A Post-Obama Kwanzaa

When Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966, he aimed to knit together black communities tattered by racial injustice and … Continued

When Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966, he aimed to knit together black communities tattered by racial injustice and isolated from their African heritage. Karenga turned to West Africa and the language of Swahili to coin the term for a holiday celebration that means “first fruits of the harvest.” Kwanzaa unfolds over the seven day period from December 26 to January 1 and breathes through seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Though planted in Black Nationalist soil, Kwanzaa eventually flowered in black bourgeois America and has been globally recognized. A new documentary film, “Black Candle,” made by M.K. Asante and narrated by Maya Angelou, traces Kwanzaa’s origins in the black power movement to its flourishing as a holiday embraced by 40 million people worldwide.

n the United States, Kwanzaa has boiled or simmered as the nation’s racial temperature has changed. In its first couple of decades, Kwanzaa called attention to African roots and American fruits as its celebrations seamlessly united Kente clothe and homegrown cultural consciousness. Kwanzaa has prospered, it seems, when blacks have endured tough times. White supremacy in the ’60s, racial backlash in the ’70s, and anti-multiculturalism in the ’80s all lent energy to the premise of pan-Africanism: that blacks the world over should unite in common opposition to oppression. But when black folk make progress and enjoy spurts of success, reclaiming African roots is often seen as romantic and a relic of past struggle.

In accounting for Kwanzaa’s shifting fortunes, we must note the tension between a pan-Africanist and a Diasporic black identity: while the former voices common African values and a black homecoming, the latter speaks of lack, exile and migration – in short, a loss of home and what it means to black identity and the rituals that sustain it. Kwanzaa, as with all similar celebrations, is tied to the fate of the people it represents. Rituals rise and fall according to social needs and political desires. Given the Diasporic dimensions of black identity in America – where folk who’ve migrated from Africa, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, South America and the like meet native-born blacks – the erosion of the ties that bind is predictable, even as the celebrations that hold black identity together change and reflect the broadening of what it means to be black.

The political climate affects black rituals too. A lot has been made of the number of posts that black life confronts: post-soul, post-black, post-racial, and post-civil rights. In this era of black posts, pillars fall, whether civil rights leaders whose approach is viewed as passé, or as rituals of black cohesion are viewed by many blacks as quaint and largely irrelevant. A lot of that talk picked up pace with the election of Barack Obama as president, a monumental event that eclipsed black fears in some quarters (racism could no longer keep black folk from the big prizes of American life), exacerbated them in others (because of his success the bulk of blacks who continue to struggle might be forgotten). What’s a people – and how is “people” exactly defined in such conditions – to do?

In times like these, when the politics of race have shifted, celebrations like Kwanzaa take a hit in mainstream black life, or at least the black life that’s on display in the mainstream. But they often rev up in smaller, more intimate spaces, and in quarters not often observed by mainstream eyes where the holiday has always thrived. Ironically enough, Kwanzaa gets canonized in mainstream black circles – for instance, it arrives on postage stamps that commemorate its existence, a thin slice of memory licked by black tongues that otherwise may not taste its fruits in ceremonial practices. And it is observed on college campuses where students of all races are welcomed to celebrate black life and identity in a hospitable environment whose emphasis is often less on politics than potluck dinners.

But the holiday’s most faithful practitioners proclaim its original intent: bridging black folk across the chasms of land, language, water and religion as they forge solidarity in resisting obstacles and embracing opportunities to their common destiny. As the devotees of Kwanzaa understand, those aspirations have never been of much interest to the mainstream during any period of the nation’s history. And the increased fortunes of black folk cause many of them to focus their energy and attention elsewhere. But for its true believers, Kwanzaa is as relevant and necessary now as it’s ever been.

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including “Holler if You Hear Me,” “Is Bill Cosby Right?” and “I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr.” He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Written by

  • medogsbstfrnd

    Dyson in a most telling last sentence says, “…Kwanzaa is as relevant and necessary now as it’s ever been.” That is saying a mouthful. It has never been relevant except for a fringe of black nationalists. Wake up. The victory of Barack Obama is a resounding confirmation of the black middle class and the bedrock American hymn of practicality “work hard and you can succeed.” Obama’s victory spells the end to black middle class guilt and I’d say it spells the end to Kwanzaa but as noted, Kwanzaa never really had much of a beginning since it was and is a fiction. Barack Obama: Harvard educated, wealthy, successful, Centrist. Oh, and let’s not forget: he has traded in Rev.Dr. Wright for Pastor Rick. This narrative, rooted as it is in reality, will overwhelm the fiction and ideology of the Left.

  • familynet

    Yeah that’s what we need, more nonsensical holidays!

  • veloboldie

    Thanks for the history lesson, professor Dyson. At my recent work holiday party game one of the questions was when Kwanzaa was invented. To my surprise, majority of the African American colleagues did not know the answer.

  • Politicall_yIncorrect

    For the professor himself Black identity, Black this and that is important to keep hisr job going and get paid. Playing race card is no longer acceptable after Obama victory. If you so much love Africa and find America is so bad place to live , it is may be time to settle down there. Well, if not all, most of Africans are ready to come to the US to live here–simply because it is much better place to live in democracy, secular, modern and relatively fair soceity. No ore romanticism please!

  • _virginian_

    Kwanzaa has never been relevant, and still isn’t. Sorry.

  • croaker69

    Politicall_yIncorrect I don’t care much for Kwanzaa or the idea of making up holidays to separate blacks from whites and/or unite blacks where there is no real connection but the logic here is egregiously stupid. Perhaps all those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day should just bugger off back to Ireland?

  • jhtlag1

    Kids naturally rebel against do-goodisms and the invented ritual of Kwaanza is no exception; kids can feel its non-authentic design and therefore dismiss it.I don’t know how or what makes authentic ritual, some of it is intrinsic, summer solstice, winter soltice, planting, harvest, others are a shared memory due to religion or tribal history but sadly, Kwaanza has none of that. It is unfortuanate that Africans have lost their historical rituals but those are not easily gained back no matter how just that may seem. They are Americans now, for better or worse and follow American rituals.Kwaanza has failed for the simple reason that you can’t go back – you may not even know what back is – just that you have to add a little every time you go forward. Blacks are doing that.

  • dheller11

    Kwanzaa is and was a joke started by a street hustler looking for an angle. It worked. Do not however confuse a solid hustle with something significant. Kwanzaa has no more significance than the Great Pumpkin, or Peter Cotton Tale. Sorry fellows; stupid is as stupid does.

  • ndickover

    I’m not much for fabricated holidays. Then again, if Hallmark can do it, why not conscious-driven African American professors?But if random people are going to create holidays intended for consumption by vast swaths of the population, don’t expect them to be taken any more seriously than Hallmark holidays are. Also, if you want them to succeed as another “just so” Holiday, expect to market the big bucks that Hallmark does to keep them remembered.

  • Apostrophe

    I firmly believe WTBS’s annual ritual of broadcasting “A Christmas Story” has attracted more adherents than Kwanzaa.

  • Rock100

    Eric:This is a deep and powerful piece. It’s essence, like Kwanzaa speaks to the uniting of a people for the individual, collective and common good.Too bad some respondents have yet to understand and appreciate pro-black does not mean anti-white or anti-American. We want the best for ourselves, this country and the rest of the world including Africa, the mother continent which birthed all mankind. Yes, even the uninformed who invited you to return to Africa has African blood flowing through his/her veins…

  • rlj1

    I didn’t like Kwanza before and I don’t like it now. Obama’s election will not make a difference to this black woman.

  • brice333

    This is satire, right?

  • delusional1

    What is this column doing under the faith headline? It doesn’t have anything to do with faith or anything else for that matter. Yawnnnn.

  • Extempraneous

    I think the main reason Kwanzaa exists today is so that Michael Eric Dyson will have something to talk about when a student organization at a large, urban university wants to pay him to speak about how black nationalism can be repackaged and repurposed as mainstream, and receive foundation funding.

