Thanksgiving is Complicated

Every year, Thanksgiving rolls around, and every year, we wonder exactly what to say. Enjoy the holiday? Reflect on colonization? Boycott some kind of whitewashing? This year, we’re going to share one of our favorite mashups – Once Tongue Tied, which we shared in 2010 when we spotted it on the Sociological Images blog.

Once Tongue Tied was created by Samantha Figueroa who takes Adriel Luis’s amazing spoken word piece “Slip of the Tongue” and combines it with scenes from Pocahontas, transforming both works into new commentary.

Here’s the video.

If you are interested in the text of Luis’s poem, click here.

However, you choose to spend this holiday (with family, in reflection, or if it’s just another day) enjoy!

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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  • croquet

    This year we finally gave up Thanksgiving. We had been holding on to it by hosting an anti-Thanksgiving dinner where we ate anything but turkey. The meal began with a reading of “Oda de la cebolla.” During the meal, we would discuss the Wampanoag version of the first Thanksgiving.

    constelación constante,
    redonda rosa de agua,
    la mesa
    de las pobres gentes. – Pablo Neruda

    After the meal I would recite a poem in remembrance to my African ancestors who survived the middle passage, and birthed generations who also survived Jim Crow. Others bore stigma, scorn and danger to marry and birth bi-racial children of which I am one. The serious tone of the evening always gave way to music, dance, love and just plain fun.

    By not celebrating this year we have shrugged off another aspect of what I like to think of as the “dead weight” of US History; in other words, we have freed ourselves of another lie told to us since childhood. A trip down the rabbit hole is a journey from darkness to light. We don’t need an appointed to day to give thanks, we can do that at any time, just as we don’t need Valentines Day to prove our love or Columbus Day which is only a remembrance of genocide. This year our holiday celebrations will happen on the Solstice and the New Year. I will still write poems that honor my ancestors.

    My 72 year-old mother-in-law, (who is white), doesn’t understand. She has known about but has never been a part of the anti-Thanksgiving dinners. At first she said that she understood and honored the reasons why we have given up Thanksgiving entirely and then she said, “I don’t care about something that happened over 200 years ago.” And by that she means the genocide that enabled her family to establish a prosperous 1,100 acre farm.

    That farm is no more. Her generation is passing.