My first Thanksgiving with white people
November 16th, 2011
09:05 AM ET
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LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs

I was told the substance in the glass casserole dish in front of me was potato salad - but I wasn’t buying it.

Why was it white?

Why was it smooth?

And where was the red stuff that goes on top?

It was 1998, and I was having my first Thanksgiving dinner with white people.

Now on the one hand going to his parents house for the holiday was a very good thing. I was in an interracial relationship and we had progressed to the point in which he felt comfortable doing so. But on other hand, I was a bit troubled when I walked through the door and didn’t smell greens cooking. Were we too early? Were they in the fridge?

As I was being introduced, I took a nice deep breath and...nope. Not a whiff of collards, or turnips or even the Tito Jackson of greens—mustard. For a moment I thought I had wandered into an episode of the Twilight Zone or maybe my mother had hired a witch doctor to put a hex on me because she was mad I wasn’t coming home.

I mean, it was Thanksgiving.

Who doesn’t cook greens on Thanksgiving?

It was a real eye-opening experience for me in that up to this point, I thought we had pretty much navigated across the sea of cultural differences between us. I taught him how to play spades, he taught me gin rummy, it was all good. But now there was this string bean casserole with dried up onions on my plate and a dish of naked potato salad in my face and I was beginning to think we wouldn’t make it.

It’s Thanksgiving. Why isn’t there any paprika on the potato salad? How come there isn’t any hot sauce out on the table? How come there’s nothing to put hot sauce on?

I was willing to do anything for love. But I wasn’t ready to do that.

Give up greens, and dressing and sweet potato pie.

I wasn’t ready to give up Thanksgiving.

I grew up in a household that if a particular aunt or uncle didn’t make their signature dish for the Thanksgiving festivities, the rest of us spent the rest of the day trying to figure out who they were mad at. We didn’t cook food just to eat. We cooked food to show love. It takes a lot of effort to make a dish of potato salad large enough to feed all of the mouths that would come together. It takes a lot of patience to pick all of those greens from the stem. And whoever volunteered to clean and cook a pot of “chitlins” had the biggest heart of all.

Had the kindest soul.

That’s what soul food is about. My family didn’t have a whole lot to give, but what we had plenty of was love and we poured that love, our soul into the food.

But the problem with the phrase “soul food” is that it insinuates no other kind of food has that soul, that care.

I knew it was good, but I wasn’t sure if it was made with the kind of love I had seen my family put into their food. How could I? My sphere was not very large, my worldview limited.

But as I’ve grown and had the chance to travel and become a citizen of the world, I realize that there’s a whole lot of people who are not black putting their whole heart and soul into their cooking. And it is good and it is delicious and it is full with a lot of love.

Looking back, that Thanksgiving Day was one of the most pivotal moments in my life. I had worked so hard to get into college and earn a scholarship, and yet I really didn’t know anything about people outside of my own experiences. Sure, I took classes and learned about people who weren’t black. I had been roommates with and worked with people who weren’t black. I was even dating someone who wasn’t black. But it wasn’t until I left my comfort zone and broke bread in someone else’s that I realized I was book smart, street wise but a little worldly dumb. And when I began to meet black people who didn't cook soul food and whites that did... well, let's just say some of the best lessons in life are not taught in school.

The potato salad - while still naked in my eyes - was pretty good. So was the pumpkin pie.

I’m not going to pretend as if I didn’t miss a lot of the smells and tastes of the Thanksgivings I was accustomed to. But I will say that if it wasn’t for that day, I might not be the adventurous eater that I am now. More importantly, it would have taken me a lot longer to understand the difference between accepting our differences and celebrating them.

And for that, I am forever thankful.

Submit your own "It's not Thanksgiving without..." story on iReport and catch up on past installments

Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and these next two weeks, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. Catch up on past coverage and stay tuned for the live blog from our Secret Supper in Chicago on Wednesday night starting at 6:00 CT.



soundoff (2,159 Responses)
  1. sheila19

    I grew up in the northeast and have lived in places like Miami, Mississippi and New England. Everywhere I've lived food is a staple of the culture and it is fascinating to learn other people's traditions. I make black beans and rice, Cuban pork, empanadas and tres leches. I also make black-eyed peas and greens for New Year's. My son loves catfish. My husband's family is from China and Sunday brunch is now often dim sum. When my mom first moved to Mississippi with me we went out for Thanksgiving dinner and she freaked out that the dressing was made of cornbread and the pie was sweet potato instead of pumpkin. She never adjusted to the food being "wrong". Embrace the opportunity to try new things and broaden your experience.