  • cletus1

    I’m all for more holidays if it gets me off work. I’ve never been quite certain what Kwanza actually is, but I like the hats. We have a cultural holiday as well where we celebrate the sweeping of the Mongols from the Eurasian steppes by the Visigoths. The seven day celebration is culminated by a tractor pull and SUPER BATTLE OF THE MONSTERRRR TRUCKS!

  • schnozz

    My 5 year-old son came home from kindergarten last week talking about the different “tenents” of Kwanza. Okay, no problem there. I have no issue with him learning about different traditions of the various cultures that make up the fabric of this great nation. So I asked my son what he learned about Christmas, or Haunakah, or Eids. He said, “We didn’t learn about those, Dad.” My question is why is Kwanza so important that it merits inclusion in a Kindergarten classroom, yet the other aforementioned holidays do not?I personally have no issue with Kwanza. I think it is sort of a disingenous “holiday” in that its founding wasn’t based on a specific cultural or religous tradition. But if blacks want to celebrate it, that’s their business. I do; however, think that if schools are going to teach about it, then it should either be in the broader context of holidays or black culture.

  • snowy6dst

    Dr D:

  • marcedward1

    Kwanzaa is mostly harmless enough. My kids had to ‘learn’ about it in school, even though every black kid they know is a Christian who celebrates Christmas. What I do find offensive is Kwanzaas obvious phoniness and lack of respect for real African culture. Mr. Dyson is one of the smartest people I’ve ever read, but he seems not to know that there are hundreds of cultures and languages in western Africa, and I doubt any of them celebrate Kwanzaa. Pan-Africanism makes no sense, because seeing all blacks as being uniformly African is racist. It’s like having pan-Europeanism, as if Italians, Poles and Irish see themselves as the same people. Mende see themselves as a different RACE than Yuroba or Tutsi, period. These ethnic groups have different cultures, language and religions. Somehow Kwanzaa seems rather racist as well as promoting ignorance of African culture.

  • dingdong2

    I guess the most appropriate response I could find comes from the erudite Ann Coulter. She wrote a little song that is sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells’…goes like this:

  • Desmond2

    Personally I have a problem with Kwanzaa for the following reasons:

  • TonyX

    A more relevant Kwanzaa is like a taller dwarf.

  • stknox

    In 1971, Karenga, Louis Smith, and Luz Maria Tamayo were convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing over a two day period two women from the US organization, Deborah Jones and Gail Davis. [2] A May 14, 1971 article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of the women: “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 Ms. Davis’s mouth and placed against Ms. Davis’s face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”[citation needed]It this true?

  • wangbang747

    What the f*ck do you dumb white trash care? What is it to you? Why is it that all you dumb fagg0t white trash always feel compelled to comment on things that have nothing to do with you?

  • cricket35

    The problem with Kwanzaa is that it comes during Christmas, a Christian religious celebration. Kwanzaa is not a religion which is why it is taught at schools. It’s a secular practice, sort of like believing in Santa Claus. For those who don’t want to celebrate the real reason for the season (Jesus Christ), Santa Claus and Kwanzaa fit the bill. Kwanzaa is a distraction from Christ if one is a Christian. Kwanzaa doesn’t fit the bill in all black homes.

  • flgrossmann

    The basic problem with “black identity” is that most of the people on this planet have skin darker than “Europeans” (i.e. Whites). For a European, the view is whether you are white Irish, or darker Greek, for example; and in Africa–sub-Saharan, Africa–an Ethiopian certainly would not consider himself the same as a Bantu from South Africa, nor would a Camaroonian consider himself to have the same customs or identity as a Senegalese. Africa is a big continent; peoples are different in different parts of it. As for using a Swahili word for a “universal” black festival, the paradox is that Swahili is a language introduced by Arab traders–traders not averse to a bit of slave trading themselves. So where does that leave an American “Black”? First of all, most of them would find that their families have been in America longer than many of the Whites. How or why they got there is immaterial; many of the white people came from feudal villages, and were little more than slaves themselves.Do we need “identity”? Is it possible to be just people, like the Blacks, and Whites, and Yellows, and … etc. that stayed home?

  • marcedward1

    cricket35 – Money is the reason for the season, not Jesus. Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas. Moreover Jesus’s teachings have nothing to do with Christmas trees or well off people giving eachother crappy gifts they pick up at Rite-Aid. Christmas is just as ‘made up’ as Kwanzaa, and most people who celebrate Christmas are probably as un-Christian as they can be.

  • DwightHCollins

    A made up holiday for pagans…

  • andersony3k

    Despite the fact that I understand and have some sympathy for the idea that geopolitically defined groups should have the choice to rule themselves (“self-determination”) people ruling themselves rather than being ruled by others, and despite my agreement with some elements of socialism (collective work and responsibility; cooperative economics), it troubles me deeply that the celebrators of Kwanzaa accept these principles uncritically. What appears to have happened is that a holiday celebration has been made up, mixed with religion (the Kwanzaa principle of “faith”), and used as propaganda to establish the belief that if you’re a capitalist (or simply value some aspects of capitalism), or an atheist, or if you think that people of African descent can live as citizens of multiracial nations rather than separating into their own, ethnically homogeneous nations, then you’re not really Black. For this reason, I believe that Kwanzaa should not be celebrated in its current form. Given that the holiday was created so recently, it would be straightforward to change it into a more progressive, inclusive, and less propagandistic ritual. Substitute “conviction” for “faith,” make it about “collective AND INDIVIDUAL work and responsibility,” and strike the partially redundant phrase concerning “cooperative economics.” Then we’d have something more worthy of universal celebration.

  • DC_Progress

    If it makes people feel good about themselves, and that translates into healthy pride and personal achievement, then I’m OK with made up cultural holidays like Kwanzaa. But it does strike me as a serious dumbing down of the real complexities of black heritage, and I’m not sure that fits with any notion of growth or progress for anyone. It can’t really be called ‘nationalist’ as it actually replaces the true national heritage of most black Africans. You could say it’s race-based but it requires ignoring real racial differences in favor of the self-serving, political interests of a very small racial minority. If you have to simplify things that much to create a sense of unity and purpose are you truly representing anyone’s identity? If Kwanzaa requires more submerging of true identity in favor of celebrating a false one, who actually benefits? Odd to have a serious black academic arguing for such a non-representative form of cultural cheerleading…he seems to be turning off his intellect as necessary to maintain his public persona.Also: I too would like to see an answer to the question above – why is this post in the “On Faith” section?

  • obblehit

    so wait, are you saying that people celebrate kwanzaa? i always thought it was a catchphrase.

  • freeaccess

    this answer is for this guy who writes…So I asked my son what he learned about Christmas, or Haunakah, or Eids. He said, “We didn’t learn about those, Dad.” My question is why is Kwanza so important that it merits inclusion in a Kindergarten classroom, yet the other aforementioned holidays do not?”are you kidding me? think about all the Black kids and other races here that have YOUR culture forced down our throats every single day!!! and you ask why your kid has to learn anything, one thing, about ANOTHER culture!! how arrogant!

  • marcedward1

    freeaccess

  • obblehit

    Also, why the hell is that dude pointing at me?

  • johnmeeks1974

    I refuse to seriously consider Kwanzaa. It is a separatist ruse that is meant to celebrate ‘values’ but it selfishly balkanizes the Christmas season into white days and black days of celebration.

