplice to what we do this every arena … unless of course I raise my hand. Unless of course, I seek to change the course in my family, my friends, and the country I live in. Bring back the soldiers and let’s help the ones who aren’t as fortunate as we are right here. There’s no reason to believe we don’t all hold a stake in making Thanksgiving a holy day, and a time to truly revolutionize what’s happening in our lives.
In many ways, this musing really serves as an all-reaching prayer, hoping we all find something to be thankful for in these troubling times.
jose, who’s grown up a bit since Y2K …