Kwanzaa, The Unethical Holiday


Kwanzaa, which I began becoming faintly aware of when I was in the administration at Georgetown University and we had to include it in any holiday greetings, was always a phony holiday, packaged as and often claimed to be an authentic African alternative to Christmas when it was really a made-up event by an American in America. It’s not celebrated in Africa; it’s not celebrated anywhere but in the United States, The extra “a” at the end was just tacked on to make the thing seem more authentic, like the fake name “Häagen-Dazs.”

Here’s how one source describes in part the “holiday’s” founding on December 26, 1966:

The first day of the first Kwanzaa [was] celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. The seven-day holiday, which has strong African roots, was designed by Dr. Karenga as a celebration of African American family, community, and culture. He founded US, a Black cultural organization, and looked to Africa in search of practices and concepts that might empower and unite the nation’s African American community. Inspired by Africa’s harvest celebrations, he decided to develop a nonreligious holiday that would stress the importance of family and community while giving African Americans an opportunity to explore their African identities…The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry readings, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the kinara, or candle holder, then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba, are values of African culture that contribute to building and reinforcing community among African Americans. These values include unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, economic cooperation, purpose, creativity, and faith. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31. Today, Kwanzaa is celebrated by millions of people of African descent all across the United States and Canada.

Here’s how Karenga described his creation to the Washington Post:

“I created Kwanzaa,” laughed Ron Karenga like a teenager who’s just divulged a deeply held, precious secret. “People think it’s African. But it’s not. I wanted to give black people a holiday of their own. So I came up with Kwanzaa. I said it was African because you know black people in this country wouldn’t celebrate it if they knew it was American. Also, I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of bloods would be partying!”

He didn’t even try to make the “holiday” culturally or historically consistent. The late conservative commentator Tony Snow explained,

There is no part of Kwanzaa that is not fraudulent. Begin with the name. The celebration comes from the Swahili term “matunda yakwanza,” or “first fruit,” and the festival’s trappings have Swahili names — such as “ujima” for “collective work and responsibility” or “muhindi,” which are ears of corn celebrants set aside for each child in a family.

Unfortunately, Swahili has little relevance for American blacks. Most slaves were ripped from the shores of West Africa. Swahili is an East African tongue.

To put that in perspective, the cultural gap between Senegal and Kenya is as dramatic as the chasm that separates, say, London and Tehran. Imagine singing “God Save the Queen” in Farsi, and you grasp the enormity of the gaffe.

Worse, Kwanzaa ceremonies have no discernible African roots. No culture on earth celebrates a harvesting ritual in December, for instance…The inventors of Kwanzaa weren’t promoting a return to roots; they were shilling for Marxism. They even appropriated the term “ujima,” which Julius Nyrere cited when he uprooted tens of thousands of Tanzanians and shipped them forcibly to collective farms, where they proved more adept at cultivating misery than banishing hunger.

Even the rituals using corn don’t fit. Corn isn’t indigenous to Africa. Mexican Indians developed it, and the crop was carried worldwide by white colonialists.

Snow concluded, “Our treatment of Kwanzaa provides a revealing sign of how far we have yet to travel on the road to reconciliation. The white establishment has thrown in with it, not just to cash in on the business, but to patronize black activists and shut them up.”

Bingo! That’s what I saw at Georgetown: white liberal administrators embracing Kwanzaa to avoid confrontations with an increasingly militant and demanding black student body. The fake holiday was an early device to pull blacks and whites apart, encouraging African-Americans to reject Christmas, one of the primary unifying events in American culture. Kwanzaa wasn’t the only factor or even one of the most influential, but it helped grease the slippery slope to where we are now: Al Sharpton, Black Lives Matter, racial spoils, anti-white bigotry, the 1619 Project, the Trayvon Martin/Mike Brown/ George Floyd extended ethics train wreck, and more.

And Kwanzaa’s creator, the distinguished chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach? Maulana Karenga was convicted in 1971 of torturing two women who were members of US, described in the misleading description above as a “cultural organization” without revealing that “US” stands for “united slaves, and that it was a black nationalist cult.He was convicted in 1971 of torturing two women who were members of US.

The LA Times reported in 1971:

“Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis’ mouth and placed against Miss Davis’ face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”

Nice creator! But most celebrants of Kwanzaa don’t know any of this, because the mainstream media is afraid it will be called racist if it reports the truth.


Source: The Lid

17 thoughts on “Kwanzaa, The Unethical Holiday

  1. And then there’s Festivus (from Wiki):

    O’Keefe founded Festivus in 1966 to commemorate his first date with his wife Deborah, three years earlier. Later their son Dan O’Keefe became a writer and worked on the Seinfeld television series. During the 1997–1998 season, he introduced Festivus to the rest of us in a Seinfeld episode named “The Strike”.

    Pathetic. I’m founding a holiday for February 13, to commemorate the day I met Mrs. OB. Not sure about a name though. Maybe it can be featured on an over-rated TV sitcom.

    • “I’m founding a holiday for February 13, to commemorate the day I met Mrs. OB. Not sure about a name though.”

      Your WESconsin pal is the King…(oops…sexist, paternalistic, White Supremacist, ad infinitum/ad nauseum)…Doyen/Maven of acronyms; allow me a little time to noodle something out.

      FWIW, T D I B T L Y I T W is already taken, and you’ll never guess by whom…
      *Y-Chromosomal Unit

  2. You know, back in Italy, my people used to parade the saints through the street on their feast days. When we got here, we kept right on doing it, once there were enough of us to deter abuse.

