Raining on the Thanksgiving Day Parade

“Redefining” the Holiday Is a Failed Project

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 — even some on the left, 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?

In short: Once we know, what do we do in a world that is not yet ready to know, or knows but will not deal with the consequences of that knowledge?

The general answer to that question is simple, though often difficult to put into practice: We must keep speaking honestly, as often as possible, in as many venues as possible. We must resist the conventional wisdom. We must reject the cultural amnesia. We must refuse to be polite when politeness means capitulation to lies.

I have not always been strong enough to meet even these basic moral obligations. Most of us in positions of unearned privilege and power would be wise to avoid pontificating about our moral superiority and political courage, given our routine failures. Can any of us not point to moments when we went along to get along? Have any of us done enough to bring our lives in line with the values we claim to hold?

Still, we need to help each other tell the truth, even when the truth is not welcome.

The illusion of redefining Thanksgiving

Imagine that Germany won World War II and that a Nazi regime endured for some decades, eventually giving way to a more liberal state with a softer version of German-supremacist ideology. Imagine that a century later, Germans celebrated a holiday offering a whitewashed version of German/Jewish history that ignored that holocaust and the deep anti-Semitism of the culture. Imagine that the holiday provided a welcomed time for families and friends to gather and enjoy food and conversation. Imagine that businesses, schools and government offices closed on this day.

What would we say about such a holiday? Would we not question the distortions woven into such a celebration? Would we not demand a more accurate historical account? Would we not, in fact, denounce such a holiday as grotesque?

Now, imagine that left/liberal Germans — those who were critical of the power structure that created that distorted history and who in other settings would challenge the political uses of those distortions — put aside their critique and celebrated the holiday with their fellow citizens, claiming to ignore the meaning of the holiday created by the dominant culture.

What would we say about such people? Would we not question their commitment to the principles they claim to hold? Would we not demand a more courageous politics?

Comparisons to the Nazis are routinely overused and typically hyperbolic, but this is directly analogous. These are fair, albeit painful, questions for all of us.

Left/liberals who want to claim they are rejecting that European-supremacist and racist use of Thanksgiving and “redefining” the holiday in private clearly avoid the obvious: We don’t define holidays individually — the idea of a holiday is rooted in its collective, shared meaning. When the dominant culture defines a holiday in a certain fashion, one can’t pretend to redefine it in private. One either accepts the dominant definition or resists it, publicly and privately.

Of course people often struggle for control over the meaning of symbols and holidays, but typically we engage in such battles when we believe there is some positive aspect of the symbol or holiday worth fighting for. For example, Christians — some of whom believe that Christmas should focus on the values of universal love and world peace rather than on orgiastic consumption — may resist that commercialization and argue in public and private for a different approach to the holiday. Those people typically continue to celebrate Christmas, but in ways consistent with those values. In that case, people are trying to recover and/or reinforce something that they believe is positive because of values rooted in a historical tradition. Those folks struggle over the meaning of Christmas because they believe the core of Christianity is experienced through the people we touch, not the products we purchase. In that endeavor, Christians are arguing the culture has gone astray and lost the positive historical grounding of the holiday.

But what is positive in the historical events that define Thanksgiving? What tradition are we trying to return to? I have no quarrel with designating a day (or days) that would allow people to take a break from our often manic work routines and appreciate the importance of community, encouraging all of us to be grateful for what we have. But if that is the goal, why yoke it to Thanksgiving Day and a history of celebrating European/white dominance and conquest? Trying to transform Thanksgiving Day into a true day of thanksgiving, it seems to me, is possible only by letting go of this holiday, not by remaining rooted in it. If there were a major shift in the culture and a majority of people could confront these historical realities, perhaps the last Thursday in November could be so transformed. But that shift and transformation are, to say the least, not yet here.

For too long, I ignored these troubling questions. To get along, I went along. I buried my concerns to avoid making trouble. But in recent years that has become more difficult. So, this year I want to acknowledge my past failures to raise these issues and commit not only to renouncing Thanksgiving publicly but also to refusing to participate in any celebration of it privately.

The choices: Make people comfortable by engaging or by disengaging

Obviously there are people in the United States — indigenous and otherwise — who do not celebrate Thanksgiving or who mark it, in private and/or in public, as a day of mourning.

Also obvious is that there are people who may not have a family or community with which they celebrate such holidays; it’s important to remember that there are people on such holidays who are alone and/or lonely, and to them these political questions may seem irrelevant.

