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What do you think of the criticism of Thanksgiving being a culturally insensitive holiday?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 22, 2006

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Photo of Brittany Payne

“Everyone is going to have their own opinion about it. If they think it’s insensitive because of their cultural background, then there is no way that I can argue that it’s not.”

Photo of Foster Coburn

“It’s not in the least bit, I don’t think. I don’t see anything in the historical tradition that says that it was purely settlers or purely Indians. I think that everyone sat down at a feast together and we still sit down at a feast together.”

Photo of Naomi Welch

“I think that it is just as culturally insensitive to Native Americans as Christmas is to Jews or Muslims.”

Photo of Rick Daugherty

“I think it probably is a little culturally insensitive, but it would be unlikely to find enough people to seek any change in it.”


Linda Aikins 11 years, 4 months ago

I just think that deep down inside, aren't we all turkeys? So why can't we just get along?

classclown 11 years, 4 months ago

There you go merril. We can change it from Thanksgiving to "Powerup Feast". A day for eating as much and consuming as many calories as possible in preperation of the upcoming shopping madness.

The reason for eating turkey is to induce turkey poisoning in order to make sure one gets plenty of sleep and is well rested for the event.

Of course this will only be necessary until such time as Christmas is eliminated for various PC reasons.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 4 months ago

They could call it by its' original name....HARVEST HOME....a holiday which europe celebrated for centuries prior....Basically the same thing...being thankful for the bounty providence has provided......thank you history channel for reminding me of this.

classclown 11 years, 4 months ago

How about we never celebrate anything? No matter what it is, there is going to be somebody "offended" by it.

BrianR 11 years, 4 months ago

Thanksgiving is usually the first great day of holiday overeating and political correctness often induces vomiting so I think it's a natural marriage.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

I think this question would be better phrased, "What do you think of those who are offended by Thanksgiving?"

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

At this point in history it could be called the day before a mad house shopping spree.

Meanwhile enjoy food and friendship.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 4 months ago

As a child we used to fast on Thanksgiving.Kind of a statement.Now that I am older I have come to the conclusion that it's a fantastic way to take a day off. I do wish that the myth of Thanksgiving was taught a little differently in public schools but,all in good time. Culturally insensitive?No.It's a Euro-American holiday and a lie.But that IS Euro-culture.So,whats the diff? Since it is permanently on the books I think us natives should rename it and celebrate it in our own way.Harvest festival?Got-everything-done-we-need-to -so-bring-on-the-cold-winter festival? I believe that the level of thanks should reflect the moment,not the fairy tale.It's a changing of the seasons and I am grateful that I have stockpiled enough to see me through the winter if necessary.A warm home and I am pretty sure of my health. Many have not and that is a tragedy but,I put something in Sally's kettle.Lord knows I've taken enough out!!

trinity 11 years, 4 months ago

i don't think it's ever wrong to give thanks to whomever-God, Allah, Buddha, Mother Earth, etc etc etc-and i'm dead serious! gather family&friends, cook oodles of good food, and always always keep gratitude in mind. oughta do that way more'n once a year, though.

i'm with blueharley-Happy&Blessed Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas to all! :)

Topside 11 years, 4 months ago

Toughen up America. It's all so PC and everyone is just sitting on the edge of their chairs until the next time they get offended so they can spring into action. It is Thanksgiving and has been a Holiday or at least celebrated for years, quit being a Kill-joy.
So Kramer dropped a few N-bombs in a tirade. He apologized so drop it. It didn't have to be the headline on CBS news 2 days in a row did it? THey said it might ruin his career, NEWSFLASH, if anything it will jumpstart it. Like he was ever going to get another gig as anything but Kramer again anyway.

It's not even the Border War this weekend its been PC downgraded to a showdown. and 5 yrs from now it will be the Border Hug.

ControlFreak 11 years, 4 months ago

I could not care less about Thanksgiving or Christmas. To me they are just days to get off work.

