William S. Burroughs, ‘Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1986’.
despite how I’ve materially benefited rather enormously from the conquest of the Americas, and how, on the basis of a few ancestors scattered in my maternal line (and the general theme of emigration as a good option for religious minorities that pervades my ancestral history), I should feel a connection to the hegemonic narrative of poor downtrodden English Protestant religious refugees looking for a better life in the so-called New World, and blah blah blah-
not grateful, so much as enraged.
however much you love the United States and how important the thanksgiving ritual is to you personally and conceptually, it’s important to remember that it memorialises something awful as well. it is not neutral- it is ambivalent, perhaps, but not neutral. like a lot of other dominant narratives and rituals that form part of U.S.ian nationalism, it is made of much that is truly wonderful and inspiring and much that is truly horrifying and unspeakable, all at once.
how you choose to negotiate that is your prerogative- I’m not saying there’s any right way to do, or not do, Thanksgiving, or that there’s any inherent good in opting out (as I’m doing). I’m just saying that it’s important, for non-Indian U.S.-Americans, to remember all aspects of the terrible burden and marvelous privilege that come with this particular national identity, and to think critically about what it means to have so much invested in nationalist ritual.
omg in love forever with jasika nicole for using this william s. burroughs video.