But for those of us who do get invited to traditional Thanksgiving Day dinners, how do we remain true to our stated political and moral principles? I think we have two choices.

We can go to the Thanksgiving gatherings put on by friends and family, determined to raise these issues and willing to take the risk of alienating those who want to enjoy the day without politics. Or, we can refuse to go to such a gathering and make it known why we’re not attending, which means taking the risk of alienating those who want to enjoy the day without politics.

This year, I’ve decided to disengage and explain why to the people who invited me. These are people I love, yet who have made a different decision. My love for them has not diminished, and I trust the conversation with them about this and other political/moral questions will continue.

Once I make that decision, of course I also have the option of participating in a public event that resists Thanksgiving. I’m not aware of one happening in my community, and because of commitments to other political projects I didn’t feel I could organize an effective event in time for this Thanksgiving Day. But on the assumption that others may feel this way, I have started thinking about what kind of public gathering could make such a political statement effectively, and in the future I hope to find others who are interested in such an event locally.

So, what will I do on Thanksgiving Day this year? I’ll probably spend part of the day alone. Maybe I’ll take a long walk and think about all this. I’ll try to be kind and decent to the people I bump into during the day. I’ll miss the company of friends and family who are gathering, and I’ll try to reflect on why I’ve made this choice and why this question matters to me. I’ll think about why others made the choices they made.

But this year, whatever I do, I won’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m going to let that parade pass me by.

Robert Jensen is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin and collaborates with the New Perennials Project at Middlebury College. He is the author of It’s Debatable: Talking Authentically about Tricky Topics, coming this spring from Olive Branch Press. This essay is adapted from his book An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity, co-authored with Wes Jackson. Follow him on Twitter: @jensenrobertw. Read other articles by Robert.

21 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on November 14th, 2007 at 7:09am #

    All the countries of the American continent, not just the US, are fruit of the poisoned tree of European colonialism. The US has got up everybody’s nose only because it has become so powerful. (Who hates Canadians?)

    All the countries of the continent have followed the same pattern. Europeans invaded the continent, massacred the people, stole their land and destroyed their culture. They then kidnapped people in West Africa and brought them to America as slaves. The colonists then declared independence and further colonisation followed, from both Europe ans Asia. Nowadays, the international community would never allow such a thing to happen, but the consequences are irreversible.

    The solution would seem to be that, since everybody is in the same boat, everybody should get together. A great American Union, from Nunavut to Tierra del Fuego!

  2. El Oaxuco said on November 14th, 2007 at 9:21am #

    Thanks for this article. I plan to fast that day and reflect with those around me.

  3. Deadbeat said on November 14th, 2007 at 9:21am #

    Nowadays, the international community would never allow such a thing to happen, but the consequences are irreversible.

    Well I don’t know about that. Take a look at what’s happening in Palestine. In fact in the U.S. you’ll get huge resistance against Jensen’s advocacy from Zionists because if U.S. citizens become conscience of its own past it won’t tolerate its blind support for the Israel.

  4. Kell Brigan said on November 14th, 2007 at 10:27am #

    From the Pilgrim Hall website: “The historical event we know today as the “First Thanksgiving” was a harvest festival held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors and allies.”

    I don’t have a problem with this. The site goes on to state that the “historical significance” of the event has “acquired significance beyond the historical facts.”

    Actually, it always had significance beyond that one event. I have some respect for Robert Jensen, but in this case, he’s way off. The celebration of the Harvest goes back far before 1600, and the importance of a local community coming together in good faith to celebrate far outweighs any tiny, almost mythological, link with recent history. And, that this one in particular is also associated with people from sometimes-opposing cultures coming together, however briefly or rarely, makes it especially worth celebrating.

    But, then, celebrating along with everybody else doesn’t get you noticed or give you a chance to play holier-than-thou, does it? I refuse to let people for whom iconoclastic ego trips are a favorite hobby intrude upon my honorable, reasonable holidays.