    November 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jeanne

      I've got you all beat. My story is not black and white but North and South. My family (North) made everything from scratch the day of thanksgiving, so when you walked in the house you smelled the turkey, etc. My southern halfs thanksgiving consisted of all the food being made 3 1/2 hours away a week before and driven up the day before thanksgiving. When it was time to eat a tupperware was opened (cold) and set on the table, a can of green beans opened, and maybe a hash brown casserole. What ever didn't get eaten was carried from relatives house to relatives house the remainder of the weekend. I must say I would rather eat up North.

      November 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
      • safeson

        I thought it was just my ex-in-laws who did that (southern)!!

        November 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  2. becca

    This sounds more like a northern/southern difference than a black /white difference. My SO who is from the south eats greens and sweet potato pie. While I am from the north and don't. My potato salad is not smooth. Why do we always assume it is a difference between black and white? Why can't we find the real cause of the differences between people? It's just too easy to blame color in this country.

    November 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Ally

      " And when I began to meet black people who didn't cook soul food and whites that did... well, let's just say some of the best lessons in life are not taught in school." And that's exactly what the author is saying. :-)

      November 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
      • Carol

        Absolutely!!! I loved this! My experience was a Southern/Polish one!

        November 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
      • dustydog

        Another great article LZ...love your work. This made me laugh out loud.......Ally sumed it up well.....enough said !

        November 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  3. jen

    So is the author of this article suggesting that white people don’t put the heart and soul into their cooking? How shallow is this guy? Why was he open about dating a white girl but not able to embrace her differences? BTW collard greens SUCK! -

    November 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Ally

      No, he's actually saying that this experience opened his eyes to traditions that were different than the ones he grew up with. And that it was a wonderful experience.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • GvilleT

      Not enough bacon grease. That's what makes them good.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Ava

      Jen, he was dating a white GUY.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • Bob

        It appears that Jen's reading comprehension skills are lacking!!

        November 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • mels

      Jen, did you actually read the article? Please go back to grade school before you try to stick your 2 cents anywhere....idiot!

      November 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • dustydog

      Jen dear...........the author is gay. He was honored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. While reading comprehension was not a focus in your high school / college studies, perhaps you should be a bit more careful with your opinions. it is obvious that he was writing from his own experiences and offered a comparison. Nicely written and pretty easy to follow......then again there is that whole reading comprehension thing..........

      November 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    I've never like the traditional thanksgiving of Turkey, and stuffing. My husband is the cook and we usually make egg rolls. We're white without a hint of Asian blood. Our kids love it and we have a system where our daughter rolls and our son supervisors.

    November 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  5. Daniel

    Another racist black; yes, I know – blacks aren't racist or bigoted or biased, are they? BS

    November 17, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • RocketJL

      Pretty clear this person has no idea what Thanksgiving is all about. Maybe racism is the only word this person has in their vocabulary as she 'begins' college. This is pretty late in life to know there are people out there who have lives different than yours. I really feel sorry for this guy and would like to have a status report one year after they get married, if they get married.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
      • jaybee

        "she" ???? what article are you reading ????

        November 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • jaybee

        RocketJL...let's just hope they CAN get married :-)

        November 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ally

      Aside from a rather inflammatory title designed to get pepole to read the article; there is nothing racist about it. Unless you think discovering new and different traditions and enjoying them is wrong....

      November 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • wishy3

      He is also gay...so a black gay racist?!

      November 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
      • TurkeyDayGirl

        I don't think this guy is racis .but I had a Mexican Gay Racist neighbor once. It can happen.

        November 17, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Calous

      Daniel, that is so not true. Black people are not racist. It is the white once that let us black believe that they are our 'friends' / GF or BF and thereafter talk the greatest nonsense behind our back. I know!!! Black people are very nice people giving a lot or showing kindness without excepting many. At a point when it doesn't suit you white once any longer you cheat your way out of whatever the relation was to be.
      I must add, I don't know whose loss it is: white or black.

      November 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
      • Liz

        I'm pretty sure racism isn't confined to any particular race. Nor is ignorance, obviously.

        November 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  6. drny

    My husband is Puerto Rican and I ove our Thanksgivings full of foods from my childhood in Virginia and his on the island!

    November 17, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  7. Morgan

    I thought this piece was sort of fun. I had a similar experience at work yesterday, listening to some black ladies talking about their holiday dishes. They plan on making greens, and chitlins, and using lots of hot sauce. It made me smile to think that there are people in this country who celebrate the holiday with something besides my mom's wiggly cranberry sauce and dried-out turkey.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  8. Sidney

    I enjoyed the article and why get offended? I'm a white guy and haven't ever had Thanksgiving with a black family but I am sure I'd enjoy it and all the different foods to try. We live in the USA folks, there are dozens of different cultures that all have their own traditions. Embrace the diversity, don't hate it!!

