Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas is the Worst

I couldn't be in deeper agreement with the wonderful School Library Journal opinion piece by Kendra Jones, Ditch Holiday Programming.  In summary, her argument, which you should read and consider deeply, goes, you aren't expert enough to offer any holiday programming and your attempts at inclusion are misguided and possibly offensive.  I'm telling you, it's true.  I don't want your token menorah. I really don't want your tree and there is no language that makes me believe your tree isn't Christian.

Here's the thing, though. Christmas is the worst. The. Worst. And I don't even care. There is a reason why we let Christmas slide when it is (because it is?) the most all-encompassing and DEEPLY religious time of year. There is a lot of talk about how there is this secular Christmas. Look, you just said "secular Christmas," so it isn't secular. It's Christmas and even non-religious, agnostic and athiest Christians celebrate it. There are hundreds of winter holidays. Their presence in the same season does not imply that they are related to one another. Conflating other winter holidays into a Holiday Season is an erasure, a sublimation, an added slight.

So Christmas is everywhere, but I don't even care. I mean, whatever. Have it. I grew up in a non-religious American family. I got winter presents. There was a tree. I wouldn't do those things now, but I feel no need to stand up and demand a space at this time of year. I mean, it's great if you want to advocate to your peers on my behalf, but this is not a moment when I want to stand up and shout about what it feels like to be systematically excluded and to have my faith elided into yours. (anukah is NOT CHRISTMAS, it is not even close, not even in the same town.) If you ask me I'll explain (or refer you to the article above), but I'm not about to pitch a fit about it.  It's not important to take a stand on this hill.

Not on a hill that will be defended to the death. Why would we chose that moment, that thing, to take a stand on? No, it's a time for retreat every year. Because there is no way that we'll ever win this in a way that will mean anything really. Meanwhile, there are real things that we need to stand on: Can you adhere to your religious obligations without taking vacation days (are you allowed vacation time for this?)? Do you have to explain yourself if you do get to take time off work? Do you breathe a sigh of relief every time you see your religious building still stands, is not vandalized? That's just this fall, that's not counting every day things, and not counting the people that literally want me dead. So take the tree. It's a good reminder that I'm never truly welcome here. I'm not going to fight it. I'm saving my energy for a fight that matters, a fight that may save my life or livelihood.

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