  5. George Thompson said on November 14th, 2007 at 12:18pm #

    Always on point Mr. Jensen. I’ve been abstaining from the lies of Thanksgiving for a few years now, including Christmas as well because the whole period of excessive consumerism, capitalism, delusion and infantilism sickens me beyond belief. It’s always tied up in religion as well and I’m a militant agnostic. I think we should designate the day before Thanksgiving the Day of Remembrance for American Indigenous Peoples. That would demonstrate that it overrides the actual Thanksgiving day and also would avoid the dreaded day-after Thanksgiving sales that signal the beginning of the shopping season that traps Americans in debt for the entire next year so they can commit the same atrocity the next year all over again. And to all the people that think we’re party poopers and raining on your parade, think about how it would feel to you if a group of people almost wiped out your entire race and then constructed a commercial, quasi-religious, annual celebration that marginalized the genocide that actually happened. Not so nice now huh?

  6. Robert B. Livingston said on November 14th, 2007 at 12:41pm #

    Jensen’s diverting self-righteous angst continues to really irritate me.

    What other troubling questions has he ignored too long? Where else has he gone along, to get along?

    What absolution is he searching for when he asks, “Once we know, what do we do in a world that is not yet ready to know, or knows but will not deal with the consequences of that knowledge?”

    For people who are truly concerned with knowledge, truth and justice, I strongly urge them to pick up a copy of Barrie Zwicker’s Towers of Deception and read it.

    Those who died on 9/11 had much in common with the Native Americans who perished in days of yore: foremost, they stood in somebody’s way.

  7. Gary Lapon said on November 14th, 2007 at 1:39pm #

    While I agree, as Jensen states, that it’s incorrect to state that “individual behavior in private is more important than collective action in public,” how does a private day of reflection (as Jensen will be having, supposedly) differ from a private celebration of Thanksgiving that ignores the dominant culture’s vision of the holiday, at least in terms of the effect it has.]

    Instead of coming up with his own anti-Thanksgiving event, if Jensen really wants to struggle for native rights maybe he would be better off seeking out indigenous movements to work with, or participating in the immigrant rights movement (as many immigrants from Latin America are indigenous to the Americas). I agree with Jensen’s statement that the macro is far more important than the micro, but in order to be consistent this requires shrugging off the politics of private morality and embracing the politics of collective struggle.

  8. HR said on November 14th, 2007 at 3:16pm #

    All that holidays, including those based on military glorification and religious myth, have ever meant for me as an adlult were extra paid days off. It was clear shortly after graduation from high school in the late 60s that these times of self-glorification were utter nonsense, intended only to keep us in line and supporting the status quo that is so beneficial to the wealthy. As far as I’m concerned, Columbus was no hero, the U.S. military has forever fought for the interests of the wealthy, no U.S. President actually stood for the rights of common folks, and there is no god. So, as I said, holidays for me were nice only because they gave me a paid day off. The rest of the nonsense associated with them is either blind, stupid nationalism, Christofascism, self-imposed ignorance, stupidity, or a celebration of consumerism.

  9. Glenn Bossmeyer said on November 15th, 2007 at 7:28am #

    It might be useful to remember that a day of prayer and thanksgiving for the last Thursday in November was proclaimed by President Lincoln in 1863 for a nation involved in a “great civil war,” as he observed that very month. There was no contemporary indication the founding fathers, the Pilgrims, or anything other than the war , and the sacrifices and opportunities for contemplation it created, inspired the proclamation or the holiday.

  10. ansel said on November 15th, 2007 at 8:01am #

    In short, the personal is political.

    @ Gary Lapon: That’s a good point. Unfortunately, there aren’t many opportunities here in Austin, TX, for solidarity with indigenous activism. And I don’t know what happened to the immigrants’ rights movement here, which manifested as a 15,000-strong march last spring but hasn’t been seen since.

    I dispensed with birthday celebrations a while ago because of the consumerism and self-centeredness that the dominant culture bases them upon. I wanted to re-claim the holiday and give gifts to others instead, but folks wouldn’t accept them. When I declared I wouldn’t celebrate b-days any more, I was ostracized by some of my good friends, including radicals.

  11. sandra stazzone said on November 15th, 2007 at 9:46am #

    I do not celebrate thanksgiving, christmas, easter or holloween. What do any of these so called holidays have in common with our Lord and Savior. Santa, the easter bunny, turkey, and most of all the evils of holloween have no place in a true belivers life. Jeremiah chapter 10 . These are all pagan holidays in the eyes of our Lord. For those who wish to seek the truth please read . I to use to celebrate them until I asked the Lord to lead me in truth.

