Historical Context Shouldn’t Ruin Thanksgiving

Francisco Sanguino/Contributing Writer

My childhood, much like anyone else’s, was riddled with family gatherings, potlucks and the obligatory dancing ensembles. Though I was never quite fond of the blaring music or trivial pleasantries, I grew to love these moments. Soon enough, I became overjoyed by the prospect of the holiday season whenever November rolled around.

Unfortunately, these thoughts are not as pervasive with today’s society.

As concerns over political correctness increase, student groups have called into question the historical context surrounding these traditions. Thanksgiving, specifically, has become a point of contention.

Considering its relation to Native American tribes, students have decried the decades-old tradition as a celebration of racism and the colonialist mentality that pervaded 17th century Europe. 

Despite their well intentioned motives, this movement is fighting shadows.

It has become widely accepted that Thanksgiving is modeled after the 1621 gathering that saw Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians celebrate their first harvest. Considering the violence that ensued, outspoken student groups would be correct in critiquing its continued practice. 

However, the continued celebration of Thanksgiving found its origin elsewhere. Ordained a national holiday in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln intended that the feast be a reminder of unity in a then war-torn nation. Since then, its history context has shifted but the intention remains the same: a gathering of individuals that supersedes any ongoing conflicts.

Ignoring this line of reason, student-led movements continue to undermine the very essence of Thanksgiving and the role it plays in upholding traditional American values enshrined within the US Constitution. 

More than just students, these rejectionist ideals have become commonplace among Generation Zers, or those born between 1995 and 2010. In doing so, they have created an unnecessary blemish on Thanksgiving celebrations; a blemish which is unfortunately worsened by its basis on historical misconceptions.

Following this progression would lead to a society where history is inevitably seen as a detriment. As a result, the continued protection of family tradition and diversity would become vestiges of days gone by. 

Despite upsetting my youthful reticence, family gatherings, such as Thanksgiving Day, were truly central to my upbringing. Imagining a youth deprived of this experience is simply unconscionable.



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