  • Redhot405

    Black minister: Say ‘no’ to KwanzaaRev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND, Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, states, “Blacks should be outraged by attempts to stamp out Christianity from Christmas celebrations while accepting Kwanzaa as mainstream. While commonly viewed as an “African” holiday, observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Kwanzaa actually was created in the U.S. in 1966 by Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga, the head of a violent black-power group, United Slaves Organization, which was a rival to the Black Panthers. In the 1970s, Karenga served four years in prison for conspiracy and assault in the torture of two female followers. Karenga was convicted of whipping them with electrical cords and beating them with a karate baton after stripping them naked. He placed in the mouth of one of the victims a hot soldering iron, also scarring her face with the device. He put one of her big toes in a vise, and detergent and running water in both of their mouths. In a 1978 interview quoted in the Washington Post, Karenga said, “People think it’s African, but it’s not. I came up with Kwanzaa because 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 (blacks) would be partying.” “If black Christians don’t stand up for Christmas and reject Kwanzaa, they are allowing evil to have its way,” Peterson said. “They will regret using a fake holiday to stamp out the true meaning of Christmas.”

  • jhbyer

    Growing up “unchurched” I’d love to humbly celebrate Kwanzaa, as I do Christmas and Hanukkah, with those for whom the celebration has deep meaning. Still, this old Southern whitey respects and wholly understands my African American friends’ feelings about a top-down celebration that hasn’t yet been embraced enough in their homes to be sent out like a child to risk certain commercial and popular [ab]use. This is the lot of American holidays, whether or not they’re grounded in our hearts. No biggie that Washington’s birthday became President’s day, the day to buy mattresses on sale! Trouble is, far worse has been done to what African Americans have “dared” to hold precious. That said, there’s the power of hope in a bold chance taken on an abstract that can’t, in any event, be finished, much less harmed beyond resuscitation. To get out from under the canopy of Christmas, might it follow from Africa being in the southern hemisphere, that Kwanzaa could be celebrated in the summertime?

  • paris1969

    I think it is unfortunate that another holiday was created that separates us. Religious holidays already separate us. The fundie-Christians want us to all say “Merry Christmas” even when the holiday falls right in the middle of Hannukah this year. Now blacks are supposed to embrace another holiday that excludes people. I was against segregation, it seems, since almost birth, never seeing it as right. I am for any holiday that is “inclusive” to all people. Thanksgiving is the best holiday as it includes all of us … no matter what race, religion, or lack of religion.

  • rlalumiere

    Uh, Michael, you do realize (don’t you?) that Swahili is NOT a language of West Africa but, in fact, is a language of the East African coast. Swahili is a Bantu language that mixed with non-African languages due to a variety of peoples that have traded and dominated the East African coast on the Indian Ocean. Ironically, roughly one-third of Swahili is derived from Arabic due to the Arabic traders (many of whom were involved in the slave trade of black Africans for Arab purposes) who dominated the East African coast.

  • con_byrne

    As you were, innebriated

  • con_byrne

    Me, I just get rat-arsed*, I don’t care whose celebration it is. Looking forward to the Chinese New Year.*for my American cousins rat-arsed = innebrated

  • con_byrne

    Oh, bugger, maybe it’s inebriated. I need another drink

  • bradmoser

    It’s just another thing to segregate with.I can bet and win on the fact that a mojority of blacks don’t know when/where/how Kwanza was created.The only thing they know is the race card.Blacks will always rely on a crutch in some way. The Kwanza crutch will give them another excuse not to work.

  • stephen3

    In 1971, Karenga, Louis Smith, and Luz Maria Tamayo were convicted of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing over a two day period two women from the US organization, Deborah Jones and Gail Davis. [2] A May 14, 1971 article in the Los Angeles Times described the testimony of one of the women: “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 Ms. Davis’s mouth and placed against Ms. Davis’s face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said.”[citation needed]It this true?YES!

  • Route1

    The truth is, Kwanzaa is not relevant today. To write that “Kwanzaa is more relevant than ever” really means that it’s not, but you wish that it were. Something that is truly relevant doesn’t need a newspaper columnist to announce its relevance. It is relevant to leftist black ideologues and politically correct individuals who fear wishing a black man or woman a “Merry Christmas.” It is also relevant to the card makers who might be able to sell some Kwanzaa cards and gift-wrap. It is not relevant beyond those spheres in today’s world.In any event, I’m certainly not celebrating a holiday founded by a Marxist separatist and convicted felon.

  • weinercat

    **All Holidays are “made up” at one point or another. Personaly I don’t view Kwanzaa as a real Holiday any more than I do Festivas. I’d respect Festivas more because it’s actually explained better on TV than Kwanzaa ever was.

  • johnmeeks1974

    Alas, WEINERCAT, all holidays and observances are created and/or manufactured by people. Touche [sic]!

  • vision48

    Mr. Dyson,The problem is, those whites you attempt to antagonize, whether consciously or unconsciously, with your black this and black that, are not the same people that created this deep feeling of racial hatred you feel (do you know that you hate white people?), and that you try to disguise by hiding behind all your generalizations concerning blacks. Every time you open your mind and your posts to generalizations concerning the division of race within the species known as human beings, you do irreparable harm. When will you learn?

  • IdeologyKills

    “On Faith” is always good for a few laughs. Thanks, Washington Post, for keeping it alive. Some of these articles are Onion-worthy.

  • lucasjax

    What a joke!……a made up holiday for blacks by some racist who doesnt like blacks celebrating a holiday that so many whites celebrate. The funny thing is, noone celebrates it except a few blacks and the media trys every year to say hoe its growing each year. Sctually, Ive heard less this year about it than ever. I think it will die out in another year or two!

  • ArtMuse

    Kwanzaa another Hallmark holiday. Its sort of like sweetest day isn’t it?

  • Taskfor6

    Is it just me, or does Kwanzaa seem to come earlier and earlier each year? This year, I believe my triumph over this synthetic holiday is nearly complete. The only mentions of Kwanzaa I’ve seen are humorous ones. Most important, for the first time in eight years, President George Bush appears not to have issued “Kwanzaa greetings” to honor this phony non-Christian holiday that is younger than I am.It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.In what was probably ultimately a foolish gamble, during the madness of the ’60s the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the organization, the better. Using that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police

  • Route1

    wangbang747 Author Profile Page:What the f*ck do you dumb white trash care? What is it to you? Why is it that all you dumb fagg0t white trash always feel compelled to comment on things that have nothing to do with you?December 27, 2008 12:28 PM | Report Offensive Comments Using (a) racist language and (b) homophobic language to defend your views is not enlightened. Be more responsible than that. Dr. Dyson’s article is published on the website of a major newspaper. The topics he addresses are relevant to all Americans, in that they speak to how we view ourselves as Americans, and how we view ourselves as individuals within America. We all have a stake in this discussion.

  • Taskfor6

    Is it just me, or does Kwanzaa seem to come earlier and earlier each year? This year, I believe my triumph over this synthetic holiday is nearly complete. The only mentions of Kwanzaa I’ve seen are humorous ones. Most important, for the first time in eight years, President George Bush appears not to have issued “Kwanzaa greetings” to honor this phony non-Christian holiday that is younger than I am.It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.In what was probably ultimately a foolish gamble, during the madness of the ’60s the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the organization, the better. Using that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police

  • CCNL

    It would appear that Kwanzaa should be wrapped into the spirit of Thanksgiving Holiday and not with X-mas. Most are off the Friday after Thanksgiving anyway. How about that day being celebrated as Minority Jubilations Day? e.g. Anniversary of the Revolution for the Mexican-Americans???Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. Smart people these CanadiansMaybe the NAFTA Agreement should be amended with a common Thanksgiving for all participants??

  • lucasjax

    Ive seen this phony Dyson before on television. He pretends like he’s this big intellectual becuase he can talk like an average white person. He reminds me of another phony, Cornel West. These guys are frauds who, because they are black, are given these jobs at universities, and are supposed to be experts on “black life” in America!….naturally, liberal whites fall for this ruse!

  • denves

    Does anyone seriously celebrate this so-called “holiday”? Every year Wal-Mart and other big retailers put out a lot of Kwanzaa cards and gift wrapping paper and they’re always stuck with tons of it! Even here in the area where I live (which is 45%- 50% black) nobody buys it. I wish these big retailers and mainstream media would quit trying to force it on us, because it’s politicially correct. I believe that the famous Seinfeld episode about Festivus was actually making fun of it…And I wish the calendar makers would take it off on December 26 (through whenever). Can I make up mu own holiday and have the liberals buy it?