    November 17, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  9. LouisianaGirl

    First, I'd like to say that I enjoyed the article and how the author talked about how this dinner helped him to see past some of his preconcieved ideas and broaden his perspectives, but I'd like to say, and I know he made very brief mention of this, that there are white people that cook they way he is decribing as black. Maybe it's a southern thing, but growing up, and still to this day, my family and I make our potato salad just the way he described – chunky and with plenty of paprika on top. My family grew and cooked all kinds of greens too. And as for hot sauce, that's a staple in our kitchen. Most of the other people I know where I live, white or black, cook like this.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  10. Flora

    To all of you crying about the article:

    All I see is a bunch of people (most likely white) who are mad that someone of a different race dared to write an article calling their holiday traditions "strange". Well, guess what; your traditions are strange to some people. If you were to celebrate Thanksgiving with a family from China, I'm positive that you would find something in there to call weird. Stop acting so hurt that someone was willing to stand up & point out certain racial differences. He didn't perpetuate any myths, he didn't insult them, he just wrote honestly about a case of holiday culture shock in a mature manner. It's a shame some people on here aren't able to do likewise.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Pilgrim

      Thanksgiving in China? When exactly did they adopt that Holiday?

      November 17, 2011 at 11:38 am |
      • Thomas

        Thanksgiving with a family FROM china.

        Reading is fundamental.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • Indian

        I am from India and have never been to an American (black/white/brown/southern/northern) Thanksgiving dinner. I welcome my American friends to join us for dinner on Thanksgiving although please be aware that there'll be no turkey or beans or any of the items listed in the articles/comments. What you will find is friends sitting on a table, chatting, laughing and enjoying time together irrespective of the culture they belong to on a nice holiday in Florida. And there'll be beer, wine, margaritas ...lots of it.

        November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Big Ray

      Most of the whites on here are not offended about the observations of the author ... pick on the white traditions, thats fine, we are just getting sick and tired of the double standard in this country. A White person could not write this article about dinner with a black family without the NAACP and Al Sharpton denouncing them as racist bigots! As light-hearted as the author intended the article, it serves to underscore how minorities can speak their mind whenever they feel like it, but if whites do it they are somehow evil .... Its a tedious time to be white.

      November 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  11. GvilleT

    What is there to get angry about reading this article? It's about traditions with your family and the fact that the food is all part of it. I don't get mad when my yankee co-worker brings her dressing to the work dinner and it's all chunky and not smooth. I'm a white southern girl and turnip greens are served at any big family meal. I have to agree, potatoe salad is suposed to be yellow, not smooth and should have paprika on top. I like pumpkin pie over sweet potato...sweet potatoes need to be candied with brown sugar, pecans and marshmellow. Buttermilk, pecan, lemon, chocolate and pumpkin pies are neccessities at my family Thanksgiving. Yum!

    November 17, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  12. Meh

    Gee, sorry I didnt serve fried chicken and watermelon with Kool-aid or Boon's to wash it down.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Deedee

      Way to stay classy with the racist stereotypes. It never fails. And in a minute he/she will say she's not racist.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  13. queenSupreme

    I come from an Italian home and every Holiday we had some sort of pasta or something with tomato sauce on it.
    Gnocchi is the favorite.

    November 17, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Lulu

      I come from a strictly Italian-American background and for the first 8 or 9 years of my life just assumed that the Pilgrims had ravioli as the first course before turkey. Didn't everyone?

      November 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  14. Southern White girl

    I will admit that the title caught my attention and I was expecting this to be a rude artical about how white people cook. On reading this I realized it was nothing about race it was about FOOD. I grew up on "soul food" also known as southern cooking. I still cook it for my own family to this day. My Thanksgiving table will have collards with ham hock in it, potato salad which is yellow in color not white, topped with eggs and paprika, sweet potato casserole, chicken and pastry, fried corn bread and many other foods that I'm sure half of you have never heard of. I will also be serving sweet ice tea with my meal. The author was telling a story about the culture difference in all people not just black and white. If I had gone to this same house I would have been thinking the same thing, though I would have been the rude white girl asking where these items were and probably would have offered to go get it and make it for them. I would bet most of you that find this article to be racist are not from the south and if you are, you were never served nor have eaten a true southern meal. In my house food and family go together. The women are all in the kitchen talking, laughing and cooking. We teach our daughters how to fix the same dishes so when they have families of their own they also can prepare the same meals that generations before them have served. I took the point of this article to be when people are removed from their comfort zone it is hard to mentally handle the changes. And this person learned a huge life lesson about their self and opened their eyes to the world around them.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • GvilleT

      Amen sister!

