Friday, November 25, 2011

Being aware is no fun

Given all that I have learned this year, I find that I hate the Thanksgiving holiday above all others. Between the hypocrisy of the whites eating with the Wapanoags one day and slaughtering them the next (not to mention the genocide which followed) and the reductionism of gratitude, I spent a good part of yesterday angry and depressed.

I'm even conflicted about how I spent the day: serving Thanksgiving dinner to a predominantly white group of mentally ill and addicted folks in a group home. The servant part is good. No qualms about that. It's just that I feel I'm still supporting the holiday. No help for the mostly white part - Portland is mostly white! In fact, given the city's demographics, blacks were overrepresented in this home and whites, Hispanics and Asians underrepresented.

Fortunately, my daughter-in-law gave me room to vent before I got to the home, so my attitude was sufficiently better to interact with people who insisted on wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. Also, several of the other servers are friends/fellow students, who understood - without explanation - why this holiday was difficult for me.

In fact, I enjoyed the servant role so much, I am considering volunteering to serve on Christmas day - another holiday I don't celebrate, though for entirely different reasons.

I will spend today writing and rehearsing a presentation I'm giving on Monday about an experiment to quantitatively measure the reduction of prejudicial attitudes through intergroup dialogue. I also need to do some housework and make chicken n dumplings before the chicken goes over. Tonight I host a karaoke show, then spend the night and part of tomorrow with my kids and grandchildren.

See? How can I reduce my thanks to an annual event, when I have so much to be grateful for every day?

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