Friday, December 17, 2004
The Kwanzaa Racket
I asked a friend from Kenya. "No," he said, "we don't celebrate Kwanzaa in Kenya. I think that is an Ethiopian holiday." An Ethiopian acquaintance demurred, "I think that is a Tanzanian holiday." A Tanzanian said he thought it was Gambian. The Gambian believed it to be a holiday in Guinea-Bissau. "No," said my friend from Guinea-Bissau. " We don't celebrate Kwanzaa. I think that is a holiday in Kenya."
So where does that leave us? For my answer, I went to The Complete Kwanzaa by Detroit public school administrator Dorothy Winbush Riley. The first Kwanzaa celebration took place in Los Angeles in 1966. Maulana Karenga celebrated Kwanzaa that year with his family and friends, setting the dates for the observation between Christmas and New Year's Day.
(Edited for brevity)
Karenga, arguably the father of Kwanzaa, repeatedly uses the word "African" to describe the holiday and borrows from the continent's languages to describe its foundations. Although I never got through to him, I did get an interesting response about Kwanzaa from the nice lady at the Black History Museum in Alexandria, Va.
"I would say you would find no African nations and one American nation celebrating Kwanzaa," she said.
Pas de merde, Sherlock.
Ordinarily I wouldn't comment about this under the principle of "If it makes them happy and doesn't harm me let them enjoy" (see tomorrow's post re: that) but it isn't a real African holiday and it's being crammed down my kids' throats at that unlovely public school. Remember that Karenga is a convicted felon (for torturing women with a soldering iron and a vise). Real example here for the young'uns.