RICHMOND, Va. — Fan resident and self-proclaimed social justice warrior, Coleman McCormick, returned to his apartment Thursday night feeling a great sense of regret and shame after being unable to counter his dementia-ridden grandfather’s racist Thanksgiving rant with anything but nervous laughter.
Grandpa Mac, a 91-year-old resident of the Hermitage Richmond memory support unit, spent Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by loved ones at the McCormick family’s West End home. Throughout the meal, the McCormicks had to endure obscenely racist comments regarding a wide variety of non-white ethnic groups. Despite his strong feelings that this was not acceptable behavior, Coleman found that all he could do was anxiously giggle and change the subject along with the rest of his uncomfortable family members.
At one point during the dinner, Aunt Margaret attempted to engage Grandpa Mac in pleasant conversation by commenting, “I hear you and Christy had to swing by Wegman’s on your way over. That place is pretty nice, isn’t it?”
Grandpa Mac responded by shaking his shriveled fist and using ass-puckering terminology to express that the check-out boy had been of African American descent.
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Bug-eyed and grasping for a change of subject, Coleman franticly chuckled before asking, “Grandpa, you’re not eating. Is something wrong with your turkey?” only to hear that America’s Spanish-speaking neighbors were somehow responsible for his low appetite.
“Ha ha! Oh, Grandpa Mac. Here, have some more yams,” Coleman countered.
In an attempt to occupy the elder McCormick, Coleman’s mother Christy moved Grandpa to the living room to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade with a slice of pecan pie. Unfortunately, Christy turned on the television just as the Hello Kitty balloon was being broadcasted live, at which Grandpa Mac launched into a bizarre tirade about how “kids these days are gobbling up foreign commie crap instead of honest, hardworking American cartoons.”
Coleman sat on the edge of his bed later that evening, his head hung low in shame. Instead of rising to the occasion, the McCormick family had sat around the dining room table with a look of sweaty, constipated horror and a manic grin.
“I’m so ashamed,” Coleman moaned. “I have spent the entirety of my adult life protesting against racial inequality, but I just couldn’t tell my grandpa to shove it.”
When reminded that Christmas is only a month away and the McCormicks would be forced to endure another holiday dinner with Grandpa Mac, Coleman could only respond with a sigh and a single word.