But Consumer1, come on...

"get back on the potato truck and go back where you came from"

Is that your great wisdom? I was born here, so were a lot of people. Some of those people don't like or are offended by Thanksgiving. I'm not saying that I agree with it, because it is a day to get off work.

However, it just shows ignorance to say things like that Consumer1.

Ceallach 11 years, 4 months ago

How about something we all can get behind? Whether or not we support the war, nearly, if not all of us support our troops. The site below is hosted by Xerox and provides a number of card designs, messages, or allows you to send your own message to a member of our military. Xerox will print the "Thank You" cards and they will be distributed to the troops. It only takes a minute. The designs are by children across the country.

Among the many culturally insensitive aspects in this world, this one in quite innocuous. We could call it "Take a break from worrying about being PC and just give thanks for what you have received day." What's so hard about that?

sister 11 years, 4 months ago

To the tune of "The More We Get Together"

Gobble gobble gobble gobble fat turkey fat turkey gobble gobble gobble gobble fat turkey am I I'm not here for living I'm here for Thanksgiving gobble gobble gobble fat turkey am I

I hope that wasn't insensitive of me

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

I think Brittany is a pretty smart freshman, not many kids that age would have even understood the question. Well they would have understood but not understood, and yes I do make sense.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

how about this if you are offended then do not celebrate the holiday. Variety is the spice of life people, accept everyone for who they are not holidays they celibrate or religion they are or culture the came from.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

By the way, I am not a fan of labor unions, so Labor Day offends me. I think Labor Day should come under fire as an insensitive holiday for people like me.

Or how about the ever-popular Valentine's Day offending single people? I'm single, so it should be an offensive holiday for me.

Basically, we take offense too easily, and we make the loudly offended too noble. I'm okay with people being offended, but I am tired of that being used as a weapon against everyone else.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

sister, loved the song. Our fat turkey did not like today very well. She lobbied to do away with Thanksgiving, but being in the minority, it did her no good. She new it was official when the hubby went out this morning early (so she didn't really have time to wake up yet) and chopped her head off with his finely sharpened axe. As I sit pleasantly at my computer, the hubby is now cursing every last feather he is plucking with my good pair of $12 tweezers. (I guess they can be steralized.) Oops, do people not want to know where their food comes from? Did I end my sentence in a preposition? I'm sorry. That was insensitive of me. :)

As for cultural holidays, I'm not Chinese, but I celebrate Chinese New Year. I'm not Mexican, but I celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Fiesta de los's all good! Think I'm gonna go eat a potato latke. (If that's OK...since I'm not Jewish...but I just love the things!)

KsTwister 11 years, 4 months ago

LJW should be ridiculed for even publishing such a stupid question, let alone the guy missing some screws for asking it. The only people who don't care for Thanksgiving i would think are anorexic,after that who cares what the rest think.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 4 months ago

My mother taught me that Thanksgiving was a day to be grateful for the people and things that we have in our lives, not a day to whine about what we don't have.

All the rot about the first Thanksgiving and the pilgrims and the indians didn't really mean squat to me as a child. Taught in school, yeah, but I discovered the real story as an adult, so I never understood what the big deal was. It really had no impact on my life.

If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, do so. If you don't want to, then don't. Seems simple enough to me.

But it seems to me that you can at least take one day a year to be thankful for the people and things in your life, regardless of what race, religion, or ethnicity you happen to be. And I don't understand what's wrong with that.

Stop sweating the small PC stuff, and be grateful for what you have.

I will be going to a funeral today and saying goodbye to a wonderful, beloved aunt. And it really sucks that this is happening the day before Thanksgiving.

And yet I'm still thankful. I'm thankful that this beautiful lady was part of my life for as long as she was. That she was there for me to love, and for her to love me, for whatever time we had.

That, to me, is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Ceallach 11 years, 4 months ago

Labor Day is about unions!! Now I'm offended . . . I've always assumed it was another day to recognize our mothers, giving them a day of rest for the time they lost in labor. In some cases they lose more than one day : seemed only right they should have 2 days dedicated to them.