  • lattelover726

    If other cultures can have their celebrations then why should anyone care whether black people celebrate Kwaanza. I agree with person who commented about how black people have been celebrating every “white” holidays in this country for years and as soon as Kwaanza starts to get more attention then there’s problem. I think all people should learn more about other cultures and this is one way of doing it.

  • cschotta1

    Kwanzaa is nothing more than the Black Panthers trying to stick-it to whitey. Wonder if Reverend Wright celebrates this BS of a holiday?

  • ASTORIA

    If people really want to celebrate Kwanzaa- more power to them- but even on the South Side of Chicago- almost no one seemed very interested one way or the other.

  • phoenixspin

    I’m a Black person and I think Kwanzaa is complete nonsense. It’s just something that a Black convict made up with no actual relevancy to Africa. I am a Black American, not an African or even African American. If one wants to celebrate Africa, do it in a real way by taking a vacation there or something. I’m surprise that even corporate America has bought into this nonsense.

  • rgs_tnr

    Nobody celebrates this silly made-up holiday celebrating nothing. My AA friends just laugh at it. You may think it’s more relevant now than ever, but since it’s never been anything other than completely irrelevant, that’s not much of a bar. Let’s let it go already.

  • bondguy1

    When President Obama’s kids ask for Kawanza presents let me know. I’ll be the first to buy them one. Can anyone say “fesitvus for the rest of us” ?

  • Route1

    lattelover726 Author Profile Page:If other cultures can have their celebrations then why should anyone care whether black people celebrate Kwaanza. I agree with person who commented about how black people have been celebrating every “white” holidays in this country for years and as soon as Kwaanza starts to get more attention then there’s problem. I think all people should learn more about other cultures and this is one way of doing it.I wasn’t aware that Thanksgiving was a “white holiday.” I’m black and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What is meant by a “white holiday?”Learning about other cultures is one thing. Whether you choose to celebrate that culture once you have obtained knowledge about it is another thing. Knowing what I know about Kwanzaa, I don’t intend to celebrate it. Oftentimes, it’s assumed that people who choose to not do something “must be ignorant.” That may be true, on occasion. It may also be true that having been informed about his options, a rational-thinking person rejects a certain course of action. Thus my decision to not celebrate Kwanzaa.You also make the mistake of implying that Kwanzaa is the culture of black people. It is the practice of a minimal sub-section of black Americans, some of whom hold nationalist and/or pseudo-Marxist sympathies. It is far from a representative practice of black Americans. Kwanzaa no more represents my culture as a black American than does the dancing of the polka or wearing lederhosen.

  • Tommy4

    I’m was born and grew up half my life in west africa. My question for the founder is where did he find swahili speakers in west africa? nobody there speaks swahili. racist and ridiculous holiday. Where are these 40 million people that celebrate Kwanzaa.? I can certainly say there is not one african who celebrates this kwanzaa. lol

  • goziner

    This is a racist made-up, bogus holiday.

  • riderX

    Ummm, where in Kwanzaa is there any aspects of faith, a deity, spirituality, or other nonmaterial dimensions that are normally what defines a religion? Kwanzaa was founded by a MARXIST, ladies and gentleman, who by definition was a materialist!! Karenga himself has always admitted that Kwanzaa is not a religious event. Meacham and Quinn are simply trying to find a way to participate in the WaPo’s futile effort to salvage its dying business model by making sh*t up, the oldest trick in the book.

  • kevincostello

    I agree that what offends me most is that this made-up holiday, specifically placed after Christmas to pull African Americans away from Christianity, is celebrated in detailed song by my children, while their “winter concert” cannot have a single mention of Christmas except in passing during “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”Kwanzaa was in fact meant to separate blacks and whites, and so having children of every heritage “celebrate” it either insults them or robs the observance of its supposed meaning. I mean, come on, when they sing the Swahili term meaning “self-determination,” it wasn’t meant to be self-determination for all people, but just for black people. That would be good, but it is crazy to have children sing about it as if it were any more meaningful than Christmas carols for non-Christians.Finally, for those who complain about St Patrick’s Day. Don’t pretend that wearing green and getting drunk means that anyone is actually celebrating a holiday. I am sure that if, instead of having my children sing about a holiday meant to diminish their own faith, that Kwanzaa was celebrated with drink specials and insulting characitures (sp) like leprechauns,it would be more widely appreciated. It wouldn’t mean that the original intent was respected, though.

  • franklinone

    phoenixspin Author Profile Page:Probably the best post on this topic for two reasons- first phoenixspin states what should be obvious to all, Kwanzaa is total made up BS. And second but MOST important were these 5 words- “I am a Black American”. I only have to go back a few generations to place my ancestors in Italy but I don’t go around calling myself an “Italian-American”. We are all AMERICANS, the sooner everyone figures that out and we start working together will be when we truly turn it all around for the good.

  • Diannne721

    Here we go. Another made up holiday so that Michelle Shaniqua Obama can decorate the White House with ghetto fabulous art.

  • _virginian_

    Kwanzaa never has been, and never will be, relevant. Sorry.

  • jhbyer

    con byrne, I’m with you. I celebrate everything open to a nonbelievers, who just want to have fun in the company of others willing to tolerate us. BTW, no need to worry about spelling inebriated here. We yanks wouldn’t know the difference. We have enough trouble spelling drunk :))

  • gq_online

    Kwanzaa is straight fantasy, we have a new president,a horrible economy and country to work for, improve, aspire and believe in, not a fictional time of year. Dyson himself is irrelevant and I hope he finds a more appropriate subject to show up on Today, CNN and Fox News to espouse about. Kwanzaa ain’t it….

  • RickinCasa

    But why Swahili? Although it is a African Bantu language, over one-third of the Swahili, or Kiswahili, vocabulary consists of words of Arabic origin, including the word “swahili” itself. Arabic vocabulary entered the language through contact with Arab traders along the eastern coast of Africa. As another contributor noted, this contact frequently involved trade in people.

  • waterfrontproperty

    Oh, please! What crap!

  • loved1

    I fully expected the opening to state that Kwanzaa is as irrelevant and unnecessary as it’s ever been. It seems to be more of a political correctness/media driven holiday. Was this “holiday” really deserving of a postal stamp? Probably not. I’d be surprised if even 1% of black people celebrated this holiday.

  • brndmnd04

    I believe Christmas is the biggest ponzi scheme going on in America. The retailers been crying since thanksgiving. Not a one mentioned Jesus or the christ child this “holiday” is supposed to honor. People need to wake up. Santa Claus? You all are stupid. What exactly does christmas teach you to do except shop?

  • youngj1

    Dr Dyson, I am often in lock step with you when it comes to the African American experience but I must say, with all due respect, Kwanzaa and all that it “symbolizes” is not the experience of the African diaspora in America. I understand its roots and its aims but its invention as a counterpoint to the birth of christ (and we can argue the day and the time and all that) but you cannot replace the acknowlegdement of a faith so easily. Belief knows no geographic boundary or span of time and the birth of the son of man be it celebrated in December at the solstice or in April as many scholars believe to be the correct time of year, would still hold great sway over millions of people African, European, Asian and Arab as well. Christmas is not a remebering of comunal, tribal, or national ritual. For those who follow the books of the new testament it is the affirmation of the covenant between God and man.

  • exbrown

    Kwanzaa is as relevant as Esperanto. I am black and I do not know a single black person who celebrates it or cares about it. Kwanzaa is on the fringe of black culture. It is irrelevant. And to Dianne721- the most ghetto fabulous person who was trying to get into the white house was Sarah Palin who barely graduated college and who’s unmarried teenage daughter was knocked up by the son of a drug dealer not the Ivy League educated Michelle Obama. Your side lost. Quit whining and sweep the beer bottles out of your trailer.

