Thursday, December 23, 2004

What the @!%$* is Kwanzaa?!

Preface: A few days ago I was watching Nickelodeon with the boys and noticed the Happy Kwanzaa messages. I, like many Americans, was under the false impression that Kwanzaa was an African holiday that had been adopted by Blacks in America. I decided to look into it a bit (in case Justice came home singing Kwanzaa songs...I needed ammunition). I did all the research and wrote the post for today...and low and of the first damn stories on Hannity & Colmes last night was about the 'myth' of Kwanzaa. Further proof that I should be a FNC producer!

Looking back, I think I became aware of the existence of Kwanzaa in the early '90's. (I went to a private Christian school that wouldn't have entertained such secular notions). I assumed -due to the ingenious use of African words -that it was a bona fide holiday passed down to African-Americans through their African ancestry. I asked a few people and found that they had all surmised the same thing. We were all wrong. I assume that I never really thought about it before a) because there wasn't much talk of it in the past b) I didn't have a child in public school.

Here is the official definition of Kwanzaa:

Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture. Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times. When establishing Kwanzaa in 1966, Dr. Karenga included an additional "a" to the end of the spelling to reflect the difference between the African American celebration (kwanzaa) and the Motherland spelling (kwanza).

<>Sounds good right...cheery and harmless? Well there are a few facts that were left out of this rosy description. Dr. Maulana Karenga is actually a man named Ron Everette...born and raised in Maryland...not Africa. While attending UCLA in the '60's he created a movement to rival the Marxist Black Panthers. His movement was Nationalist in nature, wanting racial separation while the Panthers wanted integration. Violence under Karenga began shortly after when two of his followers shot and killed two members of the Panthers in the college cafeteria at UCLA. In Karenga's book, The Quotable Karenga, the "true path of blackness" is laid out for his followers. The book claims that the "sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black and live black." Robberies and assaults were sanctioned within the group, if they followed the guidelines of the 'black book'.

That is mild stuff though...compared to what he was eventually incarcerated for. This felon that 'made up' a holiday to 'de-whitenize' Christmas. On May 9, 1970 he tortured two women. He was sentenced in September of 1971 to 1-10 years on (2) counts of felony assault and (1) count of false imprisonment. The LA Times reported the story as such:

"The victims said they were living at Karenga’s home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing crystals in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis’ mouth and against her face. Police were told that one of Miss Jones’ toes was placed in a small vise, which then was tightened by the men and one woman. The following day Karenga told the women that ‘Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know." Miss Tamao put detergent in their mouths; Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them. The victims Deborah Jones and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothing." (LAT 5/14/71)

So this is the origin of the 'holiday' that is now given equal footing with Chanukah and Christmas. (Karenga puts L.Ron Hubbard to shame!) After his release from prison in 1975, Karenga adopted the ideals of Marxism which are reflected in the 'seven principles of Kwanzaa'...which include "collective work" and "collective economics". So, if your child comes home humming Kwanzaa songs during this PC season of 'WINTER celebrations'...ask them what their teacher told them about this 'holiday', and compare that with the facts...

<>source, source,source,source

On a Lighter note...Happy 6th Birthday to Justice today!!!


Sven said...

Wow, that's a pretty insightful bit of mythbusting there. Watch out, Santa Claus.

Listen, sweetheart, there are a lot of things in this wide world of weird that aren't always what they seem. Next time a Jehovah's Witness knocks on your door, ask them why they don't celebrate Christmas (hint: "feast of the Son of Isis," "Jeremiah 10:2-4" "Saturnalia," and butt sex.)

darrelplant said...

If you think that's weird, you should hear about these freaky people who believe an angel named Moroni (what a name!) came to their leader and handed him gold tablets -- which have mysteriously disappeared. They pissed off a lot of their neighbors, got driven out of town, set up their own community and drove -- or killed -- anyone who got in their way. Of course, that was about 100 years before Kwanzaa got started up, and now they're considered a fairly respectable group of folks, what with running most of the state of Utah. Of course, like you, they didn't like the blacks much, either.

Chris said...

Your post was interesting but I'm not sure of your point. I had not known the specific origins of the holiday or of its founder and find what he did disturbing to say the least.

But I'm not sure that makes Kwanzaa an illegimate holiday after 30 odd years of existence. It may have questionable origins but shouldn't its validity and usefulness be based on where it stands now?

As far as it being a 'made-up' holiday, aren't all holidays 'made' when a person or group decide to honor an occassion? Are Memorial Day, Labor Day or even Arbor Day not quite holidays because they are made-up?

UrbanPandit said...

Interesting Post...
But I fail to see the point.
Is this a dis of this particular holiday beause it might be surrounded by certain mythology as oppossed to all the others whose myths fell from heaven? Or are you just pissed at the supposed disreputable quality of the inventor? Because as we all know all the other holidays were decreed by God, right. A little clarity is in order here.

ALa said...

Discussion on this post in Haloscan comments....(go to main page)....