How to Find Gratitude For Our Differences this Holiday Season

“We are all bulls in somebody’s china shop,” says Satori Shakoor on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.

Thanksgiving dinner has gotten a bit sticky in today’s political climate.

Whether you’re navigating through or altogether avoiding political conversations with loved ones, these discussions can be quite precarious. Is there a way to approach these deep divides and differences from a place of gratitude?

In the spirit of giving thanks, Detroit Today’s Stephen Henderson welcomes a diverse panel to discuss division and how to honor the various perspectives that might be present at your Thanksgiving table. 

Satori Shakoor, host of WDET’s Twisted Storytellers podcast, Dave Garcia, executive director of Affirmations, and Osama Siblani, publisher of Arab American News, join the show to talk about their traditions and how they each approach thorny conversations.

Listening: it sounds like a simple task, but in the face of deep disagreement it can be a revolutionary act, says Shakoor.

She says that really stopping to hear someone and be present with them can be a path to understanding. For Dave Garcia this sentiment is tricky to implement. Much like many other families, there are certain issues that are non-starters in his household, making Thanksgiving a politics free zone. On the contrary, Siblani says at his house Thanksgiving is not complete without rigorous debate. He appreciates the heated discussion, saying that it helps formulate evolved opinions. 

So, what is the best way to reach some common ground? Is that even possible? Osama Siblani says it’s all about tolerance. He thinks people don’t have to love or even agree with one another, but people must tolerate one another. Shakoor says tolerance is a band-aid and does not go far enough to bridge the divide we all feel in today’s political climate. She says her focus is on reaching understating and approaching difference of opinion from an honest and authentic place. Garcia’s approach goes beyond changing hearts and minds. He says just being present and himself in a debate may give those around him the confidence to do the same, this is especially important to those in the LGBTQ community. 

Click the player above to hear more from the panel about how they approach tricky conversations.



  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.