If you don't want to celebrate, don't do it. You have a day off, use it. Some have two days off, that in itself is something to celebrate.

BS20 11 years, 4 months ago

another excuse for people to b!tch. It is a day of thanks and appriciation for recieving. People really know how to ruin one of the few times that I get to spend with my family. THANKS!

sublime 11 years, 4 months ago

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beatrice 11 years, 4 months ago

My favorite PC thing was the USDA last week replacing the word "hunger" with "low food security." That way, there are no longer "hungry" people in the good old U.S. of A., just those suffering from "low food security."

Hope y'all have over abundant food security tomorrow, with plenty of gravy. Cheers.

Oh, and I hope some of you don't get offended when I return your "Merry Christmas" with a "Happy Holidays," or possibly nothing but a polite smile. Remember, that being upset or offended thing runs both ways -- So, Wonderful Kwanza, everyone.

roger_o_thornhill 11 years, 4 months ago

Some of you are OOC. Close your eyes. Breath in through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth. Count to ten. Now don't you feel better? Obviously nobody alive today had anything to do with the colonial behavior of the past. Don't take things so personally. Teach/Learn the truth. Don't eat too much. Don't bet on football. Take a walk after your meal. Sleep in and don't drag your kids to wait in line at the store @ 4am on Fri.

Some of you who question some people's distaste for Thanksgiving though should think about what you think about things like the commodification of Christmas. Or the Easter Bunny dancing around after the Jesus was nailed up & brought down. Maybe you don't care? Maybe it bugs you a bit?

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

roger: "Don't bet on football."

You could bet on the Lions to lose every game, and you might finish the season with a profit.

conservativepunker 11 years, 4 months ago

Get over it already. Damn. People need to remember sticks and stones. Don't have such a thin skin. Ok, go check your stool for blood now, whiners.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

Py, I believe it was, "How often do you check your tire pressure?"

sister 11 years, 4 months ago

Py - You crack me up! I have a birthday cake for you under my habit. lifts skirts and sings Happy Birthday"

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm offended that my d@mn turkey weighed 32 pounds and I had to cut the bugger in half! Now I won't have my "Norman Rockwell" Thanksgiving. How can I possibly serve half a turkey? Did Norman paint half a turkey? No? I didn't think so.

In about 3 months, I'm going to have to defrost the other half and be mad all over again. rant, mutter, fume...

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

oh people just enjoy the day or not, this really is not a big deal. Heck just have a good old fashioned bbq with no hint of tradition, the holiday is still thanksgiving, and that is what people should do be thankful for at least one thing in your life and for those that are offended, tey should be thankful that they have the right to say so for the whole world to hear.

Shelby 11 years, 4 months ago

this is really just an excuse for us to post crap here on

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

Sgt, you wouldn't believe all of the "almost flat" tires that you see on cars parked in high school parking lots. We are failing our chldren by not teaching them this most important issue of low tire pressure. I blame myself. I'm so ashamed that I'm going to start a group. "Parents Against Low Tire Pressure." Charitable contributions are accepted. Oops. Not PC. That should read "People Against..."

Sister, how do nuns celebrate Thanksgiving? You could bust loose from the convent and crash my table.

badger 11 years, 4 months ago

I don't celebrate the whole Pilgrim nonsense.

It's 'Dead Bird and Gluttony Day'. Mmmm, dead thing roasted with stuff in it.

And pie.

I get together with friends and family and worship at the altar of pie and dead bird, and it's all good.

Sometimes, there are yams. Yum, yams.

ohjayhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

sue, I think it was Norman's largely unknown brother Earl Rockwell that painted half a turkey... perhaps that is why he is largely unknown.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 4 months ago

PY and SGT, I've never been offended, so you two stop discriminating against the unoffended.

