Black people celebrating Thanksgiving has deep rooted implications. Thanksgiving is when Black people across the United States come together and bond over some good ole collard greens or some of grandma’s famous sweet potato pie. This public holiday is one of the few times of the year that the whole family is in town, so it only makes sense that we take advantage of it and celebrate, right?
The premise of this holiday is already warped and twisted as it mulls over the erasure of the horrific events the Native people of this land have faced. In the U.S., we are taught that the Native people and White pilgrims bonded peacefully over the fall harvest while sharing a meal. That may have been the initial truth, but the aftermath marks a shameful part of history.
Black Americans have experienced this form of atrocity in this country as well. Starting with the enslavement of Black people and carrying on to our present-day issues with police brutality in our community. African Americans are also no strangers to the whitewashing and erasure of the tragedies they faced. We share a kinship based on the unfortunate shared experiences Indigenous and African Americans have met. One which garners a responsibility for one another and the truth. This responsibility can morph into a burden when challenging the status quo.
As more people unravel the history behind Thanksgiving and its origin, this racist holiday, the meaning of “Thanksgiving” has evolved. Through rally protests and word of mouth, many comprehend how the holiday led to the genocide of a people. Therefore, we now have Native American Remembrance Day the day after turkey day. Is that enough? It can be. With the acknowledgment of our history, Thanksgiving can be a time to remember, not to revel in violence, but in love. It can resonate as a wake-up call not to make the same mistakes. This may be hard for many families as it’s a holiday when politics always makes an appearance causing arguments to come out of the woodwork, but is that so bad? Given the history of the United States, it is vital that we discuss and argue so that we can come together in love and kindness.
So, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving as a tradition or just chilling with your family, remember those who have suffered and cherish the love surrounding you. Go into Thanksgiving 2022 with intention and understanding!
Black History Fact: