One week since I walked the earth of India, and it feels like just yesterday I complimented a cotton tree, giggled with a coconut, and cried to a caterpillar. But don’t worry, America was sure to squeeze my cheeks (the ones on my face) like a New Jersey grandma telling her grandson her little baby has been ever so missed. I was welcomed with white foggy breath and icy winter roads. Think Indian traffic is bad? Throw some ice on a Midwest interstate and you’ve got vulnerability crawling up your pant leg.
Overall, my homecoming has been pleasant. I will admit, going to Wal-Mart the day after Christmas made me feel nauseous. People everywhere, carts overflowing, and stuff stuff and more stuff. Nothing says “Welcome to America” like “Made in China.”
The consumerism and materialism that suffocates the Holiday Season left me writing bitter 2am-Christmas-Morning-Facebook-Posts:
Maybe if I had a big fancy house with a nice chimney, Santa would bring happiness, love, joy, and toys to my home. …Na, I think I like it better without the added stress of having the house clean for Santa. Also, I don’t want to feel bad when there’s no milk or cookies sitting out for him. Our fridge hasn’t worked in two years, and we’d just eat all the cookies immediately since we’re greedy, ungrateful, junk-food-eating slobs. So it’s okay. I’d rather Santa visit a more worthy home.
Merry Classist American Christmas!
The current materialistic Christmas leaves America’s bottom half feeling like there’s something wrong with us. Christmas is made out to be this reward system for more financially secure families. Santa has a list for who’s naughty and nice. If you’re good, you’ll get presents. If you’re bad, you get coal or your house is skipped. So, if you don’t get presents, then that means you’re bad, right? Well, yes, according to this logic. So, essentially, Christmas is just another way to tell lower-economic individuals they are bad, undeserving people. They have nothing because of the choices they made. They made bad choices. Huh, but that’s kind of funny because I bet the Wall Street men who cheat on their wives and steal Americans’ money, I bet they have an amazing Christmas filled with laughs and lavishing gifts.
I know people say Santa visits homes without chimneys too. But you’re missing the point. Most lower-economic families don’t have chimneys, and when the Christmas fantasy is centered on some fat white man who exploits small people and then comes down chimneys like some hero, people who don’t have chimneys (or who aren’t white) feel like they don’t fit the perfect Christmas scene.
You know, I believed in Santa once. It’s true. One Christmas Eve night I found a brand new purple bike with my name on it from “Santa.” My brother and I couldn’t believe our eyes. “Maybe Santa is real” trembled from our lips. I cherished that bike. Found out a few years later a participant of Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” bought it for me.
Look, I don’t care about presents, toys, or stockings. What I care about is the discrimination of lower-economic class people. Yes, our houses are usually dirty. Yes, we probably use drugs, smoke cigarettes, and drink the days away. Yes, we’re sent to jail. Yes, our minimum wages remind us of the little self-worth we have. Yes, we feel inadequate with our lives. Yes, our limited vocabulary sounds vulgar to some. Yes, you saw us in detention as children. Yes, we’re reminded everyday that we make bad choices and cause our own pain. But no, we are not bad people. We are worthy. We are tired. We are artistic. We are so much more than society will ever see. We know what pain is. It smacks us across the face as we watch our mothers be thrown through windows and walls. Maybe our art isn’t valued because it’s spray-painted across the company that supports our low wages, but it sure is creative and meaningful. We become adults before we’re even out of the womb. Who has time for lullabies when there’s no one there to even wipe off our cries. We’ll work work work until we’re replaced because that’s all McDonald’s workers are seen as anyway, right? Easily replaceable. Because there’s so many of us. We’re like that cockroach infestation you paid to have exterminated. Oh but we relish in our roaches. We are the roaches. Just squash squash squash us because you know we’ll keep breeding. We’ll keep starving for your work because it’s our only option, a predestined fate. But just you wait. I feel an earthquake.