by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
Rita from Feministe wrote: "It is not my responsibility to change them or educate them."
Pardon me, but bullshit. If not you, then who?
It's true you don't choose your family and it's not possible to simply get rid of them. But for that same reason it's not possible to simply get rid of you. This gives you a unique position in the world to push back against hate. Now, I don't spend the holidays making sure that my family is as PC as possible; that's not achievable (as our friends at Avenue Q say, we're all a little bit racist). But I'll be damned if I let false information or outright hate survive.
Demographically, you come from the same socio-economic background as your family. You're the same race, you're roughly the same income level, you're from the same geographic area, you probably share a common religion, you are more likely to share similar political values. When it comes to YOUR family, there is no one in the world who is better to tackle things than you. If you're not going to do it, it's not going to get done.
It is really hard to reason with some people in my family, so I usually slither away into another room when I hear a vile conversation cranking up. And I have found that if I voice any opinion that might seem foreign, I am quickly branded a socialist. This past Thanksgiving I merely expressed my concern about circumcising my soon-to-be born son and I was quickly told that I needed to stop reading the New York Times. I am still not so sure what that meant, but it does illustrate quite elegantly the problem with actually voicing one's opinion around certain family.
The sad fact is that some of my loved ones have had their ability to reason replaced (via talk radio and the overarching Fox universe) with incoherent slogans that are spewed out in a completely meaningless fashion. But aside from their indulging in insane conspiracy theories and saying horribly bigoted and insensitive things, they are fun people. So I just try to keep the conversation trivial and pleasant. That might seem cowardly, but I consider it a shining example of pragmatism.