Skip to comments.Kwanzaa Unwrapped
Posted on 12/26/2003 6:07:25 PM PST by Mr_Pacific
It's December 26th. Christmas is over. That means its time for most people to tear down the tree, store the decorations, and figure out what they're going to do with the ugly shirts and cheap perfume they unwrapped yesterday.
However, for some people the 26th is the beginning of a new holiday. And by new I don't just mean another, I mean the guy who invented it is still alive and making money giving speeches about it.
Kwanzaa was invented in the United States by a man named Ron Everett, later to be known as Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga said that he created the holiday during the '60s as part of a "re-Africanization" process "a going back to black."
This wasn't long before two members of Karenga's organization, US, murdered some members of the Black Panthers, and Karenga himself was convicted of torturing some women from his own organization with a soldering iron.
More on unity later.
Once out of prison, Karenga put his violent and divisive path behind him and became a Marxist - and perhaps the first ex-convict to teach at California State University.
All that aside, I don't think the past of the man who invented the holiday provides a fair and broad enough basis to judge it by. I would think it much better to give the thing a fair shake and look more closely at the principles it is based on.
According to The Official Kwanzaa Web Site, There is no way to understand and appreciate the meaning and message of Kwanzaa without understanding and appreciating its profound and pervasive concern with values. Let's explore.
The Seven Principles
Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Unity in the family is always good. A great place to start is making sure any children that belong to you have both a father and mother at home or are at least receiving some kind of support and parenting from you.
I agree with unity in the community and nation as well. Start by not shooting people from other activist groups, and avoid torturing people with soldering irons.
Look for things to unite over rather than divide. Look for ways to solve problems rather than looking at your toes to make sure no one is stepping on them. Stand up against those who are causing problems the violent, those who disrespect women, those who promote thuggery, those who instill hopelessness and despondence, and those who want to divide your community.
Race? No. This suggests that there can be complete unity within any given race, which further implies everyone within a given race is the same that they inherently share the same values, principles, and moral standards. That's racism.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Uh... Ok. Does it matter what you'll define yourself as? I'm good with the rest. Parents still need to name their kids though.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
This smells too much like communism. If other people are going to be responsible for your problems then you will have no reason to take responsibility for them yourself. I would much rather this read: To be a productive member of the community and take responsibility for my problems and welfare so no one else has to.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Our own? Who is our again? Also, more communism see Ujima above. Pure capitalism, individual responsibility, and high regard for personal freedom is NOT what's wrong with Africa, where these principles supposedly originated.
Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Our people? Who are your people? More communism still. See Umoja and Ujima.
Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Who can't love that one? Count me in.
Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
There goes the our people thing again. How about To believe with all our heart in the human spirit...?
Who wouldn't agree with the rest? Of course we need to believe in our parents, teachers, our leaders - starting with President Bush, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle especially the one against terrorism, and specifically that in Iraq.
My honest examination of Kwanzaa is complete. Remove all the racist exclusiveness and communist ideology, and you might have a few good principles to work with.
But hey, even with all the negative aspects you can still look at the bright side. It won't hurt anyone. Like any holiday, most of the people who celebrate it are either oblivious to its true origins and deeper meanings, or couldn't care less about them.
While some of Kwanzaa's principles are questionable at best, they are easily ignored, and the rest are generic or meaningless enough to be harmless. I say what the hell, go ahead and enjoy Kwanzaa just don't think about it too much.
Lots of Kwanza and Jacko threads tonight. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
For some of us, it's only beginning. The period leading up to Christmas Eve, that's Advent. We are now early in the 12 Days of Christmas.
Anyway, while at the store today, they had all sorts of Christmas stuff... giftwrap and the like... on big time sale. I got a Kwanzaa giftbag, and now I have to wait a whole year to use it on my Dad's gift.
But I will have the absolute BEST time waiting to "whammy" him!
Al(the SNL joker)Sharpton expressed this principle when he described the white,Jewish store owner in the Freddy's Massacre case as a "white interloper." Another princple of Kwanzaa should be: "Don't become your own enemy."
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