      November 17, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Nivlag

      I'm a northern white boy, and I think I'm supposed to say, "Well bless your heart, Darlin'." at this point.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Angela

      Same here. I was in my 20's before I realized that some people think of greens, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, etc as "black". I grew up eating them along with my whole (lily white) family. I thought this was a fun article about finding out that other people do things differently at holidays and it works out OK.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
      • Bob

        I didn't even know there were differences in "white" food and "black" food. I guess my parents failed the white race by raising me with black friends, black neighbors and black food. Good for them. Another reason mine are the best parents in the world.

        November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • vivvo

      holy yum!!! oooooooohhhhh girl!!! pass the greens and i have dibs on a big ol' chunk o' hamhock!!! what a feast! :) :) :)

      November 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • annebeth

      I come from a racially mixed background (black/Cherokee mother) (black/Scottish father) & food is a lot of fun at our house. My mother cooks the southern way with enough food at Thanksgiving to feed a battalion, even if there are only going to be 6-8 people at the table. I loved this article because it made me laugh at my own family and all of our missed backgrounds. Yes potato salad at my house is chunky yellow, with paprika on top, sweet potato pie (no pumpkin) & sweet tea.

      November 17, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • j

      can i come over for dinner?

      November 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • annebeth

        @j, I would LOVE for you to come over and have a meal with me!

        November 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • DC603

      If this article isn't about race, but rather food, perhaps he shouldn't have brought race into it. Perhaps the title should have been "My first traditional Thanksgiving dinner," or my first "Northern Thanksgiving Dinner," etc.

      November 22, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  15. Gingergirl

    I have cooked the meal for my large family for quite a few years, and this boys and girls is perfection Northern Yankee-style:
    Wine, cheese and crudite platter luring them in on time and keeping them the heck out of my way in the kitchen.
    Wine, turkey, stuffing, gravy, yams topped with toasted marshmellows, corn pudding, green bean casserole, rice/broccoli/cheese casserole, cranberry sauce still in can shape, black olives, apple cider served icy cold.
    Wine, and anything goes for dessert, I am partial to cheesecake, red velvet cupcakes (yes, Southern!) and blueberry pie ala mode. Regular guests included an Asian family, the mom gets really mad because she brings a platter of homemade spring rolls for part of the dinner and everyone gobbles them down as appetizers unless she hides them. Did I mention wine? And Trivial Pursuit for those up to it afterwards.

    And I totally agree after seeing a video on how chitlins are made, you gotta really love your family to make them for them. Brutal.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  16. PDXmum

    Good grief, I think some people here clicked on the article *hoping* it would make them mad. Funny too how most of the angry comments I'm reading seem to be coming from males. I live with someone like that...so eager to feel trampled upon, disenfranchised, whining that they don't get special treatment anymore... Sorry white boys, you actually have to get along with and hear about people different from you now. They're everywhere, and they aren't going away.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Gingergirl

      I don't know where the anger is coming from, it must be the "No-bama's"

      November 17, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • nig

      "Sorry white boys, you actually have to get along with and hear about people different from you now"

      Funny, considering blacks cant even get along with themselves and end up killing each other in the process.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:00 am |
      • NIG LOVER

        Hey maybe they will kill you by accident cause you are STUPID :-)

        November 17, 2011 at 10:14 am |
      • nig

        LOL doubtful...any nig that tries to kill me will have a .44 Magnum round through their head

        November 17, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • Dave in Portland

        Wow Nig, so tough through the internet. I'd bet you're probably some scrawny internet geek living in mommy's basement who gets trampled on in real life and so feels he has to act like a real bad@$$ through the net. Try to get out more, maybe meet a girl (if you even like them). You've probably never even seen a gun other than in your computer games.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • and yes I'm a whiteboy@PDXmum

      Daayuuum! You are so right!

      November 17, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  17. nig

    I had thanksgiving with a black family once....all that was there was popeyes fried chicken, watermelon and kool aid

    November 17, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • NIG LOVER

      Ah ..........ignorant uneducated Meh the name is Nig Lover. I do not have to be black to love black people and southern cooking. I do not have to black to see you are a fool. A suker is still a sukah by any other name IDIOT!!!

      November 17, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Factuality

      And, you felt right at home, didn't you "passer"? LOL

      November 17, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  18. lori

    you know, hopefully, they wrote this article to get people chatting about their family traditions. obviously, it didn't work for some of you. maybe instead of writing or saying hateful, hurtful things in public, it's better to keep it to yourself so only you and god know how ugly you can be.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • nig

      lol your "god" can lick my taint

      November 17, 2011 at 11:27 am |
      • Thomas

        Isn't that sweet. You are trying to shock people with your posts. That's adorable. Just like you were an adult.