  • ajon1600

    I am so glad to see Mr. Dyson offer some serious reflection and comments on Kwanzaa, after seeing D. L. Hughly make fun of it on his CNN show. Why would a serious network like CNN, founded by Ted Turner for the purpose of providing 24 / 7 serious news and commentary, bring on a clown like D. L. to make fun of African American cultural celebrations… If he made fun of annual jewish holiday season, the public would not tolerate it. Am I the only African American insulted by this?

  • DeeDee7

    Sorry, maybe Ill celebrate when Blk men respect and take care of Blk women and children. I dont see any unity in the Blk community, I see a bunch of men who look out for themselves and abandon their women and children leaving them with the brunt of the responsbilities.Why celebrate with a bunch of Blk men who dont reespect themselves or families? Ill pass on Blk Celebration, maybe when Blk men respect themselves and their loves ones and show it in action, I can celebrate a Blk Holiday but right now Ill pass, Black men do very little and sure have no problem showing how much “self hate” and aminosity they have for their own.There is a “Rift” betwen Blk men and women not going anywhere anytime soon. Its there for a reason, Blk men hate US!

  • DeeDee7

    Sorry, maybe Ill celebrate when Blk men respect and take care of Blk women and children. I dont see any unity in the Blk community, I see a bunch of men who look out for themselves and abandon their women and children leaving them with the brunt of the responsbilities.Why celebrate with a bunch of Blk men who dont reespect themselves or families? Ill pass on Blk Celebration, maybe when Blk men respect themselves and their loves ones and show it in action, I can celebrate a Blk Holiday but right now Ill pass, Black men do very little and sure have no problem showing how much “self hate” and aminosity they have for their own.There is a “Rift” betwen Blk men and women not going anywhere anytime soon. Its there for a reason, Blk men hate US!

  • DeeDee7

    Sorry, maybe Ill celebrate when Blk men respect and take care of Blk women and children. I dont see any unity in the Blk community, I see a bunch of men who look out for themselves and abandon their women and children leaving them with the brunt of the responsbilities.Why celebrate with a bunch of Blk men who dont reespect themselves or families? Ill pass on Blk Celebration, maybe when Blk men respect themselves and their loves ones and show it in action, I can celebrate a Blk Holiday but right now Ill pass, Black men do very little and sure have no problem showing how much “self hate” and aminosity they have for their own.There is a “Rift” betwen Blk men and women not going anywhere anytime soon. Its there for a reason, Blk men hate US!

  • tragic_slider1

    Dr. Dyson is someone who has my respect and interest. I say that as a white male who respects passion and integrity in any person, regardless of ethnicity.I have to agree that Kwanzaa is likely to diminish in the years ahead, particularly as multi-racial couples continue to become prevalent.That said, the vindictive and crude responses that dominate this board are disappointing. Black Americans should be allowed to celebrate a holiday if they like. Black solidarity will hopefully become an unecessary relic of the past, but a lot of angry people seem to treat it like a crime. To them I say, get lost.

  • furtdw

    I am a white male.Like most blacks, I will not be observing/celebrating Kwanzaa.Dr. Dyson, you’re firing blanks on this one.

  • MikefromSaline

    Dyson is a black racist. His comments are as offensive as comments issued by the Grand Dragon of the KKK.It’s time we shun racists like Michael Eric Dyson. This guy has done more to enable dysfunctional behavior in this country than anyone else.We can’t tolerate racists any longer. Shun Dyson and his psuedo-holiday Kwanza.

  • tjhall1

    “I’m a Black person and I think Kwanzaa is complete nonsense. It’s just something that a Black convict made up with no actual relevancy to Africa. I am a Black American, not an African or even African American. If one wants to celebrate Africa, do it in a real way by taking a vacation there or something. I’m surprise that even corporate America has bought into this nonsense.”BINGO, phoenix. Couldn’t said it better myself. This “kwanzaa” is hokum born of racist stupidity.

  • edeckel

    Professor maybe the imagery of a person sitting at a small table in the dim glow of light on a cold winters night, licking a stamp to put on an envelope has a symbolic message? The fact of the matter is that the Kwanzaa stamps don’t need to be licked. Doing so may cause the stamp not adhere to the envelope.

  • williams810

    TASKFOR6 wrote”It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga, aka Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers and a dupe of the FBI.In what was probably ultimately a foolish gamble, during the madness of the ’60s the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the organization, the better. Using that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.”All of the above is true about the founder of Kwanza. Additionally, Karenga was convictedI will never celebrate Kwanza or anthing related to Karenga except perhaps his obituary notice.

  • Redhot405

    REPOST:Black minister: Say ‘no’ to KwanzaaRev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND, Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny, states, “Blacks should be outraged by attempts to stamp out Christianity from Christmas celebrations while accepting Kwanzaa as mainstream. While commonly viewed as an “African” holiday, observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Kwanzaa actually was created in the U.S. in 1966 by Dr. Maulana “Ron” Karenga, the head of a violent black-power group, United Slaves Organization, which was a rival to the Black Panthers. In the 1970s, Karenga served four years in prison for conspiracy and assault in the torture of two female followers. Karenga was convicted of whipping them with electrical cords and beating them with a karate baton after stripping them naked. He placed in the mouth of one of the victims a hot soldering iron, also scarring her face with the device. He put one of her big toes in a vise, and detergent and running water in both of their mouths. In a 1978 interview quoted in the Washington Post, Karenga said, “People think it’s African, but it’s not. I came up with Kwanzaa because 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 (blacks) would be partying.” “If black Christians don’t stand up for Christmas and reject Kwanzaa, they are allowing evil to have its way,” Peterson said. “They will regret using a fake holiday to stamp out the true meaning of Christmas.”

  • sparrow4

    [ Diannne721 :ah yes- here we go indeed. Another KKK member chooses to bless us with yet another dimwitted comment on the Obamas. What’s the matter diannne- jealous that Michelle Obama has 10 times the class you do? Hate your trailer? someone didn’t like velvet Last Supper painting you bought at walmart? Awwwww.

  • nikosdj

    Dear Mr Dyson,respectufllynikos mavrommatis

  • furtdw

    For Mr. Meachem and Ms. Quinn:Kwanzaa is a secular holiday. Kwanzaa is not faith based.A discussion of Kwanzaa should not appear in the “On Faith” section.

  • tancred

    M E Dyson writes:Karenga turned to West Africa and the language of Swahili to coin the term for a holiday celebration that means “first fruits of the harvest.” The fact is that Swahili is a language unknown in West Africa. It is an East African language spoken in and around Kenya and Tanzania.And Kwanzaa too is unknown in Africa. It is a made-up American pseudo holiday – something of little interest and even less significance in Africa

  • nina4

    I am an Asian-American who grew up with mostly Black people and celebrated Kwanzaa in my high school and since then with friends and neighbors. I found it a beautiful celebration and I learned a lot from it. Despite its questionable origins, people seem to have reinvented it in a million ways, and it has become a real living holiday. Thank you Mr. Dyson for keeping attention on Kwanzaa and reminding us of its possibilities. (as a side note: freshman year in college in rural Ohio, I was homesick and so attended the Kwanzaa celebration there. Unfortunately, it was nothing like the Kwanzaas I had grown up with, as hyperbolic minister started railing about Korean shop owners, etc. I left in disgust and sadness, I was basically kicked out as an Asian-American. So, some people do miss the point and we should educate them about what the holiday really means).

  • noleander

    This was a very well-written essay: support Kwanzaa or not, you have to admit the writing is superb.I’m an agnostic/atheist, and I have no problems with all winter holidays: they are great opportunities to get together with friends and family, and celebrate.Historically, the timing of all winter holidays originate in the Winter Solstice, of course, and each religion, as it comes along, co-opts late December to prevent its flock from celebrating elsewhere.Kwanzaa seems like a fine tradition for African-Americans: Pausing annually to think back to where your ancestors came from, and what they went through is a good thing, and white Americans, like me, cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be Black in America. To those Christians who fret about Kwanzaa because it is “invented” or detracts from Christmas: so what? All holidays are invented. A Black Christian can celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa, and be the better for it. Don’t be so defensive.

