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Please Check Your Racist Grandma This Thanksgiving

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Thanksgiving is arguably one of the best holidays. For college students, it signifies nearing the end of the fall semester and a well-deserved break. For those four glorious days, we get to eat as much home cooking as we want and reunite with the comforts of home. However, in this bliss of catching up with family this holiday season, comes dinner table conversation that can quickly turn sour. With love and respect, please check your racist grandma this Thanksgiving.

So it’s not always a grandma, sometimes it’s an uncle or even a parent or sibling but regardless of who they are to you, check them. White supremacy thrives off of complacency. For us Black folks, often the moves we make to protest our mistreatment in this country fall upon unwilling ears. Ears who refuse to see the reality of this country and in turn support both consciously and unconsciously the continuation of that reality.

A key part of liberation for people of color is active antiracism within white communities. Unfortunately, most of the time people with racist ideals will not listen to Black voices to hear them but to berate them. At that point, it is the responsibility of white allies to put in the work of having those uncomfortable conversations with their peers.

I understand how daunting this can seem. It’s uncomfortable to talk about these things and especially with beloved family members. It’s easier to stay quiet and then come back from break and tell your friends about how Grandma was saying messed up stuff at the dinner table. However, this is passivity and antiracist work entails action.

Just a simple message that a comment or question is inappropriate or racist goes a very long way. Educate people in a way that they listen to you, rather than simply hear you to respond. Ignorance is taught and therefore can be unlearned through diligence and a willingness to put in the work and change. Have the courage to move to change the people around you as well as yourself.

Zahra is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Journalism and Strategic Advertising with minors in French and Musical Theatre. She is a diehard Taylor Swift fan and likes to rewatch Legally Blonde every 3-5 business days. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her two cats, Bonnie and Clyde, and spend an inordinate amount of time on Tiktok.
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