Is Thanksgiving Racist?

I love the holiday season. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas; this season is my favorite part of the year. But with every holiday season comes those who want to make the rest of us feel bad for celebrating. Those people come in many forms: actors, musicians, Leftist politicians, and most of all, university professors. This year, the browbeating is coming from University of Texas journalism professor, Robert Jensen.

In his column, No Thanks for Thanksgiving, Jensen has a lot to say. Rather than summarize his column in my own words–which would not be nearly as hilarious–I will provide some excerpts for your general amusement.

  • “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.”
  • “Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits.”
  • “That the world’s great powers achieved “greatness” through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.”
  • “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.”

Those are just several of a litany of brilliant quotes from Robert Jensen’s column. He certainly has a way with words. Jensen goes on to talk about the racism of past presidents, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and FDR, and the barbarism of America’s past. He complains that the elites in society speak of the founding fathers’ wisdom reverently, while whitewashing their misdeeds. He concludes his rant by calling for open-mindedness and atonement for the sins of the past.

I have several things to say about this:

1. Everyone knows about our history. It mirrors the history of every other nation in the world. At some point and some time in every nation’s past, cruelty and brutality has occurred. While it is necessary to study and understand the darker parts of our history; it is not necessary that we dwell on them.

2. Thanksgiving is not a celebration of the slaughter of a people; it is a celebration of the blessings in our lives. Just as Halloween is no longer a pagan harvest festival dealing with demons and ghouls, Thanksgiving is not shackled to the past.

3. Humans are not perfect. The founding fathers–for all their brilliance–did have faults. That doesn’t mean that it is wrong to celebrate what was achieved in our constitution through these incredible, though imperfect, men.

4. Finally, we are not whitewashing history by celebrating Thanksgiving. Is it so wrong to let something go? To look to the past for insight and understanding, while knowing that we have moved on? To not have to fast to pay for the sins of our fathers? The answer is no.

People like Robert Jensen are so consumed by their righteous indignation because it makes them feel good; it makes them feel superior. They are suffering, so they want to drag everyone else down with them.

In summary:

I have two points. First, this man is a professor at a university; he is teaching classes and molding the minds of young people. Professors like Robert Jensen are more common than you may want to believe. These philosophies are designed to appeal to young people, many of whom easily fall into the comfortable trap of self-importance. We cannot allow this generation to fall so easily to the charms of a snake. Educate your kids.

Second, knowledge of history is important; it keeps us sharp and grounded. But to dwell on the misery of the past; to try to atone for the sins of our fathers, is unhealthy. This season, I will be thinking about the blessings in my life and thanking God for what I have. I’ll leave the self-hatred to Robert Jensen.