Nothing thankful about Thanksgiving

Last week was Thanksgiving Day. The day brings about a whole lot of American traditions. Turkey roasting, Black Friday, longest weekend, cyber Monday, you name it…….

I wrote about how I thought that Thanksgiving was a very neutral holiday and one that did not have any political, religious or other affiliations. A professor of mine, sent me a very interesting link to an article written by Robert Jensen, in the online journal counterpunch

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting

I must say, I take my words back. I will do some more research and reading before I make up my mind on this issue, but as of now, I retract what I said earlier in this post.

Robert Jensen writes

One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter.

Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it’s also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.

Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.

Continue reading at counterpunch

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