  12. heike said on November 15th, 2007 at 12:37pm #

    Thr following blurb in Wikipedia gives some indication as to Mr. Jensen’s world view:

    According to Jensen, the United States was “just as guilty” as the hijackers in committing acts of violence. Jensen wrote that the Al Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon “was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism…that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime.” [1]

    Letters to the editor and reportedly over 4,000 complaints to Jensen himself denounced his article as insensitive and extremist, coming just three days after the attack. Several letters also criticized the newspaper for printing the op-ed piece at all.[2]

    UT President Larry Faulkner wrote:

    In his Sept. 14 [2001]Outlook article “ U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts,” Robert Jensen was identified as holding a faculty appointment at the University of Texas at Austin. Jensen made his remarks entirely in his capacity as a free citizen of the United States, writing and speaking under the protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. No aspect of his remarks is supported, condoned or officially recognized by The University of Texas at Austin. He does not speak in the University’s name and may not speak in its name. Using the same liberty, I convey my personal judgment that Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy. Students must learn that there is a good deal of foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at recognizing and discounting it. I, too, was disgusted by Jensen’s article, but I also must defend his freedom to state his opinion. The First Amendment is the bedrock of American liberty.

    I can hardly improve on President Faulkner’s words.

  13. HR said on November 15th, 2007 at 12:43pm #

    Sounds like Jensen’s is a pretty realistic world view. Maybe the university president ought to read a little history. Blinding oneself by waving the flag and adopting the “my country, right or wrong” outlook is not patriotism, but is only ignorance of the sort that has culminated (so far) in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in a country that had nothing to do with the attack in New York.

  14. hp said on November 16th, 2007 at 2:03pm #

    Don’t forget, a lot of people, many in very high positions of influence in our government , have dual citizenship. When you look at these “dual-citizen Americans,” and their views, it becomes apparent they aren’t dual at all.

  15. rosemarie jackowski said on November 17th, 2007 at 2:19pm #

    I am a fan of Jensen so I don’t know how I could have missed reading his 2001 article. I will search it out. I don’t know how anyone could dispute the causes of 9/11 and the fact that the usa has a long history of much worse. 9/11 was BLOWBACK

  16. rosemarie jackowski said on November 17th, 2007 at 2:24pm #

    I am a fan of Jensen so I don’t know how I could have missed reading his 2001 article. I will search it out. I don’t know how anyone could dispute the causes of 9/11 and the fact that the usa has a long history of much worse. 9/11 was BLOWBACK predicted by the CIA and others years before 9/11 happened. Jensen recommends Ward Churchill’s ‘A Little Matter of Genocide’. Churchill is another who calls it like it is and then pays a high price. Why don’t those in the anti-war movement (if there is an anti-war movement) stand with those such as Churchill, Jensen, and others when they are persecuted for speaking the truth?

  17. John Greenwood said on November 18th, 2007 at 11:57am #

    Here’s some more tidbits of cruelty from other societies to flog oneself over, even if one wasn’t a direct participant. Sadly enough, it appears that the U.S. wasn’t involved.

    From Historyworld. Net:http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ac84

    Cuzco and the Incas: 15th century AD

    In the early 15th century the town of Cuzco is a small place, the headquarters of one of many competing tribes within the region which was once ruled from Tiwanaku. But in about 1438 a younger son of the ruler defeats the neighbouring Chanca people, usurps power, gives himself the resounding title Pachacuti (‘transformer of the earth’) and begins an astonishing process of military expansion. The policy is continued by his son, Topa Inca (also sometimes called Tupac Inca).

    By the end of two long reigns (about fifty-five years in all) the Cuzco dynasty, known as the Incas, are in loose control of an empire stretching from Quito in modern Ecuador to the Maule river in Chile – a distance of nearly 2500 miles.

    The Inca expansion also shares some features with Genghis Khan’s programme of conquest. A few brutal military victories suffice to terrify other petty rulers into cooperation, and the success of the Incas derives partly from excellent roads and communications.

    From David A. Yeagley : http://www.badeagle.com/
    David A. Yeagley was born in Oklahoma City. He is a direct descendent of Bad Eagle (quin-ne kish-su-it), headman of a Antelope (kwerharenu) Comanche band (1839-1909). Yeagley is an enrolled member of the Comanche Tribe, Lawton, Oklahoma.

    Topic: A Comanche Look At Columbus, Why I Salute Cristobal Colon: Posted: Oct. 10 2002,2:11

    By the 17th century Spanish culture was everywhere in the Southwest, but when Comanches first encountered it we did not see it as a restriction or an inhibition. We saw a grand opportunity, and it changed our future.

