Thanksgiving: Another Capitalist Casualty

By Meg Grant, Age 21

I think many people have forgotten how to give thanks… or maybe they just never learned. I personally don’t think it is a difficult concept: be grateful for the things that you have. For some people, they may have a lot for which to be grateful; for others, it may take some time to see the positives in their lives. Either way, I am overall disappointed and more than that, disturbed, by the lack of gratitude that people have this holiday season.

Since I was young, Thanksgiving has always been about giving: now it seems it’s all about taking. I was taught that holidays are a time to reflect on what you are grateful for and to share your good fortune with others. They are a time to enjoy the most basic things that so many of us take for granted: food and family. But not anymore. Like so many other things in our society, Thanksgiving (which I believe is already a corrupt holiday due to its true origins of inherently capitalistic Native American genocide) has been further corrupted by capitalism’s best friend: apathy.

As a millennial, I have witnessed the decline of empathy in my generation. People fail to engage in emotional connections with both situations and people if neither have a direct effect on themselves or their lives. They have the ability to distance themselves from any real tragedies unless they can somehow connect their own wellbeing to said incident. It is pretty disgusting, but I have almost become numb to such behavior due to its prevalence. With that being said, the fact that I feel inundated by the apathetic actions of people this season means that it must be overwhelming.

My heightened frustration with people’s lack of empathy could also be due to my new job placement in working retail at a mall. Since I began here in May, I have told all my loved ones that at one point in their lives everyone should work retail. It is an experience that allows you to see the very large spectrum of humanity, including both extreme ends. It is also a job that is completely misunderstood and undervalued by the general public, which makes negative comments about people working retail. So, the next time you think about shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, think about what those employees are giving up to help you with your purchase. Capitalism wants us to think that working these holidays is just part of our job, and technically, it might be… but should it be?

My point here is that getting the best sales and mistreating retail staff to do so has become a main focus of Thanksgiving. Fighting for lower-priced items at the expense of overworked retail workers and slave laborers has become synonymous with a holiday where we are supposed to be showing humility and magnanimity… So, I guess Thanksgiving really hasn’t changed that much since the first one when the Europeans exploited the Native Americans.

Young Women Rising encourages Connecticut women ages 18-35 to raise their voices about issues they care about. Each writer speaks for herself as an individual and Young Women Rising as a whole does not intend to endorse the views of any particular writer. If you’re interested in submitting a guest piece please contact us at

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