I told college roommates once that you had to change the air in your tires every three months or it would eat the rubber. One of them actually went to a station and asked to have the air in her tires changed. har har har

And I was the only blonde in the group....

Kat Christian 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree with Brittany's comment. Very intuitive of her.

beatrice 11 years, 4 months ago

RI: it should be "to hell with PC ... until you land on a topic I find offensive!"

I think Brittany, a junior high student(!) has it right: "If they think it's insensitive because of their cultural background, then there is no way that I can argue that it's not."

She isn't saying she buys into the argument or is willing to change anything about her own actions, but that if someone says they are offended by something, then guess what? They are offended!

This doesn't mean that someone can't be overly sensitive -- heck, when I have worn my "Cancel Easter -- They found the body!" shirt on Easter day, I've had people come up to me saying they are offended! Can you imagine? What wimps. Get over it, I say, it was 2000 years ago. Move on, and live your own life.

Okay. I'm not serious about owning or wearing such a shirt -- I just made that up to make a point that different people take offense to different things. There is no good reason in trying to ridicule anyone who is offended by Thanksgiving, as some try to do, -- nor is there a need to try to adjust your own actions if you do not agree with their issue.

Personally, I can understand why some might not want to celebrate the beginning days of what would end with the slaughter and death of millions of American Indians, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to stop getting together with family and friends to enjoy massive amounts of food and drink. I'm also not going to feel guilty or bad about doing so, but I can see why some might. Is a little empathy really too PC for y'all?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

southerngirl 11 years, 4 months ago

I do not have a fat butt (size 6), I do not have a cake slipped under my skirt (although, I may try that one later for Mr. Southern...) I love Thanksgiving although I am challenged in the culinary department (my brother is a 4 star chef in England-go figure) so we are going to deliver meals for our church and then going out to eat at a local buffet. I am not responsible for the oppression of the Native Americans, not responsible for the past or current oppression of other races or religions and am very thankful for the diversity that we have in the US. I love to learn about other cultures and respect their celebrations as I would hope they would mine. I had a five year old in my classroom who almost died last weekend after having a 2+ hour seizure. I am thankful for three healthy children (even if my teenager is trying to kill me!!) I have a co worker who is battling cancer of the brain, liver and hips. I am thankful for good health. I have a warm home, good food and many friends and loved ones, a job that challenges me and that I love to go to everyday. I am so very lucky. For these things, I am thankful and that is what this entire holiday season will be about for me. Have a great holiday fellow posters...thanks for making me think and for making me laugh many, many times over the past year. Deanne

beatrice 11 years, 4 months ago

near the end should read "that doesn't mean I'm GOING to stop getting together with family and friends ..." I fully intend to pig out, and likely bet on football.

jonas 11 years, 4 months ago

Bea: That would be a great shirt. Don't back out now!

EasilyAmused 11 years, 4 months ago

What is the proper psi for tires? Always wondered - I just air them up when they look flat.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 4 months ago

Southern Girl wins the four-legged turkey award! Nice post. Now THAT'S the spirit.


sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

EasilyAmused, if I remember correctly, the proper psi for your vehicle should be on a label on the driver's doorframe.

Bone777 11 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why losing our national identity has to be associated with the holidays, every year.

southerngirl 11 years, 4 months ago

SWEET potatoes baby!!! and that 5 cup salad a.k.a heavenly hash stuff my mom makes..ummmm (ooh, sorry, I'll wipe the drool off of the keyboard)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

R_I, are you saying in Pennsylvania there's a bar at an ATM and it has a water closet?

southerngirl 11 years, 4 months ago

But Bone, aren't we identified by our diversity? We are a nation of immigrants (except the Native Americans). I am Greek, Finn and Texan. Weren't your ancestors from other lands too? We all celebrate, but with our own unique slant taken from our family culture. What an incredibly cool thing! We aren't losing our national identity, it is constantly evolving with our nation and our collective experiences and self concepts.