    We stole some mesteños (Spanish mustangs), and the next thing you know, we were making raids in New Mexico in 1705. In little more than generation later, we were “lords of the south plains.” …

    From A book review of North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence
    Edited by Richard J. Chacon; Rubén G. Mendoza

    Despite evidence of warfare and violent conflict in pre-Columbian North America, scholars argue that the scale and scope of Native American violence is exaggerated. They contend that scholarly misrepresentation has denigrated indigenous peoples when in fact they lived together in peace and harmony. In rebutting that contention, this groundbreaking book presents clear evidence—from multiple academic disciplines—that indigenous populations engaged in warfare and ritual violence long before European contact. In ten well-documented and thoroughly researched chapters, fourteen leading scholars dispassionately describe sources and consequences of Amerindian warfare and violence, including ritual violence. Originally presented at an American Anthropological Association symposium, their findings construct a convincing case that bloodshed and killing have been woven into the fabric of indigenous life in North America for many centuries…

    From H. B. Nicholson, “Aztec,” World Book Online Americas Edition

    Warfare was considered a religious duty by the Aztec. They fought not only to enlarge their empire but also to take prisoners to sacrifice to the gods. The highest goal for a young man was to be a successful warrior. Men who took many captives in battle were rewarded. They received land, high social rank, and important government offices.

    Aztec methods of combat were designed to capture prisoners rather than to kill. …

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide
    The Armenian Genocide … known as the Armenian Holocaust, Great Calamity … or the Armenian Massacres of 1915 — refers to the systematic slaughter and fatal deportation of hundreds of thousands to over a million Armenians as well as the intentional and irreversible ruination of their economic and cultural life environments under the government of the Committee of Union and Progress during the First World War from 1915 to 1918 in the Ottoman Empire.

    The Armenian Genocide is widely acknowledged to have been the first true genocide of the twentieth century.[1][2]

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre

    For Iris Chang’s book, see The Rape of Nanking (book).
    The Nanking Massacre

    The Nanking Massacre, commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, was an infamous war crime committed by the Japanese military in the capital of Nanjing, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on December 13, 1937. The duration of the massacre is not clearly defined, although the violence lasted well into the next six weeks, until early February 1938.

    Rwandan Genocide
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War. This genocide was mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during about 100 days from April 6 through mid-July, 1994. At least 500,000 Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus died in the genocide.[1] Some estimates put the death toll between 800,000 and 1,000,000.[2]

    Flogging oneself over atrocities that happened long ago is not helpful in fact, it is nothing more than mental masturbation. Remembering it is helpful, preventing it in the future it is helpful.

  18. d. said on November 21st, 2007 at 10:13am #

    good to read some sanity sometimes!

  19. bozh said on December 17th, 2008 at 3:44pm #

    one caveat,
    euros who conquered americas, africa, much of asia r not, in my view, exceptional in their behavior.
    doing crimes against weak pops had been going on for at least 4K.
    according to historians, mongols headed by genghis, assyrians, avars, germans ’39-45, croats, russians, babylonians, et al have behaved in similar or same ways as amers.
    it is panhuman trait to rob/kill/enslave, etcetc.
    in case of amers, they obviously felt that they will never get punished for killing some 18mn redpeople out of 19mn or so.
    and since redpeople were so primitive/wild in amers eyes, it wasn’t that much difficult to rationalize it.
    another factor in murderous behavior by so many folks is that they believe, having been educated by clero-despotic class, fiercely in own independence even of natural forces which includes morality.
    yet the fact is, we’v always and r now totally interdependent. we have, i assert, survived on this planet and generated many folks, because ages ago people understood the value of being interdependent.
    having nukes, makes us interdependent; in it’s use as well as getting rid of them. thnx
    there is much dislike for dark people. yet w.o them we wld have never survived nor multiplied.
    america and its people r not independent.

  20. November 15, 2009 « Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? said on November 15th, 2009 at 2:47pm #

    […] critique of the holocaust denial that is at the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday. In two recent essays, I have examined the disturbing nature of a holiday rooted in a celebration of the European […]

  21. Thanksgiving and Racism: Link Roundup :: racismreview.com said on November 24th, 2009 at 4:45am #

    […] “Raining on the Thanksgiving Day Parade” – a follow-up to the previous piece, in which Jensen takes another tact:  “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.” Jensen refuses to participate in the holiday gatherings at all. […]