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African American extended family saying grace while having Thanksgiving meal at dining table.

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UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. ET, Nov. 21, 2023

The Thanksgiving holiday is here!

It’s that time of year when your family gathers together for the holidays not only to enjoy a good meal but also to find the time for good conversation and healthy conversation.

Well, it could be enjoyable…for some. For others, Thanksgiving can be a dreaded experience filled with poorly timed questions, inappropriate jokes, and terrible food, but family is family either way and even when they do get on our nerves, it’s a blessing to have all your loved ones in one room to spend time together.

Now there are a few topics that always get heated at the dinner table, like the age-old question, “When are you getting married?”, “When will you have kids?” or the worst,  “Who did you vote for?” (Avoid that last one at all costs) Let’s try something different this year. Here are a few topics that won’t stir the pot and that are super important to the Black community.

Local Politics 

Politics can often be tricky to discuss during Thanksgiving dinner because of its polarizing nature. Talking with your family about local politics is important because it has huge effects on community dealings. Local elections directly affect aspects of you and your family’s life. Many federal laws start on the local level with grassroots organizing. Local officials are also more accessible than your federal representatives. Hence, it’s important to share important information like your local representative’s phone number with your family members who may not know it. 

Here are a few things local governments are responsible for:

  • Parks
  • Libraries
  • Public Transportation 
  • Police & Fire departments
  • Education and Schools 

Family Traditions 

Whether it’s a family crest or a photobook passed down for generations, make sure to talk about your family traditions this Thanksgiving. It’s a great way to preserve and educate the younger generation about your family’s history. Even if you don’t have something tangible, stories of your family’s lineage are important. Tell them about grandpa’s war stories, or even your great aunt sally’s first time overseas. These stories help to protect our history and identity, something that was taken away upon our ancestor’s arrival here in the land of the so-called free. It’s the only way we can ensure that our great family histories are archived and passed down to the next generation.



Bitcoin, stocks, trusts, college savings, you name it! Black families need to talk more about finances and saving for the future. Got the cousin who loves to trade? Sit next to him or her at the dinner table and talk about ways you can build up your emergency savings or retirement fund. Ask your other family members what kind of financial brands they use to stash away money for vacations or big life goals like buying a house. The wealth gap has disproportionately impacted Black folks. According to Forbes, Black workers made 14.9 percent less than their white counterparts in 2019. Additionally, people of color tend to have an average savings of $30,000 for retirement, which is one-quarter of what the average white household saves which is around $120,000. Now to be clear you don’t have to go into super detail and ask your family members how much money they make, that would be rude, right? But getting advice on how they handle finances might be a great way for you to start organizing your own coins.

Multi-generation ethnic family having Thanksgiving dinner

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Health & Diet

Diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, and several diseases plague the Black community’s health. Have a conversation about some of your family’s genetic diseases. It could help to save your loved one’s life. Ask about the signs they had before being diagnosed with their condition and ways that you could potentially prevent getting sick.

It’s also important to talk with your family about their diet and eating habits. Changing your diet is one of the most important things when dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypertension. When starting this conversation, try not to judge your family if they have bad habits. Talking at the dinner table with people you love should be a safe space. Encourage your family to slowly change bad habits instead of ostracizing them.

Estate Planning 

This might seem a little morbid but now that the family is together it might be a good time to talk about estate planning for the elder generation. Do Poppa and Momma have a will in place that will detail how they want their assets, trusts, or property split when they have passed on? If not, get together as a family and start coming up with ideas. It doesn’t have to be super formal if your loved one is still in good health, but life is unpredictable, and you want to make sure you’re openly discussing these realities as a family unit so that when the time does come, you won’t have any unnecessary family drama.

Share Some Hobbies 

Season changes can have serious effects on your mental health, so it’s important to talk with your family about building new hobbies. Encouraging a family member to get active can go a long way in making sure your loved ones stay healthy. If you are a new member of a local gym, encourage a family member to join you. If you’re reading a new book, share it with a cousin or relative. Maybe you’re taking an online course and you have a few referrals for a family member. Hobbies can create stronger bonds among family members 

Plan Your Next Family Vacation

Thanksgiving and Christmas don’t have to be the only time that the family gets together. Talk about planning your next big family outing whether it’s a sweet family getaway to a cool resort or a nice cruise. Spending time with your family is so precious, and we must create fun and loving memories with our families to cherish.


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Multi-generation family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
34 photos