Bone777 11 years, 4 months ago

southerngirl - Nice answer.

My father was adopted and my mother came from a hodge podge of Indian, Jew, German, etc., so I identify with the few holidays I get off of work, plus birthdays. If they would like to declare some more, I will celebrate them.

I am not a big fan of being PC, just to be PC. I think I would rather see it described as US. Ultra Sensitive.

Like I said, I have enough 'diversity' in my ancestory, that I could be the most sensitive guy in the world. I'm just not.

When they start handing out reparations, then maybe.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

RI, it has been proven in the past that my table cannot actually be crashed.

Southern, Just taking a wild guess, but I bet Mr. Southern would appreciate pie more than cake.

Py, would you pick me up a bottle of red while you're out?

ms_canada 11 years, 4 months ago

Culturally insensitive to whom, may I ask? No one is forced to observe it. If you don't like it, just go about your own business. From the sunny shores of the Pacific, ms_canada says I trust that you all will have a loveiy Thanksgiving Holiday with your loved ones. And don't forget to think about the things for which you are thanksful. It doesn't matter who you are thankful to, just be thankful for what you have.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

Happy Thanksgiving Ms Canada! A hearty "hadee hidee ho" to your sis in sunny San Diego. I'll be w/ my sis, et al, tomorrow as well. (And I shall be thankful.)

Linda Endicott 11 years, 4 months ago

Thanks, Ceallach...

Wonderful Kwanza to you, too, Beatrice. I don't celebrate that holiday myself, but those who do don't offend me in the least.

I have no problem with wishing people a happy holiday, whatever holiday (or non-holiday) they happen to be celebrating.

I only wish others could do the same.

southerngirl 11 years, 4 months ago

Sue, Mr. Southern and I have only been married for 11 months-it's all sweet love!!

southerngirl 11 years, 4 months ago

Bone-"If they would like to declare some more, I will celebrate them." Declare your own holiday! Why does everyone else have to do all of the work! LOL Celebrate!!!

kcwarpony 11 years, 4 months ago

I would like to take the opportunity to express my thanks to all of you for being you. The funny ones, the caring ones, the thinkers, and even you little stinkers! You all make lurking so much fun :)

To each and every one of you, Happy ___! (Fill in the blank)

To each his own...

Katara 11 years, 4 months ago

"Did Norman paint half a turkey? No? I didn't think so" ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ How do you know? He could have just painted the "good" side of the turkey. ;D

sister 11 years, 4 months ago

Sue - Not sure when your turkey is table-bound, but an evening appt. could be arranged to take care of left-overs. I finished off the white Merlot two nights ago, but I do have a Zin I could bring.

youngitized 11 years, 4 months ago

To those people who are offended by the Thanksgiving Holiday...GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!! Go find someone else to irritate and quit being petty.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

Okay, I'm so offended that I'm leaving work now. So happy Thanksgiving to those who don't mind it, and lousy Thanksgiving but happy Thursday to those who do.

I'll be back to be offended later.

sister 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm offended that 75% of my coworkers have the day off and I'm stuck here "doing time."

sister 11 years, 4 months ago

The Turkey Song ~ Adam Sandler

Turkey for me Turkey for you Lets eat the turkey In my big brown shoe Love to eat the turkey At the table I once saw a movie With Betty Grable Eat that turkey All night long Fifty million Elvis fans Cant be wrong Turkey lurkey doo and Turkey lurkey dap I eat that turkey Then I take a nap

Thanksgiving is a special night Jimmy Walker used to say dynomite Thats right Turkey with gravy and cranberry Cant believe the mets traded Darryl Strawberry Turkey for you and Turkey for me Cant believe Tyson Gave that girl V.D.