  • magsthecat1

    Only in your mind. It is a made up holiday and your views are not shared by the marjority of Americans.

  • -PBL-

    Dyson is a race baiter. He earns his living stiring up bad feelings. It is his cottage industry. Blacks don’t buy his books.His pubishers don’t get to break even on his rubbish. He is a tool of the very far left media to enhance their leftist agenda. Dyson does not hang out with urban blacks.He would get mugged. He can be found in the comfortable salons of the white upper middle class, sipping tea. He is a disgrace to the blacks who really do work hard and prosper.

  • uncivil

    How many Kwanzaa cards are sold each year? I never hear any black people talking about Kwanzaa. CNN Headline News always trots out some footage of black women dancing & some dude in dreads banging on drums when they announce that today is the first day of Kwanzaa. Kids are playing with their toys. Parents are thinking about New Year’s eve. Who has Kwanzaa on their mind? Explain how it’s “relevant” or “necessary.” Wouldn’t it make more sense just to visit Africa?

  • brndmnd04

    Kwanzaa makes more sense than Christmas and it is not meant to be a substitute for the stupidity of Christmas. Period.I have many black friends who do celebrate Kwanzaa. We have a great time and don’t spend all our time running ‘cross town looking for sales.For those of you who have black friends who dont celebrate Kwanza keep this in mind:Kwanzaa is here to stay and for those of you who want it to be Christmas sorry……its different and we’re happy about it!Habari gani?

  • FraudObama

    Blacks need their own country. They huddle together. They complain, moan, always wanting someone to ‘understand’ their misery. It is old, tired and boring. A fabricated holiday so they can commiserate is nonsensical, ridiculous and confirms the idea they should pack it up and depart. If they prefer an African origin, are not American but African American and blah blah blah. Then for their own benefit, hit the road. Your endless story is not interesting. Efforts to help the black community have garnered not a thing. It is the worst investment this country has ever made. Blacks are rude, ungrateful, selfish and destroy what is GIVEN to them.

  • AWWNats

    40-some years of Kwanzaa and it is still an idea that will not catch on. It is really ‘observed’ by few, ignored by most, and an irritant to many. Only pandering corporations even mention it, because they are afraid of boycotts and being slandered.Blacks (whites, asians, etc.) of faith will still honor their heritage in their own way.If you want to honor and remember your african heritage, use Black History Month.As one poster has said, trying to conger up silly things like Kwanzaa is old and tired.

  • JonyDirk

    Oh, oh…even though I grew up in the Alps and am somewhat of German heritage, I know that Swahili is NOT a language from “West Africa”. Here from Wikipedia: Swahili is a Bantu language that serves as the native tongue of various groups traditionally inhabiting about 1,500 miles of the Southeast African coastline. About 35% of the Swahili vocabulary derives from the Arabic language, resulting from its evolution through centuries of contact between Arabic-speaking traders and many different Bantu-speaking peoples inhabiting Africa’s Indian Ocean coast. It also has incorporated Persian, German, Portuguese, Indian, and English words into its vocabulary due to contact with these different groups of people. Swahili has become a second language spoken by tens of millions in three countries, Tanzania, Kenya, and Congo (DRC), where it is an official or national language. The neighboring nation of Uganda made Swahili a required subject in primary schools in 1992—although this mandate has not been well implemented—and declared it an official language in 2005 in preparation for the East African Federation. Swahili, or other closely related languages, is spoken by nearly the entire population of the Comoros and by relatively small numbers of people in Burundi, Rwanda, northern Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, and southern coastal Somalia. Native Swahili speakers once extended as far north as Mogadishu,[3] and the language was understood in the southern ports of the Red Sea and along the coasts of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf.[4] However, by the mid twentieth century its range in Somalia had contracted to Kismayo, Barawa, and the neighboring coastline and offshore islands, and in the 1990s many Bantu, including the Swahili, fled the Somali Civil War to Kenya. It is not clear how many remain.[5]

  • SouthernCross2

    Kwanzaa will be bigger then Christmas next year. The WP, NYT’s and every other liberal rag will make sure of it. The only time I hear anything about Kwanzaa is when I open a newspaper. The black folks that I know don’t know anything about the history of this holiday. They didn’t know anything about Mr. Obama either but they voted for him. Said something about change but did’nt know much about that either.

  • sparrow4

    someone complained that because kwanzaa is a “secular” holiday it shouldn’t be discussed in On faith. Well it seems that it’s ok to be racist, venal, insulting and ignorant however? Some of the comments are just appalling – why anyone should be offended that blacks in country would want to express pride in their heritage is beyond logic or rationality. Having seen thousands of Irishmen celebrating heir heritage on st. Patrick’s day by drinking green beer til they get sick, or listen to Germans worship at the feet of Wagner, or listens to Italians celebrate Michelangelo as the mafiosa shoot up their rivals- I guess all of that is ok, but should a Black person dare to express cultural pride, all the white folk are up in arms. Bunch of rabid, racist idiots, all of you.

  • ravitchn

    Yes, Kwanzaa is artificially created as a holiday. But so is Christmas and Hannukah. Hannukah is the celebration of the victory of one group of Jews against another. Christmas is a myth about the birth of a saviour none of which is historically verifiable and much of obvious legendary origin. All these holidays are artificial creations. That doesn’t make them bad so long as you don’t take them too seriously.

  • sabestu

    Mr. Dyson…this is the way u make your millions…. bringing race into our everyday life….create confusion among the races at a time when we all are making our best to be one country where we all are one… I have been through all of this crap u put out. I am 64 and have seen it all. You jus love to stir up chit. Any time u are on CNN or where ever on TV.. I just shutu out. Have a good one.

  • ElrodinTennessee

    As others have pointed out, Kwanzaa is not widely celebrated in the African American community. I actually think its core principles are deserving of celebration, especially as individual greed so defines the rest of the holiday season. And, despite the election of Obama, there is never a time when veneration of one’s heritage become irrelevant.That said, the most puzzling thing about Kwanzaa is not the dubious background of its founder but the bizarre corporate exploitation of it. I find it amazing that every card section – even in areas with virtually no African Americans – has a full rack of Kwanzaa cards.As a Jew, I see some parallels to Jewish holidays. Outside certain metropolitan areas (NY, Chicago, Philly, South Florida, Southern California) the Jewish population is less than 1%. Yet, every December there are dozens of Hanukkah cards in the store. Even in East Tennessee, where the number of fellow Jews can be counted on my right hand, there are tons of Jewish holiday cards in the stores. I’m not complaining about the options, mind you. I’m just puzzled by it.

  • -PBL-

    Bill Cosby is right.Dyson is wrong.

  • LaurelYves

    It seems that the average white American wants to believe that racism is over. As if anyone who can’t get out of the ghetto, it must be their own fault. Anyone who brings up the subject of race to have a rational discussion is then accused of being a racist. One need only read some of the respondents here to see that racism is alive and well.In the long run perhaps it is good to get it out in the open so that it can be acknowledged for what it is. You can’t really deal with a problem if everyone is pretending it doesn’t exist.As for Kwanzaa, I’ve learned a lot about it just reading this blog and the responses. Apparently, many African Americans don’t celebrate it, but for those who do and find meaning in it, more power to ‘em. Being a Neo-Pagan myself, many people think my holidays are made up too.