        Did you mother go out shopping and forget to log off the computer?

        I am sooo shocked at your shocking posts. You are truly a shocking person. Now go help you mother with the groceries.

        November 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  19. That One Guy

    One time I had dinner with black people and the food was really good.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • steph

      Agreed.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  20. helen

    wow, some of the people on here need to take a breath and calm down. the fact is, all of us are different whether it is our race, our religion or location, whatever. embrace the differences and learn from them. i was married to a man from south jersey and i learned to eat cheese steaks with the best bread ever and he learned to eat greens and chicken fried steak. i work for a jewish company, i have black friends and hispanic friends and indian friends and they are all different about some things. hell, i'm from east texas and i get teased all the time about the way i say things. lighten up

    November 17, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  21. Nathan

    People who have a problem with this article are just narrow minded and would serve themselves better if they became citizens of te world like this woman. We all grow up in cocoons of our culture, if we're fortunate enough like the writer we get outside of that cocoon and realize that most people are not that different. This happened to me when I joined the military and had to live with different people from different cultures. The people who have a problem with herpoint which they obviously fdon;t get are always looking for issues to attribute to racism. Fortunatelty they seem to be outnumbered in these post.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  22. Andrew

    CNN is always stroking the race thing.

    They would never print a headline that says "My first Thanksgiving with black people."

    Everyday CNN has so many stories about race, racists, and white people who are racists.
    CNN has a fetish for racism. Whether it's Granderson, Soledad O'Brien, or Sanchez, they can't report on anything other than race. This network is so racist.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Jason

      It's because CNN is headquartered in Atlanta. Go figure...

      November 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  23. yet again

    more racist trash.
    I wait for white history month. or my kwaanza with black people.
    sick.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  24. Dizzle

    I read the article and care not what the message is. We live in a worl d in which judging a book by it's cover is a neccesary skill to filter through to what interests us. CNN should be ashamed. Imagine the uproar when a national media syndicate publishes nexts weeks trivial article "Christmas With Black People."

    November 17, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Andrew

      Its differences when a black person writes it, but it would be racism at CNN if a white person wrote this. CNN is race baiting again.

      November 17, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  25. GloGloria

    Most people here have completely misread and misunderstood Granderson's essay. He is writing about his own perceived sense of being sheltered from other people's habits and social and cultural norms on a major holiday, and admitting that to us. Why ANY one would misinterpret his essay is baffling to me. He is not racist. He is pointing out that HE had preconceived ideas about Thanksgiving meals, and was learning by visiting his partner's home for that meal that he was very clueless about what other people traditionally prepared. He saw that as a learning experience. Those of you who are accusing him of racism are wrong to do so. He is being very open and honest about how different we are, and accepting that his own expectations were, in many ways, a huge shift in his own experiences as a person. Why the insults to him? Many of you will apparently never be able to laugh at your own biases as he does about his own. He has a sense of humor at his own expense, which is a great way to communicate, and I am so sad that so many of you don't understand that.

    November 17, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Chuck

      That doesn't matter one bit what his intentions for the article were. There is no denying that, if this were a white columnist reporting on a "black" whatever, there would be hell to pay, no matter what the article was about.

      November 17, 2011 at 9:18 am |
      • justice

        You're an idiot and your response proves it! There have been a million and one articles about whites and their experiences with blacks. If you are that damn concerned, write an article yourself. This is one man talking about his experience. How is it race baiting? I actually appreciate that he shares the fact that he was not as well versed in other cultures as he thought he was and that this was a good experience for him. The PROBLEM WITH WHITE PEOPLE is that they assume that they are culturally diverse but never take an active step to prove that theory. Many of YOU ARE NOT. Im so sick of white people crying the race card claiming blacks are playing the race card. GET OVER YOURSELVES!

        November 17, 2011 at 9:31 am |
      • nig

        There have been a million and one articles about whites and their experiences with blacks"

        Please cite these "million and one" articles, please.

        November 17, 2011 at 9:53 am |
      • Nivlag

        Give it up, Chuck. Seriously. Give it up.

        November 17, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  26. Kelly

    This person is a writer? This article was so poorly written. The content was also lacking.. race/food aside.. he begins with this great story full of misunderstandings & cultural differences.. and then says, "The potato salad – while still naked in my eyes – was pretty good. So was the pumpkin pie." Way to sum it up. Forget the food & fam.. where is journalism to be grateful for??!

    Also.. sounds like his bf's family just can't cook very well. Naked potato salad?! Unacceptable.. for any race.

    November 17, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • j

      It's called a personal essay, not journalism.

