The Dreaded Dinner Party: Which Opinions to Reconsider Voicing Unless You Plan to Stand Your Ground

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Source; http://fashionablehostess.com/host-dinner-party-kitchen-surfing/

I hate talking about anything remotely controversial with anyone I’m related to or anyone I don’t know well. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn or because I have a tendency to argue passionately with anyone who disagrees with me. But, at the same time, I jump at the chance to argue and debate with friends or classmates. It’s most likely the setting of the conversations. Non-best friend get togethers usually involve sitting around a table, chowing down in the midst of debates (and there’s usually drinking involved in some way) where as friendly debacles occur in casual and comfortable settings with people you can act more loosely around without the fear of being condemned. And that brings us to the crux of this post: the Dreaded Dinner Party.

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The Dreaded Dinner Party is rarely held by friends you’re comfortable with because if it was, there would be no need to include ‘Dreaded’ in it’s title. Usually it’s family members or neighbors or even coworkers. People who you see enough that it wouldn’t be strange to spend time in their house but who you wouldn’t spill every detail to. The Dreaded Dinner Party begins as any other meal would, with polite small talk while everyone plays catch-up. And then, as the meal progresses and the minutes pass, the conversation begins to transition into a debate. Opinions are tossed around without consideration as to how their listeners may react and differing views clash.

Here are a few topics common during the “Not So Happy Hour” of the Dreaded Dinner Party: politics, racism, sexuality or anything of the LGBT+ variety, sex (slut shaming, sex education, etc.), sex in the media, the media in general, foreign affairs, religion (especially when religious views are not unanimous among the group), drugs, immigration, the American education system, economics, terrorism, poverty or class in general, abortions, etc.

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Source: http://charlesstone.com/the-controversy-behind-top-10-reasons-people-dont-tithe/

Personally, I find nothing wrong with healthy debates about any of the topics mentioned above and I believe these topics do need to be talked about in a mature environment. I’m not saying intellectual discussions can’t be had at dinners parties, I mainly saying that opening up to discussions about these “controversial” topics is also opening up to the possibility of a level of awkwardness if someone in the group shares an unpopular opinion. The dinner party Obinze attends is a prime example. He arrives, has pleasant conversation, eats some of his dinner and proceeds to have a very levelheaded conversation that includes a woman named Alexa who has opinions that both I and the others at the dinner party disagree with. These opinions jumpstart an interesting discussion on racism and America that leaves Obinze feeling uncomfortable and alienated.

I can usually see the reasoning behind opinions I disagree with but that doesn’t stop me from firing back. And because of that, I do feel certain topics can initiate heated debates that can spiral out of control if people aren’t smart with what they say (or if they drink a bit too much). Because of this, I am among many that fear the Dreaded Dinner Party.

That’s it for now.

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A Thought or Two on Religion From Someone Raised as a Greedy Catholic

 

“This church is full of 419 men. Why should we pretend that this hall was not built with dirty money?” (62).

With “419 men” basically meaning con artists and frauds, this quote from Americanah focuses on the concept that a religious community actually harbors and is built on a crop of criminals and-to put it in religious terms-sinners. As someone who was raised in the church purely because it was the way my mother was raised, I’ve experienced both an insider and outsider perspective on the workings of the church behind the scenes.

My mother and her entire family were all born and raised Catholic, so when she met my father, one of her conditions regarding their future was that their children be raised Catholic. Ergo, as a child I was subjected to hour long mass every Sunday and traditional rights of passage that would pop up once every three or four years and take up at least one non-Sunday of my life. But, as I grew older and I was exposed to the idea that not everyone followed the same religion I was raised under, I was also subject to an onslaught of stereotypes about the Catholicism and Catholic people. One specific stereotype that connects back to the original quote mentioned is the stereotype that Catholic people are very greedy and money-oriented, which stems from their need to show off to the outside world.

I do believe there are many genuine Catholic people out there. There are people who believe strongly in God and follow the traditions of the Catholic religion in doing so (my extended family to name a few). But at the same time, I believe there also are the people who build their giant churches to flaunt their wealth and scam the church-goers out of their money. But then again, isn’t that something that’s prevalent almost anywhere in society. You look at any area of life and I can guarantee you’ll find someone who’s doing something in that area for the not-so-right reasons. It’s not just specific to religion and it’s not just specific to Catholicism.

But, in Americanah‘s case, there is very obviously an influence of criminals in the community of the church. Following this quote, it’s source, Ifemelu, is chastised for being so outspoken about this statement, further proving that while this is the truth, it isn’t something the nice, smiling suburban moms of the church want being spread around. It would damage the image of the church. So while the church does thrive off of sinners and greed, it’s main focus is it’s appearance, which is exactly why Ifemelu’s mother sort of goes into her crazy religious reinvention where she chops off all of her hair and tries to convert her entire family to this new religion. It’s all about appearance, which is where these kind of stereotypes and their realities stem from. Everyone wants to seem better than they actually are.

That’s it for now.