By Jesse Turner
I recently celebrated my sister’s birthday with much of my immediate and extended family. I have a very conservative family and given the current election, conservative political and social ideas are often a topic of conversation. It took roughly twenty minutes before Colin Kaepernick was brought up, and not in a positive way. As someone who is well-versed in ideological family conflicts, I am here to give you advice on talking to the older adults in your life about frightening new ideas like gender roles, feminism, and protesting.
I know you care about the adults in your life and you want to protect them from harmful, scary new ideas. But as the times change, so must the people. If you don’t talk to your parents about tough topics, they’ll seek the information elsewhere. Who do you want your parents talking to? Glenn Beck? Bill O’Reilly? I didn’t think so.
Always start by giving your parents the facts. Asking someone for their preferred gender pronouns when you meet them won’t hurt you. The United States will not burst into flames just because Colin Kaepernick exercised his constitutional right to kneel. And no, Grandfather, the downfall of the American family did not begin because women were given the right to vote.
Next, address the many startling images the adults in your life may be seeing on television or on the internet. Tell them it’s really not OK to share that racist meme. Be sure to remain attentive and make sure they know you’re listening to their concerns. You may hear some of the following questions: “I don’t mind people being gay, but why do I have to see it all the time?” or “Why doesn’t Christopher Columbus get any respect anymore?” and the classic, “This is my country, why do I have to press 1 for English?” Now, you may want to respond to these questions with anger, but remember, they’re learning and you’re there to help them learn.
Do your part, and make talking with the conservative adults in your life a regular part of your day.