Sophomore sports staffer Alexander Robinson (third from right) celebrates Thanksgiving with his cousins on Nov. 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Robinson’s extended family is racially diverse, resulting in a banned political conversations at family gatherings. Photo courtesy of Mona Robinson.
Sophomore sports staffer Alexander Robinson reflects on political tension surrounding Thanksgiving Break.
My mother’s extended family diffused throughout the South in the early 1990s. From Maryland to Florida, her siblings and relatives started families of their own across the Eastern Seaboard. Due to this, family gatherings are often rare, but all the more special when they occur. This is still true today, although in recent years, national political events have changed the conversation at the dinner table.
No one racial group makes up a majority among us; we all identify as either white, black, Asian or — as is most often the case — multiracial. Political conversations are often tense because of this. We are not afraid of voicing our opinions, but rather of upsetting one another over a poorly worded point or phrase during an argument.
To say the least, the current political atmosphere is polarizing. The conversation could be an open discussion about foreign and domestic policy, but it is not. Instead, we spend that time voicing our various opinions concerning rival football teams. Football’s great and all — I’m a sports staffer — but conversations of those nature feel as though they’re being forced in order to avoid a more unpleasant discussion.
I understand the reasoning behind the unofficial ban on political conversations at family celebrations, but arguing first and then agreeing to disagree whenever things became too tense would, in my opinion, be a better solution than not talking at all. Until that day arrives however, everyone’s confined to their own beliefs during the holidays.
Once all is said and done however, I’ll always love my family and know they are supportive of me. Despite the polarization America currently faces, we all manage to respect each other’s opinions from election cycle to election cycle. After all, political rivalries have never really destroyed a family. Right?