Why You Should Discuss Ferguson With Your Family This Holiday Season

How To Discuss Ferguson With Your Family This Holiday Season
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From this year’s Black Friday boycott to countless trending hashtags, protesters are making sure their thoughts on the non-indictment decisions in New York City and Ferguson are heard. But is it possible to bring this conversation about race and police brutality to the family table this holiday season?

While holiday get-togethers may be best for drinks, delicious food and pleasantries, they can also serve as a platform for discussions about real issues. As personal growth professional Mike Watson told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, families should readily discuss differing opinions on current events.

“By avoiding the topic, you don’t ever gain anything,” Watson said.

Derrick Clifton, an Identities staff writer at Mic, agreed and urged families to tackle these challenging questions head-on, even if they cause divisions.

“Wrestle with those feelings of discomfort as best as possible, but remember that we’re both family members, we both love each other, and we’re engaging in messy conversations together,” Clifton said.

By citing well-researched facts and contextualizing examples, dinnertime chit-chat can also become an opportunity to educate those at the table on perspectives they may not have considered.

“If we’re able to share a more informed perspective, especially one that offers nuance, that offers a lot of systemic and institutional forces at play, then we can really help our family members and friends ... contribute to some lasting change in the way that would be uplifting and substantive,” Clifton added.

Click here to watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about about keeping dinnertime debates civil this holiday season.

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Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Jessica Long of San Francisco holds a 'Justice for Oscar Grant' poster during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The store was vandalized and looted last week during protests. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Essence Coggins, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, speaks as demonstrators block an intersection in the Adams Morgan neighborhood during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block an intersection in the Adams Morgan neighborhood during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators march in the street during a protest against a New York grand jury December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk together on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police follow protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A protester holds up Garner's photo while walking on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police watch protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police walk through protesters clash on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters walk on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police arrest a protester on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters face off following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: David Scott of Oakland leads a chant while marching down Broadway during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters demonstrate following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Paulina Fraser (C), a social justice in education major at San Francisco State University, during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Shaun Reid raises his hands as police follow demonstrators off Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: John Robinson, of Washington, DC, raises his hands while passing a police car as demonstrators march in the streets during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Drivers try to pass demonstrators blocking traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Shaun Reid raises his hands as police follow demonstrators off Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Protesters raise their hands to police on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
T.J. Kirkpatrick via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Demonstrators block traffic on Highway I-395 during a protest against a New York grand jury decision December 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, after putting him in a chokehold. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police watch protesters stand together on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Police escort protesters off the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
David McNew via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march in response to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The decision follows a similar ruling last week in which white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Those protests resulted in hundreds of arrests in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march in response to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The decision follows a similar ruling last week in which white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Those protests resulted in hundreds of arrests in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march in response to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The decision follows a similar ruling last week in which white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Those protests resulted in hundreds of arrests in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march in response to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The decision follows a similar ruling last week in which white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Those protests resulted in hundreds of arrests in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march in response to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict a police officer involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The decision follows a similar ruling last week in which white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Those protests resulted in hundreds of arrests in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: Demonstrators walk together during a protest December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova via Getty Images
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 3: A cab driver watches protesters December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Eric Garner died after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo on July 17, 2014. Pantaleo had suspected Garner of selling untaxed cigarettes. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Maya Malika of Oakland confronts a line of police officers during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Police officers take cover from the rain in a bus stop and under the awning of a Chase bank during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 3: Protesters march past a boarded up Smart and Final store during a demonstration following a Staten Island, New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner on December 3, 2014 in Oakland, California. The store was vandalized and looted last week during protests. The grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's death. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)