Ah yes that one Uncle. You know the one, he just got Facebook and can’t stop sharing things from the Australian Patriots League. His cover photo is an Aussie flag and if you were to bring up Pauline Hanson (don’t) he’d say something comically warm. So if holding your tongue long enough to say pass the bread rolls is tough for you, there’s no need to implode over a racist relative. Imagine the Thanksgiving events post Trump’s election, not a good time. So we’ve nutted out exactly how to deal with your One Nation voting relatives this festive season. There’s a way or two to call them out without causing a blow up.
As much as it might pain you to hear about their views on immigration and general support of a White Australia renaissance, stay with me here. If you listen first up, it shows empathy. It means when we get to the later steps you’ve shown them a little respect first up, which will make navigating the rest of the conversation much easier. Without the initial listening said relative is likely to cause an absolute scene.
Trying to understand them will be mind boggling at the very least, but put the unfathomable aside and try to see their main issues. Trump didn’t get disregarded for the sweeping awful things he said, instead it was tapping into pain points in forgotten communities. One Nation operates in a similarly grandiose manner, so isolate if it’s their immigration policy their all for or their handling of rural issues.
Tackle it politely
Once you’ve listened for at least a little bit, you’ve earned the right of reply. Propose an alternative to their closeted views, make them think. Asking questions is a good way to get them to realise their own missteps, rather than shouting, screaming, crying or violently correcting them. It may be the old adage that their against change or they could be blanket racists.
By countering their points with perspective you might spark another thought. One that’s at least a little more marginal. It’s good to plan these chats for as the food arrives, that way they can’t launch into a tirade with their mouth full of potato bake.
Hit them with the facts
Now racists in general aren’t all that logical, fearful sure but linear in though, no sir. Phrase the facts in a way that seems relevant to them. Instead of saying only 2.2% of the population is Muslim, mention instead that atheists take up an increasing percentage (30%), according to the 2016 Census. We’re swamped by non-believers instead of Muslims really, that’s sure to get the topic off the persecution of a minority. Well at least until dessert.
Move away from political party chit chat
If world events this past year has shown us anything, it’s evidenced a disenchantment with the major parties. Maybe it’s ineffectual Mr Turnbull or the infighting antics of Rudd and Gillard, whatever it is we’re all over it. Look to Britain or the US, party lines no longer act as a personality defining point.
So instead of criticising One Nation as a whole, maybe jump aboard the Malcolm Roberts train, he seems to be the weakest link. Or the one who left the party to join the party at Bob Katter’s place. If you focus on their individual weaknesses rather than overarching statements, their argument will crumble from within. And any attempts to assert credibility will be swept up with the Christmas cracker rubbish.
Use sarcasm to lighten the mood
In all you do at the table make sure to make it cheeky, sarcastic and light. You wouldn’t want to offend anyone. Leave that to your racist uncle. But in all seriousness, the dinner table is perhaps not the ideal education venue of choice. To school your ignorant relative would take to many a years to make it worth your while. You can still call out their insensitivity, just put a lighthearted spin on it. You’ll get blamed for the melt down no matter what he says.
Pick your battles
It’s better to say something than nothing at all. But in the spirit of the holidays be wise in what you choose to address. Said racist relative is insulated and likely nothing you say will change their mind. Practice the art of the redirect, if a remark is made move onto a safer subject. Like how delicious the ham is, how full you are or how excited you are for 2018. All safe spaces to attack.