A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Turkey, Smallpox, and the Inevitability of Just One Day For Eternal Thanks

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

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 …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

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