The Case for Gratitude

On this day dedicated to thanksgiving, I’d like to resurrect something written a few years ago by Nezua at The Unapologetic Mexican titled: Let’s Have Nexus.

To summarize, Nezua was looking for the common roots of the various “isms” that are being exploited to divide us.

I prefer not to dally too long dissecting the symptoms of manifested underlying ills, but prefer to look directly at those broad reaching paradigms or beliefs that inform them…Because if we all are truly interested in forming an ongoing conversation that cuts away the the husk of empty discourse and scoops out the Essential, we have to look not only at the symptoms of hate, violence, authoritarian rule, and oppression, but at the seeds that inform them and keep them entrenched, as well as socially acceptable. These vines are by now thorny and tangled and hearty, but the seeds were planted long ago, and the nourishment is delivered by all of us, and every day.

He finds those roots here:

… it seems to me that entitlement is key to nearly all atrocities, and that any threat to perceived entitlement will provoke hatred.

Entitlement is simply another way of talking about white male heterosexual privilege…those with the privilege are entitled to their central focus in our culture while the experience and perceptions of “others” are simply dismissed.

And so, what is the antidote? Gratitude.

And after all, what happens when we remove that sense of entitlement?

We grow humility.

What happens when you nurture a sense of humility in place of entitlement? You place your feet on the same ground as I…Entitlement is the antithesis of gratitude. And honestly, you are one lucky human.

Those of us with privilege often struggle with what to do about it. One response that doesn’t do much to change things is that we feel guilty. It seems counter-intuitive to feel gratitude. But as Nezua points out – authentic gratitude is the opposite of entitlement. Recognizing that we have something we didn’t earn strips away the assumption that we are entitled to it and opens the door for humility…and gratitude.

And honestly, I’m one lucky human.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.