By the time you read this, you’re hopefully on the verge of a tryptophan-induced power nap as another Cowboys three-and-out fails to keep your attention. On this national We Slaughtered the Natives with Blankets Day, the holiday meal probably isn’t the only tradition exhausting your already worn-out noggin. As seldom-seen relatives converge at the table, you’re no doubt tired of hearing a year’s worth of political tropes your racist aunts and uncles learned by rote from talk radio and unleashed on your dispirited family.
The smart thing to do, you’ve more than likely assumed, is to just let them rant and hope it ends soon, like a wind-up toy that’s run out of juice. The more you resist, logic tells you, the longer and darker the diatribes will become. This year, try thinking long-term. If you shut down Uncle Jimbob’s bullshit now –– even if it means you’ll miss whatever generic C&W toad the Cowboys are trotting out for a halftime show –– you may never have to deal with political talk at dinner again. If you’re really lucky, your offending relatives who insist on whipping you with their bumper-sticker hackery may even mysteriously be out of town come Christmas.
The best weapon you have at your disposal is your space phone. One Safari search can shut down a racist meme fast. Here’s one you can practice at home.
Uncle Jimbob: “These idiots are teaching school children that the Civil War was all about slavery. Anyone with a brain knows it was about state’s rights.”
You (looking down at your phone): “Gee, Uncle Jimbob, it says here that slavery was listed as a reason for seceding in every Confederate state’s Articles of Secession. Is that right?”
Your racist relatives know only what talk radio has brainwashed them to believe. Their arguments are hollow balloons that pop at the slightest prick of scrutiny. In this scenario, there’s no way Uncle Jimbob knew any contradicting facts, because the people propagating this kind of rancor conveniently omit those details.
Maybe you’d like to take a more head-on approach in addressing holiday racism. Let’s try another one, but this time we’ll start with verifiable facts and then move on to a more abstract argument.
Aunt Lori: “If we don’t finish this border wall, rapists and drug dealers will continue to pour into our country.”
You: “The vast majority of drugs enter this country through legal ports of entry, and very few people crossing the border are criminals. That kind of broad, sweeping characterization is racist. The border wall is just another monument to white supremacy, entrenched in the ideology of dehumanization and brutality, Aunt Lori. It’s just a propaganda tool.”
You should anticipate that your racist relatives will use all manner of rhetorical whip-lash methods to drive the conversation back to territory that’s comfortable to them. They will undoubtedly employ an old Soviet rhetorical technique by saying, “What about the Clintons? What about voter fraud? What about no God in schools? What about whatever?” And be ready for phrases like “race card” or “race baiting.” You’ll be accused of swallowing the liberal media’s poison pill, being an unwitting puppet of George Soros (a racist trope in its own right), and falling victim to all manner of conspiracies echoed in the darkest corners of 8kun (formerly 8chan).
Just keep arguing until someone, probably the family matron, shuts down the discussion and insists you stop talking about politics. The most important thing to remember is this: Stay calm and keep eating. Your racist relatives will be overcome with red-faced rage as you poke holes in their worldview. You’re not going to change their minds. That’s not the goal here. All you have to do is make things so uncomfortable, you never have to hear their dumb racist bullshit ever again.