COMMENTARY: My aunt is racist, my cousin is sexist, and Thanksgiving is ruined

By Brandon Ziegler ‘19


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of year. We get a delicious meal with a loving family and we get to reflect on everything we’re thankful for. This is my first time being away from home for so long since boy scout camp in sixth grade, so I’m excited to have some quality time now that the family is all back together. I’ve been dreaming of spending time at home and catching up with the relatives I hold so dear.

        But this year, after living independently and being exposed to the broad range of social justice issues plaguing our society in my first semester’s classes, I realized something terrible: my family kinda sucks.

        It started as soon as they walked in the door. My uncle Chuck asked me if I had a ‘special lady.’ I mean, how heteronormative. After calmly explaining to him the issues with such binary thinking, I felt like I had really changed his perspective.

        Just as I walked away feeling empowered, I heard Aunt Sue from across the room say, “Actually, Donald Trump has some good points.”

        I couldn’t believe my ears. If anyone at Gustavus had said this, I would assume it was an ironic commentary on the capitalistic nature of the 2016 presidential race. I attempted to engage her in friendly discourse about the dangerous misogyny behind many of Trumps viewpoints. Aunt Sue just stared at me blankly, and I knew social constructs had obscured her worldview to the point where even I couldn’t fix it.

        I decided the older generation was beyond the point of enlightenment. I joined my high school cousins, who were outside sneaking pulls from a bottle of White Zinfandel that they had stolen from the kitchen counter. I told them that after witnessing the harmful nature of the party culture on campus, I thought their choices were a little juvenile. My cousin, Ryan, told me to “man up and stop being a pussy.”

        So now, here I am, alone in my room on Thanksgiving, reading articles about white privilege to psych myself up to endure the Thanksgiving meal. I guess there’s a part of me that wishes they all could take my “Gender Construction” FTS so I wouldn’t have to deal with such ignorance. Happy holidays, to my racist, sexist family. Thanks for ruining Thanksgiving.


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