Black People : Reasons to Reject Thanksgiving, When do we Create Our Own Holidays?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ankhur, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Why We Shouldn't Celebrate Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving Day should be turned into a National Day of Atonement to acknowledge the genocide of America's indigenous peoples.
    November 22, 2007 |

    After years of being constantly annoyed and often angry about the historical denial built into Thanksgiving Day, I published an essay in November 2005 suggesting we replace the feasting with fasting and create a National Day of Atonement to acknowledge the genocide of indigenous people that is central to the creation of the United States.
    I expected criticism from right-wing and centrist people, given their common commitment to this country's distorted self-image that supports the triumphalist/supremacist notions about the United States so common in conventional politics, and I got plenty of such critique. But I was surprised by the resistance from liberals, including a considerable number of my friends.
    The most common argument went something like this: OK, it's true that the Thanksgiving Day mythology is rooted in a fraudulent story -- about the European invaders coming in peace to the "New World," eager to cooperate with indigenous people -- which conveniently ignores the reality of European barbarism in the conquest of the continent. But we can reject the culture's self-congratulatory attempts to rewrite history, I have been told, and come together on Thanksgiving to celebrate the love and connections among family and friends.
    The argument that we can ignore the collective cultural definition of Thanksgiving and create our own meaning in private has always struck me as odd. This commitment to Thanksgiving puts these left/radical critics in the position of internalizing one of the central messages promoted by the ideologues of capitalism -- that individual behavior in private is more important than collective action in public. The claim that through private action we can create our own reality is one of the key tenets of a predatory corporate capitalism that naturalizes unjust hierarchy, a part of the overall project of discouraging political struggle and encouraging us to retreat into a private realm where life is defined by consumption.
    So this November, rather than mount another attack on the national mythology around Thanksgiving -- a mythology that amounts to a kind of holocaust denial, and which has been critiqued for many years by many people -- I want to explore why so many who understand and accept this critique still celebrate Thanksgiving, and why rejecting such celebrations sparks such controversy.
    Once we know, what do we do?
    At this point in history, anyone who wants to know this reality of U.S. history -- that the extermination of indigenous peoples was, both in a technical, legal sense and in common usage, genocide -- can easily find the resources to know. If this idea is new, I would recommend two books, David E. Stannard's American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World and Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide. While the concept of genocide, which is defined as the deliberate attempt "to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," came into existence after World War II, it accurately describes the program that Europeans and their descendants pursued to acquire the territory that would become the United States of America.
    Once we know that, what do we do? The moral response -- that is, the response that would be consistent with the moral values around justice and equality that most of us claim to hold -- would be a truth-and-reconciliation process that would not only correct the historical record but also redistribute land and wealth. In the white-supremacist and patriarchal society in which we live, operating within the parameters set by a greed-based capitalist system, such a process is hard to imagine in the short term. So, the question for left/radical people is: What political activity can we engage in to keep alive this kind of critique until a time when social conditions might make a truly progressive politics possible?

    http://www.alternet.org/story/68170/

    Yes all of this is true, but we see our families and extended familes, usualyy only at funerals and weddings, so these jive holidays are all we have left.

    Maybe we need to create our own Holidays after 400 years,
    so that not only do we grit and sip and share love,
    but we take time to strategize, solutions and support systems and prosperityfor the extended family and our children and our children's children
     
  2. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Then End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing
    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    This article was originally published on November 27, 2003, when Glen Ford was co-publisher of The Black Commentator.
    It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year – a pure glorification of racist barbarity.”
    Nobody but Americans celebrates Thanksgiving. (Canadians have a holiday by the same name, but an entirely different history and political import.) It is reserved by history and the intent of "the founders" as the supremely white American holiday, the most ghoulish event on the national calendar. No Halloween of the imagination can rival the exterminationist reality that was the genesis, and remains the legacy, of the American Thanksgiving. It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year – a pure glorification of racist barbarity.
    We are thankful that the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old abomination will be deprived of its reason for being: white supremacy. Then we may all eat and drink in peace and gratitude for the blessings of humanity's deliverance from the rule of evil men.
    Thanksgiving is much more than a lie – if it were that simple, an historical correction of the record of events in 1600s Massachusetts would suffice to purge the "flaw" in the national mythology. But Thanksgiving is not just a twisted fable, and the mythology it nurtures is itself inherently evil. The real-life events – subsequently revised – were perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise - Act One of the American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously - an overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two.
    The last Act in the American drama must be the "root and branch" eradication of all vestiges of Act One and Two – America's seminal crimes and formative projects. Thanksgiving as presently celebrated – that is, as a national political event – is an affront to civilization.
    Celebrating the unspeakable
    White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children's version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion. Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable, a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue the seamless historical project in the present day.
    http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/then-end-american-thanksgivings-cause-universal-rejoicing
     
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