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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, December 29, 2005
People keep asking, "what's Kwanzaa?" I knew part of the answer: that it's a holiday created by some professor in the '60s that purports to celebrate African culture. After reading this article by Mary Katharine Ham, I now know more about "some professor".

My Rocky Relationship With Kwanzaa


Later, I found out why. Revealing that Kwanzaa was created by Ron Karenga leads to revealing Ron Karenga, and that subject is hardly one that's fit for a second-grade classroom.

Why? Because at various times during his life, Karenga was head of a black nationalist group not known for its non-violent tactics; he was convicted and served time for torturing two women-- members of his own group-- by whipping them with electrical cords and burning their mouths and faces with a hot iron; he invented Kwanzaa as a way to "de-whitize" Christmas, as Al Sharpton once put it, expressly as a way to separate the races.

Worth reading the whole thing.
As for the Obvious and Pathetic whinging against Multiculturalism... well what else can you say? It's obvious and pathetic. At least with the Nguzo Saba you have something concrete to base your whining against. It's not like trying not to insult Native Americans because of some sports teams logo. What can be said for Kwanzaa unlike other squishy PC garbage is that Kwanzaa actually states what it is all about. This is something declared and principled, not something ineffable and essential. Anybody can be equally into Kuumba, just like anybody can eat Thai food. It's about something whereas a lot of PC nonsense is about nothing at all.

And this is where the enemies of Kwanzaa fall flat. I mean how could you not see that huge softball teed up and not take a swing. What is Kujichagulia and why is that Anti-American? Well, Kugjichagulia is Self-Reliance. Oops, can't go there. How about Ujimaa? Well, that's Collective Work and Responsibility. Hmmm. Can't really knock that. How about Umoja (Unity), Kuumba (Creativity). Imani (Faith), Nia (Purpose).. Damn, strike six. All anyone can really point an accusatory finger at is Ujamaa, the little Marxist problem child of Kwanzaa. But when you really look at where Marxist and socialist influence comes from in American politics, it ain't Kwanzaa. So there's a bit of a chicken and egg problem here. Simply stated, Democrats are more influential on black politics than Kwanzaa, so tearing down Ujamaa (which most Americans have never even heard of) is kind of a non-starter, propaganda-wise.

Therefore the criticism of Kwanzaa can't get most of its weight from the substance of Kwanzaa itself. Much better to go after Karenga, a convicted felon.

My problem is with the separatism. The principles of Kwanzaa may be nice, but they are an unnecessary hearkening-back to a fictitious Africa. Most of the people who celebrate it are as African as I am. If you want a religious celebration, try Christmas (or for Black Jews, Chanukkah). If you want a cultural celebration, try fourth of July. If you need a Black cultural identity, there are plenty of things that are unique to the African-American experience. Why start another faux cultural tradition that aims to further separate Black from White (and everyone else)?

Oh, and welcome to the coffeehouse. Glad to have you here!
What I have a problem with is a tradition that was started by a convicted felon. This is a general problem with the left and the black leadership - who are very left anyway. They constantly want to honor people who are not worthy of honor - like Tookie
Williams. In my book, they lose vast amounts of credibility by these kind of actions. Pity so many are not critial thinkers.

Further, b&c told me the other day that she had found out that the tenets of Kwanza were taken from the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Anybody remember Patty Hearst?). They were an anti-social gang of criminals. So maybe Kwanza was really meant to be a celebration of anti-social behavior. A nuance that most people have not realized.
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