  • S5S5

    “I guess all of that is ok, but should a Black person dare to express cultural pride, all the white folk are up in arms. Bunch of rabid, racist idiots, all of you.” Thank you Sparrow4 the true spirit of Kwanzaa seems to be working well for you,eh? I cant wait to see the finished black velvet portrait of two naked black lovers you plan to send to Barack and Michelle. Festivus anyone? Now where did I put that aluminum pole???? and now for the “Feats of Strength”. Are you sure Kwanzaa isnt just another name for Festivus??? or is it the other way around??

  • -PBL-

    You will notice Jesse Jackson is awfully quiet now.

  • S5S5

    “Kwanzaa will be bigger then Christmas next year”.Yes, I can picture it ….You see 2009 is the planned introduction of Ol Saint Kwanzo, who will deliver gifts of forged government checks,stolen goods, drugs,money given to black children just for going to school…and yes,candy in his pimped out purple CaddyLacky with 22 inch chrome wheels pulled by 8 shiny hookers…… I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell to you @25% reduced price SouthernCross.

  • vision48

    I notice that many posters here have fallen into the race baiting traps laid out by Dyson, and Karenga with his alternative holiday. Do not feel bad, these traps can be cleverly constructed, and take heart, because holidays themselves don’t mean that much at all. Actually, it’s what takes place between the holidays that really counts.SO, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE:I see trees of green, red roses too,I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW, SO PRETTY IN THE SKY,I hear babies cry, I watch them grow.–by Bob Thiele and George Weiss, for Louis Armstrong.

  • askgees

    Welcome to America. We celebrate Christmas. It make no difference whether or not your white or black your American.People like Dyson say their fighting racism when there actually doing the opposite. Creating a divide.

  • mhr614

    Dyson is a very bright man who likes to say what he considers outrageous things to keep the white man off balance. He likes to appear on TV and loves the spotlight. If he believes that a holiday invented by a loony black nationalist will help his people, no problem. But kwanza was barely mentioned this year and appears ready to enter the dustbin of history where useless cultural artifacts all end up- where they belong.

  • S5S5

    Something is better than nothing eh,Dyson? Its funny how you can get WaPo to let you have a soapbox to use to spread the nonsense of this “important holiday”….. but its even funnier when some who read it truly believe it.

  • sparrow4

    S5S5- Thank you for so perfectly illustrating my point- rabid, racist and idiotic. (you could have tried to come up with an original thought instead of playing on my comment to the imbecilic diannne.) FYI- I don’t shop in Walmart, nor purchase velvet paintings. I am not black).But you do have a bug up your a$$ about black people- too bad. The era of the white supremacist/nazi types is over. Time to grow up, S5S5- or go back to whatever nazi/fascist country your ancestors hail from.The Obamas represent something to you that just gets your goat doesn’t it? They have class, position, intelligence, power. It’s obvious from your rantings you have none of those things and no hope of getting any. (Don’t know where your aluminum pole is but I can tell you where to put it.)

  • hakafos44

    The principles of Kwanzaa: Unity; Self-Determination; Collective Work and Responsibility; Cooperative Economics; Purpose (a nod to Pastor Warren); Creativity; and Faith should be applied universally as this nation confronts untold challenges. Kwanzaa is for all of us this year.

  • zennhead614wheatland

    I side with those who reflect that since Kwanza is a creation of the African-American community designed to get African-Americans in touch with their African-American heritage, it is little more than a celebration of ethnicity, not religion, nor even legitimately spiritual in nature. It is a modern construct for political and ethnic reasons, and has nothing to do with say, the celebration of Hannukah, or other Jewish celebrations which are spiritual and religious in nature; same for Christmas for many Christians. Millions of the latter actually DO something religious or spiritual on that day, as do Jews for their “religious” holidays!

  • hakafos44

    The principles of Kwanzaa: Unity; Self-Determination; Collective Work and Responsibility; Cooperative Economics; Purpose (a nod to Pastor Warren); Creativity; and Faith should be applied universally as this nation confronts untold challenges. Kwanzaa is for all of us this year.

  • Diannne721

    It is fine if the blacks need a fictional holiday to make them feel better. However, I seriously doubt the half-white Obama raised by white people will give in any credence to this inane notion called Kwanzaa. Also, I personally think the writer of this piece is fishing for an invite to White House.

  • CARealist

    Wow. A holiday based upon the exact same principles as the Symbionese Liberation Army (or so says Anne Coulter). Does anyone know which started first, Kwaanza or the SLA? Blacks need to forego this seperationist attempt and join our nation that so badly wants to heal all this and move on.

  • hakafos44

    As one who heard Ron Karenga speak about how and why he created Kwanzaa I want to state that the principles of Kwanzaa: Unity; Self-Determination; Collective Work and Responsibility; Cooperative Economics; Purpose (a nod to Pastor Warren); Creativity; and Faith should be applied universally as this nation confronts untold challenges. Kwanzaa is for all of us this year.This is my third attempt to post, so if it comes through three times forgive me. The first two never appeared.

  • hisroc

    Many interesting comments here, most of which tend to demonstrate that we are far from being a post-racial society just because we have elected Barack Obama as President. Dyson’s arguments trouble me, however, for a couple of reasons. First of all, he seems to be supporting the cause of the Cult of Victimhood, where there are no criminals and no under-achievers, just victims of social injustice. Bill Cosby is right; Dyson is wrong. Second of all, it amazes me that anyone would take seriously a social invention like Kwanzaa that is the product of such a infamous person. If you haven’t read a bio of Dr. Maulana Karenga, born Ron Everett, you need to. From his very suspect academic credentials to his involvement in a shoot-out with the rival Black Panthers and his four-year imprisonment in the California penal system for kidnapping and torturing two female members of his black nationalist cult, he hardly seems to be a credible figure on which to base the future of African American identity.Now that Barack Obama has demonstrated what true black leadership entails, perhaps it is time for the race-baiting charlatans like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Maulana Karenga to take their place in history; odd relics of a by-gone period when we just didn’t know any better. How about you, Dr. Dyson? Where will you fit in?

  • edarden1

    Tyson’s analysis of “race” as it applies to Kwanzaa is coherent. But it’s validity is like medieval theologians defending an earth-centered cosmology, when science sheds its light otherwise. Race as a reality is as dependent on true believers as creationism as a reality is dependent on true believers. Science debunks race as biology just as astrophysics debunks Genesis as literal fact. So, any anaylsis of “race” is left defending its cultural use as a metric of power or powerlessness within socioeconomic catagories. I believe that such is continuation of a tradition that must be defeated and left in the past as obsolete. Therefore, Kwanzaa, and its roots in Cultural Nationalism is doubly divisive: It props up the notion that so-called black culture is separate from the culture of America and that black affinity is toward a homogenous grouping or black nation rather toward a heterogenous grouping called Americans. Arguments in earlier days of American aparthied against so-called hyphenated Americans, ie, Irish-American or Afro-American, was too simplistic but a kernal of something was there. I would posit that Obama’s patriotism is recognizable to the majority power group because it recalls the immigrant pathos that underlays Americanism–his acceptance is less so because much of his family are part of the majority power group as so many among large minority groups believe. unfortunately, it is the “racial” lense that creates this distortion. Dyson’s big voice is increasingly listened to for insight into the “racial” quagmire. Please, I hope he will accept a more objective paradigm and help point to way into a more universal perspective. Yes, we can!

  • Arcturus

    Oh, God.

  • nanyuki

    I am from East Africa and the first time I heard about Kwanza was when I moved to America.Professor Dyson states that the traditions are from west africa, but a little knowledge would have told him that Swahili is NOT spoken anywhere in West Africa. It is spoken in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Eastern Congo. SignAdditionally, Most Africans are either Christians or muslims and so, they either celebrate christmas (as they do in the west, but with less commercialization and with more emphasis on the religious aspects of the holiday).Nobody in Africa has ever heard of kwanzaa, a funnily concocted “ceremony” full of misspelled Swahili words whose meanings have equally been concocted by a bunch of Americans who know nothing about the real Africa.Barrack Obama, who has family roots in East Africa and whose father was a fluent Swahili speaker, surely understands that kwanza is a silly holiday and that none of his relatives in Kenya even celebrate it.

