You know what’s really awkward? Racist remarks. You know what isn’t as awkward? Letting people know that in your home you will not tolerate racist remarks. While you may not have as much leeway setting boundaries when Aunt Margaret hosts turkey day, when the festivities are in your own home, you have more control. Yes, more wine helps. Humor also helps. And so does being firm. Here’s an idea — you could place a “Rules of the House” sign prominently — maybe in the kitchen or near the entrance — with some silly “rules,” like “No empty wine glasses allowed,” or “No bad jokes from Uncle Bob until after the turkey has been sliced,” mixed in with more serious and practical rules, like, “If you’re too drunk to drive, don’t,” and “Racist remarks will not be tolerated.” Then, if someone makes a racist comment, you can point to the rule board, remind the offender that you don’t tolerate that kind of language in your home, and say that a second offense results in no pie. I think the key is keeping it light — well, as light as you can keep potential racism in your home — while also being firm and vocal and consistent.
How do other people handle this sort of thing at family gatherings? Do you ignore it? Speak up? Pour yourself more wine? I imagine with the recent grand jury decision in Ferguson to not indict officer Darren Wilson, followed by riots across the nation, the topic of race relationships could be a big one at gatherings this Thanksgiving, where family members’ political and cultural viewpoints are bound to differ and collide. How do YOU handle these differences at holiday get-togethers, especially when viewpoints aren’t always expressed respectfully?
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