Ah, Thanksgiving. That yearly fall holiday where we gather around a table full of food and feel thankful that we only have to see or interact with most of the people sitting around us for one holiday a year. Luckily, it’s one involving food, so for the most part, their mouths should be too full to be speaking anyway — but, of course, there’s always that one that might have to get cussed out because they let that extra drink take control of their tongue, and now they are getting out of pocket.
For black people, the worst of these is usually your high-saditty auntie who can’t help looking down her nose thinking she’s better than everyone—or your uncle with all the extra side kids who are technically your cousins but aren’t related to you by blood because their daddy is only married to your auntie, and your granny been said that nigga ain’t about shit, so nobody pays attention to him anyway.
For white people, however, that mouthy relative can come with a whole other set of embarrassing issues that make everyone cringe and wish they could find a way to leave the dinner early without being noticed. Those issues may include the fact that said relative voted for Donald Trump, or the relative may be a not-so-secret racist—or, worse yet, a toxic combination of being both a Trump supporter and a racist.
For those white people, Showing Up for Racial Justice has created a Thanksgiving text hotline that can provide help for you when you find yourself trapped in a racist discussion about how horrible black people are and how their men plan to come take all the white women.
If you find yourself in one of these sticky situations, simply text “SOS” to 82623 and SURJ will send you “some key talking points that tend to come up in these tough conversations.”
SURJ is a “national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice.” Their stated role is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society.
In addition to the Holiday Mobile Hotline, SURJ has put together two Thanksgiving discussion guides—one focused on indigenous solidarity and one focused on racial justice. There is also the handy printable Thanksgiving place mat to help guide you through discussions about the origins of Thanksgiving, how the church has caused harm and just whose land we are really on.
SURJ sees all of this as “offering a few ways to help support white folks in having tough conversations with other white folks—conversations that are necessary if we want to break [the] silence about race in this country.”
As you sit with your family celebrating a holiday that has its origins in the mass slaughter of indigenous people and the ultimate theft and colonization of their land and resources, remember: There’s help for you to get through those difficult conversations with your belligerent white relatives who think everyone should just go back to where they came from in the first place.