There’s a belief in certain liberal circles that the adulation of Thanksgiving brings about one of history’s worst harms: the promotion of White supremacy.
This didn’t seem too outlandish — at least before the election. Dozens of liberals, immigrants and scholars came out after the election of Donald Trump to say that the time had come to scrap the holiday. The phrase “disintegrate Thanksgiving” was pushed by author Zaki Baruti in an article he wrote on that very subject last December.
“So what do we gain from this holiday,” baruti asked. “Do we need to celebrate a Thanksgiving that merely focuses on gratitude for our freedom?”
“The three-day period is in fact a decades-long holiday produced by the settler-colonialists in Europe to celebrate the expulsion of their indigenous African populations,” he added. “Why would they do that?”
Some Americans saw the adoration of Thanksgiving as a forced “cultural genocide” directed at Native Americans and the rest of the world, and started speaking up. Robert Lopez, a Latino Studies professor at Cal State Los Angeles, even told The New York Times that the holiday is “racist,” even though its history is long.
Others say the American agricultural industry helped create the system of White supremacy that created the holiday. Professor Lisa Sherrill of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has argued that an 1876 law that mandated that farms donate turkey meals to veterans’ charities sent a specific message about White supremacy, and encouraged those farmers to openly support warfare.
One of the first scholars to protest American Thanksgiving was journalist Jacob Abi of Cambridge, Mass., who came out and said that the holiday contributed to the genocide of Native Americans. The Thanksgiving propaganda of the day was “racist” and should be scrapped, he wrote in the 1980s. He continued: “Deregulation of agriculture, with its profit-driven mechanization of land use, destroyed native communities and led to the extinction of 100,000 of them, over a period of 40 years.”
Abi told The Huffington Post in 2012 that “commercialized militarism is what Thanksgiving is based on.” He continued: “A lifestyle defined as ‘gratitude for free enterprise’ supported an ancient system of slavery, severe white supremacy, and warfare — all this documented in an enormously successful propaganda campaign. It does not take a genius to see that Thanksgiving is fueled by that historical legacy. It’s a defense mechanism, because many of its defenders don’t see much logic to it.”
But if one wants to go to Thanksgiving without that kind of ugliness and political correctness, they have plenty of outlets for viewing a non-politically correct view of the celebration.