      November 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  27. Victoria

    People...this is not about racism! This is about the comfort one feels with one's family Thanksgiving traditions....and new cultural experiences...which by the way is a good thing!
    I had a neighbor for Thanksgiving last year. She had never had Thanksgiving with an African American family and was simply mesmorized by "all the different foods that I have never heard of or even thought of tasting." She could not get over the greens, sweet potato pie, fried corn, rutabagas, etc, etc, etc . We laughed together and she said...wow what a feast! My experience was the opposite experience of this CNN author. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the differences of other cultures. Let's embrace our differences and enjoy Life!!!!

    November 17, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • tygreg

      Halleluiah Victoria! Well said.

      November 17, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  28. Len

    Seriously? People are in a snit over this article? Most of you missed the whole point...its simply about dirfferences, not about race or ethnicity. Get over yourselves and lighten-up, you bunch of old curmudgeons.

    November 17, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  29. White boy from south

    Yea I would miss the greens too! A lot of people I know in the great white north do not eat or have a taste for "Soul Food", Its southern food in reality. Man do I miss my aunts collards with hot chow chow and turnips! Now collards, turnip greens, mustard greens or Kale prepared is not entirely embraced by Northeastern white folk but down in NC GA SC ... all white folk eat that food especially at Thanksgiving. Cut me a big slice of Sweet potato pie...

    November 17, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Yumyum

      You can pull up at our table any time for Thanksgiving!! You would fit right in! (Southern black girl from NC)

      November 17, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Kipriarty

      Mmmm...Chow Chow!! Now I have to go look up a recipe! I forgot all about Chow Chow!! (Puerto Rican girl in NM...raised by white people in TX)

      November 17, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  30. Really, how could you be so rude?

    I bet is was your mom, grandmother or who ever else cooked "your family food". It is a lot of work that goes into making big meal and should be appreciated no matter what one's eats. Also, you did not consider your boyfriends family's feelings. What if they read this article? They might feel that they did something wrong, not meeting your ideal views. Not a good way to start things off to becoming a family.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Nivlag

      If they did read it, I hope they can read better than you. You missed his point entirely.

      November 17, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  31. Lily

    I am offended by this article in so many ways. Shame on you CNN.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • Silly Lily

      7 billion people on the planet and guess how many actually give a rip?

      November 17, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  32. Nick

    Thanks for the article you racist SOB!

    November 17, 2011 at 7:17 am |
    • Need some sugar with that early morning rage coffee?

      Daaayuuum, and a very good morning to you too.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:24 am |
      • Gingergirl

        LOL!

        November 17, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • taketwo

      read the article again nick....stop being so myopic..

      November 17, 2011 at 8:49 am |
      • Nivlag

        Uhh. You want him to read it AGAIN? Plus, he'll have to look up what myopic means. That's probably too much work for him.

        November 17, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  33. Thanks What?'

    This eating holiday has become the center of business sell offs. Everyone turns into miss or mr do gooder and becomes oh please, thank you, what a sham. Go out and look, then view the same peoople a few days later and those same people would be completely different. Spending time with family is good, you can do this anytime of year.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:09 am |
    • bisnono

      From your post, it appears the Grinch may have some competition – how about a side of whine with your bitterness?

      November 17, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  34. Jenni

    Is it race or ethnic? I don't know many other white people who'll have lasagna as part of their Thanksgiving spread but, on our table it's a must for my Italian grandmother. My other grandmother, British born, hasn't hosted Thanksgiving since I was a child but, what I remember best from her table is Trifle pudding and boiled carrots.
    Also, I hate green bean casserole, sweet potato pie is evil because of it's resemblance to the glory that is pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes are best left in a baking dish slathered in brown sugar and marshmallows, and the biggest part of Thanksgiving is all the wine it takes to put up with all of your family's crap for the day.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • asozhz

      well said

      November 17, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • bisnono

      I also despise green bean casserole. Why ruin perfectly good vegetables? Give me some freshly steamed to the peak of perfection neon-green green beans with a little pat of butter on them any day over that casserole slop.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:52 am |
      • Jerv

        Agreed, and with a hint of bacon.

        November 17, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  35. bisnono

    Oh give me a break. This person's experience doesn't depend nearly as much on race as it does on personal family preference for serving certain foods at Thanksgiving. I have been invited to have Thanksgiving at many family and friends' homes all over this country, and not ONE of them served the same menu as my own family (ever had mexican turkey and tamales for thanksgiving? Don't knock it till you try it!). What's the matter with just eating food that – while it may not be what you are used to – just plain TASTES GOOD and stop being hung up on the skin color of the person who made it??