White meat, dark meat You just cant lose I fell off my moped And I got a bruise Turkey in the oven And the buns in the toaster Ill never take down My Cheryl Tiegs poster Wrap the turkey up In aluminum foil My brother likes to masturbate With baby oil Turkey and sweet potato pie Sammy Davis Jr. Only had one eye

Turkey for the girls and Turkey for the boys My favorite kind of pants Are corduroys Gobble gobble goo and Gobble gobble gickel I wish turkey Only cost a nickel Oh I love turkey on Thanksgiving

Happy Offensive Thanksgiving everybody!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

sister, sucks to be you!

My turkey usually hits the turkey around 2 pm. That way, we are all starved so we overindulge like there's no tomorrow and we have a few hours to feel crappy before we want another roll and some pie. Feel free to stop by. All of the "non-celebrant" people should be gone by the pm. :)

Katara, that is the best answer for the 1/2 a turkey delema I've heard! I shall ponder this all evening.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

sister, BTW, yes, bring the is your door pass.

Ceallach 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure where the rumor started that Native Americans were not immigrants. They just got here first, thereby making them First Nations people, not Native Americans.

The First Nations people in my family celebrate Thanksgiving with a vengence . . lots and lots of good food. Speaking of which, I have to shop for the makings of a corn casserole I will be taking. . . er. . ah . . maize casserole.

bea baby, I don't take the slightest offense if someone does not tell me Merry Christmas, I want them to enjoy the holidays in whatever way fits/suits them best. Matter of fact, if I am aware of another's spiritual or personal preference I greet them accordingly. How hard is that?

Love and Peace to all y'all. Hope you have a great holiday break, plenty of food, and family/friends with which to share it.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

Ceal, thought I was done menu planning but I love corn (er, maize) pudding and now I just might add that as well. :) (It smells sooooooo good in my house right now.) I'm already hungry.

beatrice 11 years, 4 months ago

Ceal, I figured you would be the type to not let a little thing like a greeting trip you up. There are some, however, that do make a big stink if you say "happy holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." Bill O'Reilly was trying to make a big deal about it last year on his show, if you recall, and I've read similar grumblings on this board here. I'm just pointing out that everyone, at some time or another, gets offended by something. Empathy is the key, as I am sure you can understand.


Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

people just enjoy the day for whatever reason you want. Be thankful for something or not just enjoy da*m.

boredwithu 11 years, 4 months ago

Happy thanksgiving everyone! Does anyone know what hapend to "inmate"? Am I the only one missing him?

Linda Aikins 11 years, 4 months ago

And Hannibal! Maybe they are sharing a cell and no longer need us???

SpeedRacer 11 years, 4 months ago

"What do you think of the criticism of Thanksgiving being a culturally insensitive holiday?"

What criticism. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 4 months ago

If inmate and H_L are sharing a cell, then H_L doesn't have a cellmate!

Sean38 11 years, 4 months ago

Eating all one can before they leave the house- there is such a concept! heeheehee .....

Sean38 11 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, it was interesting to read about how Lewis and Clark camped in the central Kansas City and had the camping, etc. If not for these guys there would probably be no K.C., Lawrence, many parts of the upper midwest, Montana, no Lewiston, Idaho, no Clarkston, Washington, and so on. I've read about their travels alot and am very intersted in it. I was interested in how they taveled the Missouri River, and their descriptions of the area down there as well and alos about how the MO river originates in Great Falls, MT. Their drawings and descriptions are almost exactly the way things are now but the Kansas and MO rivers have changed course a number of times. Yes, .....wherever you go,.....there you are!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 4 months ago

If it took the hubby and I four hours to properly clean a 32 pound (dressed) turkey, I can't imagine how long it would take H_L to fix his Thanksgiving meal!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow everyone! (Even that idiot on the bicycle that pulled out in front of me tonight in traffic and actually drove into the side of the moving car next to me. A fraction of a second difference and he would be toast! No helmet and no brain! Now you have no bike and you'll get a bill for the damage to the car. Yes, Happy Thanksgiving to you most of all! Be thankful you still have a life!)

Goodnight all!

KSU_WILDCATS 11 years, 4 months ago

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