    The tradition of the Irish marching on St. Patrick’s day actually started here, in New York, before the United States even existed, when British soldiers of Irish descent decided to parade on St. Patrick’s day. After the United States came into being, the mainly Protestant establishment came to dislike this celebration, not because of where the participants came from, but because they were Catholic. To this day, the “Fighting 69th” regiment traditionally leads that parade. In the days around the time of the civil war, they were there because they were primarily an Irish regiment, and they were there to protect the marchers from harassment. Somehow, harassing others because of their faith loses its appeal if it is likely to earn you a stab from a bayonet or a punch from the butt end of a rifle.

    Ron Karenga, with a doctorate from a university that no longer exists, synthesized Kwanzaa. The seven values he appends to it were also the seven values of the Symbionese Liberation Army, and he was damn well aware of that. The fact is that he was a black separatist. There’s not much difference between him and guys like Mark Essex, the New Orleans shooter, who renounced Christianity, assumed a Swahili name (Mata or “taut bow”), and found he derived tremendous satisfaction from physically hurting white people. The only difference is he made his attacks with a pen instead of a rifle.

    I will always acknowledge the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah this time of year, which dates back over 2,000 years and has always been celebrated by Jews wherever they happen to be, however, I will never acknowledge this holiday created from whole cloth to further divide the 13% from the rest of this nation. You mark my words, we are moving into a time in this nation where no celebration that has too much vanilla and not enough chocolate will be observed or even permitted. Expect the vitamin administration to make a very big deal out of wishing the Muslims a happy Eid, playing up Martin Luther King day and also the new holiday of Juneteenth, issuing a big ass proclamation regarding indigenous peoples day this October, and making president to be Harris the face of Kwanzaa. However, the holidays that most of us know will barely get a mention. And, if you dare speak up, you will be rebuffed and told “shut up, white boy, you have no right to speak up.”

    • I am perfectly fine with Juneteenth. It is kind of a memorialization of trivia, but it is “significant trivia.”

      If the story of the United States is the story of the eradication of slavery and the promotion of liberty, Juneteenth is the completion of that part of the story.


      • The notion that Juneteenth ended slavery in the United States is factually inaccurate. Slavery didn’t end in the Unites States until the passage of the 13th Amendment. The Emancipation Proclamation, by its own terms, did not apply to any states other than those of the Confederacy. It did not free slaves in Kentucky or Maryland, for example. It also did not free slaves in the Southern States in those areas occupied by Union troops, which, at the time, was much of the Hampton Roads area here in Virginia. It did not apply, for example, to Elizabeth City County (now the City of Hampton) or Princess Anne County (now the City of Virginia Beach). I suspect that most people who celebrate Juneteenth have never read the Proclamation. But, heck, why let facts get in the way of woke?

  3. 1966 was a busy year apparently. The church of satan was founded by Anton LaVey that year as well.

    This Kwanzaa thing reminds me of the Roots TV series event that took the nation by storm in the 1980’s. The whole thing was fabricated by Haley and helped to foster black resentment.

    Gosh, you almost wonder if keeping blacks perpetually angry and separate from the rest of the country has useful purposes politically.

    From now on when I hear “Happy Kwanzaa” I’ll say back “Happy fake holiday.”

    • I think you’re right about some wanting to keep Blacks angry and separate, just as I believe the Catholic church and Democrats like lots of poor people who will look to them for salvation. But, when it comes to holidays, I’ll go with ‘et cum spiritu tuo’, somewhat as the way you accept ‘Merry Christmas’ greetings.

  4. I was actually in a church (Unity) where we were invited to celebrate this fake holiday by one of the administrative staff of the church. Maulana Karenga is really a piece of work. How he got off with mayhem and a relatively light sentence at the California Men’s Colony escapes me for ‘disciplining’ those women. The best way to describe him is that of a psychopath on the order of Jim Jones.

  5. I don’t know how accurate this is, but according to the wiki Kwanzaa is in serious decline. In 2009 it was estimated that 500,000 to 2million (1-5%) of black people actually celebrate this holiday. What is interesting is in 2015 1.9% of people pulled (around 6 million) said they were going to celebrate the holiday.

    If I understand this correctly, x3 the number of other people celebrate this holiday more than black people.

  6. But. It. Gets. Better!

    Additional commentary:

  7. Stipulated:
    1. A holiday was intentionally designed within the past century.
    2. It draws on assorted concepts and themes from various regions of the African continent, but wasn’t a cohesive tradition directly passed on to and inherited by enslaved people the way some syncretistic religions (and precious little else) were.
    3. The person who created the holiday seems to have been a horrible person.

    I think it’s a logical leap to say that the celebration of Kwanzaa itself is unethical. Just like any holiday, it becomes what people make it. If some people feel that Christmas doesn’t speak to or for them, for any reason (perhaps because they’ve experienced Christians using their religion to justify bigotry), then why should they not create and keep a tradition of celebrating community virtues?

    Many atheists are in a similar situation, where they want to have a strong community but most of the traditions for maintaining one belong to religions, none of which they subscribe to. Would you say that creating a Schelling point on the winter solstice for trying the community together around shared values and experiences is unethical? That it divides us from others? That we should go along to get along with the dominant religious community, that doesn’t represent us or share our values, experiences, and perspectives?

    Are you advocating for religious conformity, for people to not create new traditions, for people to strive for more authenticity when creating traditions, or for people to refuse to coopt any ideas originating from a cult leader?

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