By Alex Temblador
The holidays are upon us and with that brings family. For some, it’s a glorious time to rekindle relationships with family members you love whom you haven’t seen since last year. For others, there’s this feeling of dread deep in your gut. You’re going to have to see that racist/xenophobic/sexist/transphobic/homophobic aunt, or uncle, or parent, or sister, or brother, or cousin and has been blasting your Facebook with demeaning memes targeted at your type of family or other diverse families. Curse the bloody holidays, is a phrase you know all to well.
If you can’t convince your spouse to go to their lovely stress-free family’s home for the holidays this year, and you have to come in contact with those dreaded family members, never fear. We’ve got 10 ways you can handle those racist, xenophobic, homophobic family members of yours — and we hope they make you laugh. We know you need it.
- Stuff everyone’s face with food.
If they’re eating, then they can’t speak. Hit up Pinterest and make a ton of tasteful creations that you can stuff in your racist’s uncle’s mouth every time he tries to open it. If they’re gushing over your awesome dishes then they can’t talk speak nastily about Black Lives Matter.
- Wine will make everything fine.
Wine is a magical elixir that let’s you sit back and relax before you have to be in contact with your homophobic family members. Bring a couple of bottles to the gathering — it can’t hurt! Just make sure you have a DD or an Uber to get you home. 🙂
- Sorry, I can’t hear you.
Oh, darn, you just got an ear infection! Or that’s what you say when you enter the family gathering on Thanksgiving Day. “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Got an ear infection, so there’s no point in really talking to me,” you tell your xenophobic cousin.
- Cough attack!
It’s the winter time and that means that coughs and colds are real likely issues for many people. Your brother wants to praise Trump’s sexist comments — cough attack! Hopefully they won’t notice that the only time you’ll stop coughing is when they silence their tongues.
- Oops, did I do that?
Channel your best Steve Erkel during the holidays and get a bit clumsy when hateful comments are made. Your grandad wants to repeal the 19th Amendment? Oops, just dropped your drink on the floor. Your cousin is saying rude things about transgender persons? Oops, did you just bump into him on accident making him fumble his plate? Create a distraction that gets people away from their convos and focused on something else.
- Don’t stop talking about your kids.
They can’t say anything racist, homophobic, or xenophobic if they don’t have a chance to get a word in. So brag your little heart out about little Susie and Johnny. Talk about their school, their sports, their music lessons, their bed wetting issues and get others to talk about their kids — it’s utterly genius.
- Sit at the children’s table.
Often children are seated at a separate table from the adults. If you need to escape from those family members and their shocking language, join the kids at their table. The conversation will probably be more entertaining.
- Schedule another holiday event that evening.
Oh, dang, you have another event and you just can’t stay long! Need some excuses? Here’s a few: you have to go to your spouse’s holiday gathering too! Or your boss invited you to their house for the day and it’s going to help you get a promotion. Or you promised to volunteer serving food at a homeless shelter (if you use this last excuse, actually do it. It helps others and you.)
- The compliment divert method.
People just LOVE to talk about themselves. When you think a family member is about to get going with something that will make you grind your teeth, divert them with a compliment. “Is that a new shirt?” “I heard you got a promotion!” “Wow, you lost weight?” “I love your pants where did you get them?”
- Take a stand.
Or pass on these passive-aggressive ways to survive the holidays and just take a stand. Let your family know that you and your family will not stand for hateful language. Take a stand and let them know that you don’t want your kids exposed to racism, xenophobia, homophobia, or sexism and to be mindful of their language. Take a stand and remind everyone that holidays aren’t a time to spread hate, but to be thankful for what we have.
Find your own way to speak your truth — we got your back.