What Is Kwanzaa and Why Should You Care?

December 27, 2012

If you were like me, you’ve heard of Kwanzaa (also spelled, Kwaanza), may have friends who celebrate it, but don’t know much about it. If you’re in that boat, here is a primer:

  • It is a non-religious week-long holiday generally celebrated only in the U.S. but also somewhat in Canada.
  • It is a celebration that honors African heritage in the African-American culture.
  • It’s observed from December 26 to January 1 and culminates in a feast and gift-giving.
  • Kwanzaa has seven core principles called Nguzo Saba: Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
  • It was created by Maulana Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett) in 1966, founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers.

Kikombe Cha Umoja

Not many people celebrate this “new” holiday these days, but many of those who are still celebrating are likely not aware of the history of its founder.

Can you separate the holiday from its founder?

The founder, Ronald Everett (AKA Maulana Ron Karenga, AKA Maulana Karenga) has a long criminal record. In 1971, for instance, Everett served time in jail for assault. (By then Everett had changed his name to Maulana Ron Karenga and began to affect a pseudo African costume and act the part of a native African — even though he had been born in the USA.) This wasn’t mere assault: It was the sexual assault and even torture that he perpetrated against some of his own female followers. At the time, The L.A. Times reported that he placed a hot soldering iron in one woman’s mouth and used a vise to crush another’s toe. Nine years after he invented Kwaanza, Karenga became a Marxist.

As writer Lynn Woolley wrote of Professor Karenga:

And so this is Kwanzaa. The militant past of the creator is now ignored in favor of the so-called seven principles of Nguza Saba, principles such as unity, family and self-determination that could have come from Bill Bennett’s Book of Virtues. The word “Kwanzaa” is Swahili, meaning something like “fresh fruits of harvest.”

No one remembers the part about “re-Africanization” or the sevenfold path of blackness that Dr. Karenga once espoused. Hardly anyone remembers the shootings, the beatings, the tortures and the prison terms that were once the center of his life. It’s just not PC to bring that sort of stuff up now that Kwanzaa is commercialized and making big bucks.

Ann Coulter does not entirely agree:

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another charming legacy of the Worst Generation. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the exact same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI’s COINTELPRO. It is a holiday celebrated exclusively by idiot white liberals. Black people celebrate Christmas.

Regardless of what pundits pose, most of Karenga’s crimes were committed against Black people, but today he is simply touted as the African-American academic who created a holiday for “cultural unity.”

Food for thought as you consider what to celebrate this season.


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