There’s usually that one “special” family member who makes things awkward at best and ridiculously offensive at worst during the holiday dinner circuit.
You know the type: that one person who finds homophobic, racist or sexist banter and jokes funny or endearing over turkey and usually after a few bottles of wine. The ones who apparently didn’t get the memo that it’s 2016 and that behaviour is definitely not acceptable anymore.
Maybe you only see this said relative once a year – and that’s already too much.
One Toronto equity and anti-oppression educator wants to make sure this behaviour doesn’t go unchecked this holiday season.
Rania El Mugammar – who has a family member herself with a habit of saying racist things – is organizing a workshop in Toronto this weekend to educate people on how to effectively address the issue without ruining the holidays.
“People are very sensitive about their families and afraid to disrupt the mood when prejudice and racial stereotypes happen. That’s not really OK,” El Mugammar said, according to Metro.
Called ‘Shut It Uncle Bob,’ the workshop will offer tips on how to handle hate at the family dinner table without ruining that sentimental feeling.
First and foremost, El Mugammar says the key is to speak up, but to avoid appearing perfect to others.
“You have to think of it as a seed-planting moment,” she said. “You’re only contributing to that person’s learning journey, so you don’t necessarily have to preach because that can lead to people being defensive,” she told Metro.
At a time when society seems to be moving backward when it comes to accepting and celebrating our differences, some people really need all the help they can get.
Shut It Uncle Bob takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday at CSI Regent Park. Find more information here.
In the meantime, you can find our no-fail (well, usually) ways to reduce family holiday stress here.