The Afronista Rants #5: What Precisely is Kwanzaa Anyway?

The holiday season, which usually runs from Thanksgiving until New Year’s, is usually bombarded with the pagan-derived antics of the Christians and the more solemn rituals of the Jews.  Of course, you also have your heathen commerical presence with the devil-worshipping Santa Claus and Black Friday ad posters beckoning God-fearing people to their doom.

In these trying times where religion is fighting an endless, pointless war with evil’s henchman, otherwise known as Wal-Mart and Best Buy, one struggles how to best converse with someone without offending them or *gasp* being politically incorrect.  Should I say Merry Christmas?  Or is it Happy Holidays?  You never know what to say and it winds up being awkward and senseless.

Depending on where you are in the country, things will be different.  In the South, it’s Merry Christmas, no questions asked.  They’re all God-fearing Christians down there; likewise in the Midwest.  It’s only in the heathen big cities do you have a problem, and of course, the hairy-legged, bra-burning, hippies out west are more of the Happy Holidays sort.  What I don’t notice is the Happy Kwanzaa crowd.  Where are these people?

Every year I see a vague semblance of this holiday, like a spectre in the night.  I do not precisely know what it is.  Being black, perhaps this is shameful, but then as I give this matter further thought I realise that none of my black friends, as black as they are, seem to celebrate the mysterious holiday of Kwanzaa.  What is this Kwanzaa, anyway?  One year my aunt sent me a Christmas card in the mail with a Kwanzaa stamp on it.  I was 22 and I thought, “What the hell is this?”

According to my internet search, Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration honouring universal African heritage and culture.  You light some candles, you have a party and give some gifts from Boxing Day to New Year’s Day.  Sounds an awful lot like Chanukah, but what do I know?  As I read further, I see that this holiday was invented in the sixties, so it is not a long standing tradition, barely 40 years old.  This guy, this Ron Karenga, created it to be a specifically African American holiday, to “give blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practise of the dominant society.”

Well, that’s just the most moronic thing I’ve ever heard.  Given that it was created in the sixties during the Civil Rights movement speaks volumes.  This, in my view, is another one of those things that black people invent to further segregate and alienate themselves from the white society they view as the oppressor, which is, as I’ve always said, one of the worst things we can possibly do as a race.  I promise I won’t beat that dead horse any further.

Let’s give blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practise of the dominant society.  Sorry to say that most blacks don’t know their own history.  Will Kwanzaa give them an opportunity to do so?  I sincerely doubt it.  Let’s have a holiday to celebrate being black, but if white people had a holiday to celebrate being white, black people would shit themselves at the injustice of it all.  (And don’t say Saint Patrick’s Day because it is not a celebration of being white, morons.)  Let’s have a holiday to celebrate being black and put it directly during the Judeo-Christian-Pagan holidays so black people don’t have to imitate the practise of the dominant society.

Does anybody else notice what a ridiculous statement this is?  Hello… most black people have very strong Christian roots.  You go south and all the black people are Southern Baptists.  In fact, while it is conceivable, how many black people do you know that aren’t Christian.  You will find your Black Muslims in the big cities, but for the most part, they’re all Christian. So you’re basically telling people to forgo their faith in favour of some secular garbage that celebrates the furtherance of segregation and racism.

So there’s something called the seven principles of blackness:  Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.  These are not bad principles at all, but why do they have to be the seven principles of blackness?  Why can they not be seven principles that all people should have?  This sounds just like the movement from which this “holiday” sprang:  black power and a seclusionary society.

To me, Kwanzaa sounds like some made up crap that black people invented to make themselves feel like they have something special, something of their own.  The sad part is, this “holiday” is so self-centered that it purposely excludes other groups of people, large groups of other people, making it impossible to celebrate in this day and age without looking like a racist jackass.  If I invited my white friends over a Kwanzaa celebration and then went on about the seven principles of blackness, I wouldn’t make them feel very much at home.  Thirty years after Ron Karenga made that outrageous statement, he now says that Kwanzaa can be celebrated by all races and it is not a celebration to divert people from their religion and religious holidays.  “Kwanzaa is not a substitute for anything.  In fact, it offers a clear and self-conscious option, and chance to make a proactive choice, a self-affirming and positive choice as distinct from a reactive one.”

What does that even mean?  I doubt even he knows.

There are varying statistics on precisely how many black people celebrate this nonsense.  Some say that 28 million people celebrate it.  Others say 12 million or 30 million.  Based solely on observation of what is around me and absolutely no scientific evidence at all, I find these numbers to be an exaggeration.  I do not know anybody who celebrates Kwanzaa.  I do not know anybody who knows anybody that celebrates Kwanzaa.  Where are these 12-30 million people?  Let me know because I want to see a Kwanzaa celebration.  I want to see what these people do, how they live, who they are.  I would like to see more so that I can make more than just basic generalisations on what I think I know.

At any rate, as I do not celebrate anything that purposely sets black people off from society, I abhor the very idea of Kwanzaa.  If I were Christian I would be offended at the dates chosen for this celebration.  It really seems like they were trying to get black people to not celebrate Christmas.  I’m also perturbed by the fact that many of the rituals in Kwanzaa look like Jewish traditions, but yet this was supposed to celebrate Africanism as a whole.

This is not a good look.

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2 responses to “The Afronista Rants #5: What Precisely is Kwanzaa Anyway?

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