    As someone who loves apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top, cornbread dressing, sausage with biscuits and gravy, collard greens, good BBQ, and anything with sauerkraut (a serious nod to my German heritage), I say a resounding "FEH!" to the concept that race and good food have anything to do with one another.

    November 17, 2011 at 6:51 am |
  36. Thor

    Why does it always have to be a race thing? This is why we can never move on.

    November 17, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  37. Brian

    Actually, considering my Thanksgiving customs (since, I'm from where the Pilgrims are) are the originals, wouldn't it be yours that are quite off?

    November 17, 2011 at 5:34 am |
    • Mike

      Suzie,

      I apologize for those farts that ruinded yoiur wedding. I hope you can forgive me. It's just those people at Taco Bell with their "May I take your order?" and "How can I help you?" I just got all beand up. I'm sorry. – Dad

      November 17, 2011 at 6:06 am |
      • Ed

        Sir, I admire your courage in attempting to set things right with your daughter. Not sure this is the place to do it. You are an American hero. I'm going to have a slice of apple pie right now!

        November 17, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • Jamie

      My goodness you need to go back to school to brush up on comprehension, if you are making this article out to be a "my thanksgiving not yours is the real one". Go back to school, or I can have my 2nd grader read you the article an explain the key points.

      November 17, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • Factuality

      Brian
      "Actually, considering my Thanksgiving customs (since, I'm from where the Pilgrims are) are the originals, wouldn't it be yours that are quite off?"
      Pilgrims...originals? You brag about being of a lot who stole and murdered on this land we now call USA?? I guess that is what you meant in "original". You're on the wrong topic.

      November 17, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  38. Mke

    We aren't "white" any more than LZ is "colored". The non-bigoted term is "Caucasian".

    November 17, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • steve

      white is fine with me.

      Caucasian refers to peoples from the Caucas mountain region (between modern day Europe and Russia). Anglo might be more of what you mean as it is peoples from the Engle river region (middle European region).

      I prefer people just call me white in stead of Caucasian or Anglo. It's perfectly acceptable.

      November 17, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • Tony Baloney

        Im white but prefer Native American since I was born here in the States.

        November 17, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  39. Veracious

    I don't see how anyone could get racism from this. If anything I see someone who experienced something new and learned from it. He also pointed out that everyone's idea of normal is different and different is good!

    November 17, 2011 at 4:20 am |
    • Maribel

      THANK YOU.

      November 17, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  40. Non-Biased Responses 2.0 (The Cool Kid)-Same as the Original Except Cooler

    I love Thanksgiving. It is truly a beautiful holiday for various reasons, from food to joy and laughter, to the giving and thanks. I hope everybody has an enjoyable a Thanksgiving this year, because I believe this is day that Americans have an obligation to have fun and stop stressing. It is truly my favorite holiday!

    November 17, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  41. Non-Biased Responses

    Clearly Mr. Granderson is over-generalizing due to race. To get this out of the way, I am not a Caucasian or an African-american. Firstly, not all African-Americans eat soul food and not all Caucasians eat the meal that he has described in the article. As previously stated by many of my fellow commenters, these Thanksgiving meals are solely based on regional differences, not racial differences. The meal that Mr. Granderson and his family typically eats is embedded throughout the South, and is not confined to one race or ethnicity group. The meal that his partner's family generally eats is generally eaten in other parts of the U.S., like the North or Mid-West. On a different note, I would like to state that Mr. Granderson's experience was truly enlightening, as I have only lived a short life (I am still in my younger teen years), but still have a lot of cultural experiences to go and food is a common theme of a culture, truly depicting the non-biased view of society. I have found this article a little unpleasant, but still very enjoyable and enlightening. I hope to be able to become accustomed to other foods and cultures and to travel the world to truly experience the world. Thanks Mr. Granderson for sharing your experience and thank you CNN for posting something about Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.

    November 17, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  42. ShockedAndAwed

    I absolutely can not believe this was allowed to be posted! This is the most racist posting I have seen here in a long time and is incredibly shameful.

    If this were a straight white guy posting this racist rant, then we would have Al Sharpton marching on CNN headquarters and getting advertisers to pull there spots with the network.

    November 17, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • kanelakos

      My thoughts exactally!

      November 17, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Jamie

      His article admits that the meal was a turning point for him and after that he realized that soul food is not about race, but the love people have for the food. He also said that later on he realized that many blacks don't cook soul food, and people of other races including whites do. Its an actual story of how people go from thinking narrowly because of how they've been brought up to thinking broadly. Are you people shouting racism being deliberately stupid? You are an embarrassment to white people.

      November 17, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • steve

      the article is only racist if you're racist. I found it humorous and entertaining.

