First-year discovers colonialism

Megumi Rierson, staff writer

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Over the Thanksgiving break, most Whitman students were overjoyed to return home to their self-replenishing refrigerators, passive aggressive comments about lack of progress on finding a spouse and group texts with high school “friends.” One first-year student, however, was markedly less elated by the holiday spirit as a result of his recent understanding of colonialism in the first semester of his Encounters class. The student, let’s call him Marcus, was shocked to be the first person in his tiny, sheltered, insular world to “discover colonialism,” and that this colonialism apparently lies at the heart of the great American tradition of Thanksgiving. Since his revelation, Marcus has been relentless in his reminders to anyone with at least one functioning ear that Thanksgiving is a colonial, capitalist, neoliberal scam rained down on us by Satan himself.

In an exclusive interview, Marcus’ mother shared with The Pioneer that his favorite Thanksgiving foods used to be mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. This year though, all Marcus had to say about his mother’s cooking was that the gravy on the mashed potatoes “tastes like the tears of those who have needlessly suffered in exchange for this meal” and the cranberry sauce “tastes only of the blood shed by the Native Americans to whom this land rightfully belongs.” Marcus instead made his own meal of ethically-sourced quinoa, an ancient grain appropriated by white culture from South America in true colonialist fashion. Marcus’ mother requested that we at The Pioneer keep that secret from him “for the good of the family.”

When reached for comment, Marcus’ extended family members simply dubbed him “the worst” as they collectively reached for an open bottle on the dining room table.

Marcus’ enlightenment has put a major damper on various merriments that his family once enjoyed. When asked to share what each member of the family was thankful for, instead of a simple “family and friends” or “health,” Marcus went with a pithy “lack of smallpox and a sense of ownership over stolen land.” He then leaned over to his five-year-old cousin and whispered, “Santa isn’t real, and Christmas is just an appropriated pagan feast,” just for good measure.

Marcus’ family is hopeful that in a few years he will grow out of his tortured academic phase and join the American majority in blissful ignorance and occasional mild guilt about widespread massacres and smallpox outbreaks. Until then, they are all preparing for the constant stream of Upworthy links and snide reminders about their participation in the legacy of the colonialism that Marcus himself discovered and made true by virtue of his white maleness. Said one family member, “honestly, we’re just hoping no one ever tells him about Columbus Day.”

 

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