I originally shared the bulk of this post in 2015. As I ran across a Happy Kwanzaa post from NASCAR of all things, I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. Really folks. I am so proud to be a Southerner, not.
Kwanzaa is racist. It is contrived. SOME PEOPLE are trying to replace Christmas. The founder was a Sixties’ black militant with ties to the Black Power Movement and not even African. Most of these arguments are made by very “hard right” publications like…well all of them.
Is St. Patrick’s Day racist? It’s no longer a religious celebration I would say. There are a lot of racist Black Irish I would think. Wait, even Irish Black Irish are white. Okay, is Cinco de Mayo racist. It celebrates a great victory over the French…in Mexico who, for the most part, don’t celebrate it. There are dozens of other ethnocultural celebrations, mostly white celebrations, so why pick on Kwanzaa? Are our racist petticoats still showing?
Kwanzaa is contrived. All holidays are contrived. When Adam and Eve were created or our forefathers learned to walk on two feet, did they have a holiday to celebrate? I don’t think so. I don’t know when the celebration of Christmas first occurred. Well, I do. I also know there was no biblical mandate to celebrate the Birth of Christ at all. Does that detract from its importance? To learn about the origins of Christmas celebrations you might like to visit the following site: http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm
Again, why are we picking on Kwanzaa? If you are going to pick on a contrived holiday pick on St. Valentine’s Day. The former religious celebration has become an observance of guilt for the purpose of lining the pockets of candy makers, jewelers, and florist. Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and ends January 1 and is not a religious celebration at all. It is a celebration of family, community, nation, and race and doesn’t really compete with Christmas or the dozens of other ends of year or New Year celebrations. Why not pick on them?
I cannot deny that Kwanzaa’s founder, Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett) was a Sixties Black Power militant, who at the time had never set foot in Africa. He even served time on what was trumped up and politically motivated charges. He is now Dr. Karenga and taught African Studies which I guess makes him even worse…a liberal.
The Sixties were a time of social strife. Civil Rights, the War in Viet Nam, gender inequality, the Native American movement, and the Chicano movement were just some of the social issues championed by people like Cassius Clay, known to us now as Muhammad Ali, or Tommie Smith’s and Juan Carlos’s Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics. Let’s not forget that this was just two years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and just two years before the assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. African Americans might be forgiven for wanting something positive to hang on to…and still might.
To say it is not African is absurd. There are over fifty countries in Africa and some three thousand tribal units. Many of the countries did not exist at the time Africans were being shipped to the New World. Each has a different culture. Kwanzaa is a blending of those cultures. Many African Americans do not have the luxury of knowing the country or tribe of their origin, so Kwanzaa is not culture specific. Whoopsie doo dah! I would say celebrate to your heart’s content.
If you would wish to learn more about Kwanzaa, History.com, connected to the History Channel, has a link: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history you might want to visit. I would say “Don’t let the facts confuse you.”