      November 17, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  43. Susan

    Thank you for sharing your personal journey., It can be shocking & even painful to feel that you aren't as open/tolerant/unbigoted as you thought, but you handled it very well, & even turned it into a "teaching moment". Would that even half the cretisn commenting here could do even half as well.

    November 17, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  44. HH 88

    Many are missing the main point. We need to buy the father of the home a strong drink. Not only is his son gay, but gay and doing a black man. Wow, could it be any worse for that poor man?

    November 17, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • mike

      HA!

      November 17, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  45. TTD

    No collards for Thanksgiving, that would have been my que to dismiss myself from the table. That is almost as bad as having Thanksgiving from a cook with high blood pressure. AWW the ultimate disappointment. Although the greens beans sounded like they were on point.

    November 17, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  46. istj04

    A good story, but I think the "Food Channel" needs to decide on how this "soul" food came into existence! Then have a TG dinner cooking contest BETWEEN these two families!

    November 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  47. miriam l wright

    I read this article and thoroughly enjoyed it!! It has always been my belief that everyone brings something from their specific culture to their thanksgiving table. In my house it is collard greens and sweet potato pie!! The point in the article is that different does not mean not as good, just different that what the writer was accustomed to..

    I'm glad the writer wrote this....because I certainly enjoyed reading it and will bring it up during Thanksgiving dinner next week!!

    November 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Alabama White Boy

      Ms. Wright, I totally agree with your comment. However, I never thought I would refer to myself as a boy, since I am actually an old man.

      I have been reading LZ Granderson’s columns for some time and usually agree with what he has to say. When I saw the title to this particular article, I thought, “What the . . .,” but then I saw the name of the writer. That is when I knew that I would enjoy his post. Even though we have never met, I feel like LZ Granderson and I are old friends. I am very sorry that so many people thought this was a racist article, but I did enjoy many comments on the cultural diversity with which people in this country celebrate Thanksgiving. Just one correction to some comments, the first Thanksgiving was not in Plymouth, but in Jamestown, Virginia. The reason I know is that my family was there.

      This Thanksgiving I will be fixing a traditional Southern meal (much the same as soul food) for my sister and me. Mr. Granderson if you would like to join us please let me know and I will fix collard green. That is something that I do not usually do, so a little warning would be in order.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  48. MDGirl

    I can totally sympathize with the author of this article. Where I grew up we always had "southern" type foods, fresh off of the farm for Thanksgiving. They were prepared simply, but deliciously, and all of the food was local. Then I moved up north for college. To my dismay, my boyfriend's family did not cook food like my family. It was mostly from a can, not super flavorful and little effort was put into preparing dishes. It is a little heartbreaking but I think it makes you appreciate where you came from much more.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  49. KeithTexas

    I liked the Article, and I understand what he is trying to say. After reading many of the posts I can see that many of you missed the point.

    Thanks, LZ your story reminded me of my first Holiday away from home.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  50. SMDH

    WOW !!! I read through about 20 of these comments and scrolled straight to the bottom. I'm sorry, but it seems that ever since Obama got elected everybody is getting butt hurt over the stupidest things. Race is always the topic of conversation, and no one can say anything good or bad without it turning into a 7 day segment on the nightly news. This article is completely and totally benign, and just says what most of us may be thinking at times when we are thrust into a new situation and have closed minds in terms of the cultures and habits of other people besides our own. Different doesn't mean not as good, and that's all she was trying to say. My family is very ethnically diverse, and i laughed when she talked about the green bean casserole, one of my sister in laws signature dishes, and she happens to be Dominican and Puerto Rican . Our Thanksgiving table consists of traditional southern dishes, puertorican and cuban dishes, and everything in between. For someone that grew up eating the same things year after year, I enjoy having some variety on my table now. I just cant believe how something so innocent could spark such heated debate. Its really not that serious...

    November 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Cameron314

      Maybe you should have read the whole thing before you commented. Your comment does not accurately respond to this post at all. There was no debate, and the author explains how this event helped. The title may be a little misleading, but the overall point was about understanding differences, trying new things, how the experience opened her eyes, and how grateful she was for the experience. So i'll say to you, since Obama has been in office, TOO MANY people have rushed to judgement over simple things without knowing the facts. Next time read and dont scroll through. With that kind of mind set, Im assuming you're a Tea Party supporter. Fight anything without knowing the facts, and blame Obama when you can. (for the record, Obama had nothing to do with this article! smh)

      November 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Factuality

      You hit the nail right on it's head. If you talk about toilet the "pinheads", (as Bill O'Reilly would say), come out of the woodworks throwing in ethnic rhetoric. Yet, yell the loudest how African Americans raise the issue at any opportunity. Insane.

      November 17, 2011 at 9:19 am |
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