What You Need to Know to Argue With Your Family Like an Adult
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What You Need to Know to Argue With Your Family Like an Adult

Tips for surviving this year's holiday season.

What You Need to Know to Argue With Your Family Like an Adult

With the great joy of holidays comes great stress of being around your family (your immediate family, your extended family, the family you’ve never met before and didn’t know existed until now) for long periods of time. If your family gatherings are as disastrous as mine, you spend 75% of your time locked away in your bedroom, your car, the doghouse, and literally anywhere you won't be bothered by your racist uncle. Unfortunately, for the other 25% of the time, you have to hear all about how much said racist uncle hates the Black Lives Matter movement and how we should never allow immigrants into our wonderful, thriving country. And, of course, how much he looks forward to Donald Trump's promise to "Make America Great Again" (the rest of us know that it was never really great, and Trump's really setting an impossible bar for himself).

To get through this holiday season, I've compiled a short list of things that may help you not want to shoot yourself in the foot at every waking moment.

1. Hope that you develop superpowers really soon so that you don't have to be there.

This is really your best option. I wish you the best of luck.

2. Bring facts, facts, and more facts

This is the main one. Show up to Christmas dinner with a whole book if you need to. And try not to get them from websites or Facebook pages such as "Right Wing Conservatives" or liberalnews.com. I mean, come on.

To avoid the majority of the liberal/conservative bias, use news stations and sites from outside the United States (namely from the UK), such as BBC and The Economist. Since it is based outside of the US, there is little reason for them to be overly biased either way, and it is widely trusted amongst both political parties.

When you have facts instead of just opinions, your racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic/etc. relatives are far more likely to listen to you. Let's work through an example:

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: I can't believe the Obama wants to accept more refugees. Thank God Trump is going to be president. He'll turn things around. He won't let terrorists come in and start shooting people and blowing s*%t up.

You, unfortunately stuck at the dinner table with these people on Christmas: They actually don't pose any more of a threat than our own citizens. In fact, in the 83(!) mass shootings in the US since 1982, 48 of them have been committed by white people (if you're curious, fourteen were black, six were Latino, six Asian, three Native American, and six of unknown ethnicity). That's a solid 58% (you may have to point out that it's a majority, because they might not grasp that). And all of them were US citizens.

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: Refutes your argument with a source like "Right Wing News" (I'm not even lying, my dad has cited this as a source in his arguments with me).

3. Use the Socratic Method

Socrates used a teaching device called the elenchus,which is close in meaning to cross-examination. Truth is discovered in conflict of ideas and the answers ones gives to questions. Essentially, the goal is to cross-examine your opponent's argument until they go back on their values. Works like a charm.


Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: The Black Lives Matter movement is just a bunch of thugs smashing windows and lighting fires. They're like the modern-day KKK.

You, still stuck at the dinner table with these people on Christmas, in disbelief that someone actually did just insinuate that the Black Lives Matter protest has the same values as the KKK: [rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F12%2F02%2F636162577841756151587204606_500_9431663_1441596466.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=268&h=144f828d2f376042a14dff19d8ab2cb2eb6fca1ed6100583a0ee4b5ffefd4d30&size=980x&c=109503381 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F12%252F02%252F636162577841756151587204606_500_9431663_1441596466.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D268%26h%3D144f828d2f376042a14dff19d8ab2cb2eb6fca1ed6100583a0ee4b5ffefd4d30%26size%3D980x%26c%3D109503381%22%7D" expand=1]

Just because some people took things too far doesn't mean that everyone who supports the movement is advocating for destroying property.

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: They still support the same cause, though, which makes them just as bad.

You: Didn't the KKK endorse Donald Trump?

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: Yeah, but that doesn't mean everyone who voted for him is racist!

You, looking into the camera like you're on The Office: So, by the logic you just used with that statement, a small percentage of people does not represent the views of the masses.

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: Exactly.

You, hoping to be done with this argument already so you can go back to enjoying your ham: So, the people throwing Molotav cocktails in Ferguson and Chicago don't represent the larger movement of Black Lives Matter?

Racist/xenophobic/homophobic/misogynistic relative: That's not what I said!

Yes, it is. Check and mate.

4. There comes a point when you need to cut your losses

Some people are just really that ignorant. Either that, or they're just really that bigoted. Either way, there comes a time when you need to accept the fact that you're getting nowhere with this. No matter how many statistics and facts from reputable sources you bring up, they keep countering with things they've seen on Fox News, and they're just not going to listen. When it comes to this point, just roll with it. As hard as it is to give in to the hatred and bigotry. Remind them that their President-Elect is a Cheeto-dusted human trashfire, and leave it at that. Excuse yourself to do the dishes. But not theirs, because they're racist.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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