By Tommy Gagliano
It is now December, and that means the most problematic time of the year is upon us. Everything turns red and green, Christmas songs dominate the radio, and everyone assaults each other in an attempt to get the last Nintendo Switch at Walmart as the world’s largest display of Christian privilege approaches. Thankfully, the highly offensive and exclusionary phrase “Merry Christmas” has been discarded, at least by most retailers. The phrase that has replaced it, however, is just as discriminatory.
If you say “Happy Holidays,” you’re a bigot, plain and simple. When you say “Happy Holidays” to someone, you are assuming their religion, which is extremely problematic. There are plenty of people out there that do not celebrate any winter holidays, and by saying “Happy Holidays” you are completely ignoring their existence and discriminating against them. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, atheism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Scientology, Pastafarianism, Klingon religion, and fire worship are just a few faiths that do not celebrate a holiday in late December, and therefore could (and should) be offended by that phrase.
The popularity that “Happy Holidays” has gained is further proof of the disgusting white privilege that is omnipresent throughout the world. It is no surprise that the phrases we use cater to Christianity and Judaism, the two whitest religions. Who cares that Christians and Jews combine to make up 72.5% of the United States population? It is unacceptable to feed into white privilege. We should instead focus on phrases that revolve around religions comprised primarily of people of color, such as Islam. It does not matter that Muslims make up less than 1% of the US population1. We need to actively fight against the oppression they have to deal with because of our racist, Islamophobic system.
I have come up with a few politically correct alternatives to “Happy Holidays” to make the world a more tolerant place.
First alternative: “Happy Winter.” The seasons are something that affect everyone, regardless of religion. Winter is pretty depressing because of how cold and dark it is. Because of this, “Happy Winter” is a great phrase to cheer people up, especially those that do not have to look forward to a winter holiday. Wait a minute… actually, a phrase revolving around weather and seasons may not be the best idea. I forgot that weather is racist and global warming has a greater effect on black people, and therefore they could be triggered by this phrase. Also, “Happy Winter” is discriminatory against people that live in the southern hemisphere, since December is summer for them! Oh my flying spaghetti monster, how could I be so inconsiderate?
Second alternative: “Happy Day.” Instead of focusing on exclusionary holidays, why don’t we just wish everyone a happy day? It is something that applies to everyone… except the people that live in the arctic circle! They get little-to-no sunlight in the winter. They do not experience “day” this time of year, but rather only night. Wishing them a happy day is very rude and offensive while at the same time could remind them of how depressing it is to live in darkness.
Third alternative: “Happy.” Just “Happy.” Anything following “Happy” could be deemed problematic or exclusionary, so it is best to just leave it at “Happy.” But wait, what about people with extreme chronic depression that cannot feel happy? Not only could the word “happy” trigger them, you are also asking them to do something that they are incapable of doing, and that is extremely ableist. I guess we will have to throw this one away as well.
Fourth alternative: “Praise Allah.” This is the perfect phrase to use to counteract the Christian and Jewish privilege that I discussed earlier. The “Christmas season” is the best time to use this phrase because it provides representation to the Muslims that are forgotten during this time of year. The other 99% of the population may be upset by this, but who cares? After all, they are privileged. Their opinions do not matter.
Fifth alternative: Nothing. Just don’t say anything. When anything you say could offend someone, it is probably best to just keep your privileged mouth shut. Actually, this can go beyond December greetings as well. If we want to create a more inclusive world, we should just stop talking, that way we cannot say anything that might be considered offensive.
I hope you will take this into consideration as we inch closer and closer to Christmas and Hannukah. You may feel tempted to say “Happy Holidays” to someone and think it is the polite thing to do, but remember that every time you say “Happy Holidays” you are oppressing everyone that does not celebrate a winter holiday. Don’t be a bigot.