Ah, the holidays, a time of merriment and cheer and your drunk uncle going on some unintelligible rant about the election. We’re willing to bet there are going to be some uncomfortable and frustrating conversations had at a lot of family gatherings this year (like, more than usual) but, with a little patience and just enough wine, these holiday dinners can be a perfect opportunity to educate your family members. Here are some of the topics that could come up at the dinner table this holiday season and some possible ways to respond.
When someone calls Hillary Clinton a liar and a criminal
First, you can remind them that literally every politician in the history of the world has engaged in dishonest and, likely, illegal activities. This is nothing new. You can then remind them of all the dishonest and illegal activities in which Donald Trump has engaged. And there certainly is a lengthy list, including hiring of undocumented workers, refusing to pay builders and contractors, connection to organized crime, charitable donations paid to himself and sexual assault, including the assault of minors. Have your pick.
When someone insists that #AllLivesMatter
There is actually a really useful response to this that has been going around on social media. Here is how it goes: Ask the person to imagine that everyone at the dinner table that evening has filled their plates with food”but not them. Their plate is empty, so they say, I deserve to have food too. In response, someone else at the table says, Everyone deserves to have food. This statement isn’t wrong. Everyone does deserve to have food but saying so does nothing to change the fact that your family member has none. Explain to this person that, yes, all lives do matter, but refusing to focus on the fact that black lives matter ignores the fact that they are at a greater much greater risk of police violence than most.
When someone starts rambling about the Standing Rock protesters
To start, there’s a pretty good chance that this person doesn’t even know what Standing Rock is actually about, so here’s a primer: Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and thousands of other supporters, camped out at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to protect the land against a company that wants to put in an oil pipeline and poison the drinking water of the surrounding area. If they still don’t think that’s worth fighting for, explain to them that the Sioux own this land under a documented treaty and that the project was launched without their consent or even consultation, as required. It’s unethical and unlawful and there’s not much to debate about that.
When someone claims that Caitlyn Jenner is still a man to them
Take a deep breath and a gulp of wine because you’re about to have the talk with a grownup. First, explain to your family member that sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex refers to biological and physiological differences between males and females. Gender, on the other hand, refers to the roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that society has constructed and assigned to men and women based on their sex. Transgender describes someone who does not identify with the gender that has been assigned to the sex that they were born with. In the simplest terms possible, their brain doesn’t match their body. And if your family member insists that he doesn’t believe in what you are describing, you can assure them that is a documented, scientific, medical fact that you don’t get to not believe in just because it’s hard for you to understand.