  • rg019571

    Kwanzaa? A madeup fake of a holiday.

  • danielmugerin

    I am from Paris and my family roots are in Guadeloupe and Martinique (French Caribbean Departments).In Pointe à Pitre or Fort de France, as well as in Cayenne (French Guyana), the people are Christian.Personally I have already heard of that Kwanzaa thing but I can tell you no one(or nearly) in the French Caribbean has ever heard about it. Even people who do have heard about it do not “celebrate” it of course.Kwanzaa is pure rubbish and all we know is Christmas.As for me I loathe that kind of artificial piece of comedy. This article is full of clichés and therefore is far from serious.

  • stander2

    Why is that the seven days of Kwanzaa, an artificial “holiday” that has no African background, is always so well publicized, whereas the full Christmas celebration is ignored? Christmas Day is the first of the twelve days of Christmas, not the last, and yet both Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are recognised by the media as being substantially longer. Ditch Kwanzaa and let Black churches and their congregants celebrate _all_ of Christmas.

  • surfbum

    Ron Karenga created Kwanzaa, which has been globally recognized by a few greeting card and calendar maker$. Nobody else has heard of it except Mr. Karenga’s parole officer. The mythology originated by the creator, coupled with the big chance to exploit a bogus liberation movement, equates to a gold mine for a few.

  • shag11

    I grew up in L.A. in the 60s, and I will never forgive Ron Karenga for allowing the FBI to undermine the movement to the point where, his group killed two Black Panthers on the UCLA campus.

  • cletus1

    Having read up on it, I think Kwanzaa is kind of dumb. But I also think that about celebrating the alleged birth of a mythological figure from 2000 years ago, or whatever the alleged event is that Hanuka (sp?) is celebratng. It’s no skin off my nose whether people celebrate any of them.However, I am immensely entertained by the various battles in the “War on Christmas” that spring up every year. I wish Kwanzaa would become more prominent, so we could have bitter battles over that as well. Maybe even an annual slew of “War on Kwanzaa” stories. That would be even sweeter as each side could incorporate racial grievances, as demonstrated in many comments below. For my part, the only commemorization I do consists of ending the year by pouring out a 40 for my dead homiez.

  • Couvade

    Kwanzaa is not relevant. If it were merely a day celebrating unity in a month other than December instead of a “Christmas for blacks” it might be.

  • sparrow4

    Diannne721- and you’re obviously angling for an induction into the KKK hall of shame.

  • hisroc

    Sparrow4,Accusing another poster of racism and comparing her to the KKK is a cowardly attack on someone you disagree with that is devoid of intellectual integrity. However, in reading your other posts here, I suspect that is a chronic problem of yours.

  • ghostmoves

    Kwanzaa is a wonderful cultural celebration. However, it is not a religious holiday to be mentioned in the same breath with Christmas, Ramadan or Hannukah. It is much more akin to the Polish National Day or the Korean National Day. When it is concatenated with religious holidays, it marks the concatenator as someone who is uneducated or not interested in careful thought.[I was an early Obama supporter, and this is not a message of bigotry, just a plea for logical thought.]

  • WayToGoChip

    Thanks for this article, Michael. I never knew.

  • sparrow4

    hsrock- i suggest you read her earlier posts. I find most of the posts on this thread offensive from people insulting Black people to demeaning and insulting the holiday and Mr. Dyson. But for your edification, the inimitable ms diannne wrote: “Here we go. Another made up holiday so that Michelle Shaniqua Obama can decorate the White House with ghetto fabulous art.” As for her soc-called “valid point” you’ll remember her snide comment prefacing it-“if Blacks need a fictional holiday to make them feel better.”maybe you don’t see the racism in this, but i do. and since it’s a free country (it has to be. How else would so many people get away with saying so much racist crap?) I get to choose what I say as well. FYI- I commented on others as well. I’m quite amused that people venting some of the drivel here about their presumed intelligent analysis of Black American culture should be offended by being called on their racism. These are not people having a dialogue- these are people using the anonymity of the internet to say things they wouldn’t have the nerve to say in front of others. It takes guts to call it like I see it- it takes a coward to take racist potshots. Too bad you can’t tell the difference and you don’t have the courage to take a stand against it.

  • FraudObama

    Why are blacks referred to as “African Americans”? Could it be because they would prefer not to be Americans first. If that is the case, as their desired group name implies, why be they given any preference or above the ordinary attention? If they want a make believe day they can rally around, have at it. But don’t expect the Americans first crowd to support your fantasy play time.

  • KeirGazelle

    Seems that On Faith has gained the notice of racists and Fools. Why so much fear about a holiday? Kwanzaa has a lovely meaning…terra

  • WylieD

    Kwanzaa seems silly and artificial. But give it a few thousand years. Like prostitutes and politicians, religions and holidays gain respectability with age.

  • steve4

    By all means lets celebrate a racist psuedo “professor’s” musings. Next we can have the KKK think up a holiday, or perhaps the Muslin terrorists will honor us with a new holiday… Yup, have to love the nut bags that actually get press….

  • rawblendmusic

    Kwanzaa is a wonderful holiday despite what YT says about it being made up, it’s original like any other holiday, whatever your choice might be, if you chose not to celebrate well don’t ! Obama get’em right !

  • hisroc

    Sparrow4,You wrote, “These are not people having a dialogue- these are people using the anonymity of the internet to say things they wouldn’t have the nerve to say in front of others. It takes guts to call it like I see it- it takes a coward to take racist potshots. Too bad you can’t tell the difference and you don’t have the courage to take a stand against it.”I have read Diannne’s other posts as well as yours. If she is somewhat blunt in her phraseology, then you come off as taking the lower moral ground. I’m sorry, but whatever opinion of another poster such as Diannne that you might have, you demean yourself and belittle your own position by resorting to unsubstantiated name-calling. Exactly how is it that you are showing “guts” while others are taking cheap shots? That’s not “calling it like you see it”–that is taking potshots from behind “the anonymity of the internet,” as you put it. You do nothing to inform or enlighten.

  • kjohnson3

    “mortified469 Author Profile Page:I don’t disagree that Kwanzaa has never been relevant. However, your other points are pure nonsense.First, you say that Kwanzaa is “just another misspelling of a transposed word.” What word is it that has been transposed and then misspelled? Do you even know what “transposed” means? This statement is incomprehensible.Second, you tell those who “don’t like it here” to “find a country that will tolerate this crap.” Excuse me, but the U.S. is a country that will tolerate a whole load of crap. It’s in our constitution. I’m not sure precisely what crap you’re referring to, as you don’t make it clear. But I guarantee you that, if it is “crap” speech or “crap” beliefs you’re talking about, then we tolerate it.

  • Calabrese99

    Some people play the race card. Dyson always uses a full deck including the jokers.

  • WhoMe1

    It all seems so contradictory. Black folk (to use the phrase of Mr. Dyson) rightly condemn inclusion and exclusion based on ethnic background but the whole feel of this holiday is one of selective inclusion and exclusion. Other folk are excluded by their lack of blackness and black folk isolate themselves by emphasizing ties that do not really exist except in the most general way. Even worse, the ties that bind these very disparate demographic groups just serve to underline and preserve injustices of the past as the glue of identity.I prefer religious holidays that emphasize human unity.

  • RichardMorse

    Kwanzaa sounds more Protestant than African by the description you present. If you really want to find out more about your African roots, take a trip to the Haitian provinces. Leave Georgetown in the morning and be in Haiti by early afternoon.

  • PattiORiley

    By ANY definition, Kwanzaa is racist.People promoting Kwanzaa are racist hypocrites.

  • nychap44

    There is no doubt that Kwanzaa is a “made up” Black racist Holiday designed to “Happen” during the non-racist religious Christmas Holiday season.

  • concernedaboutdc

    I think that Kwanzaa, in America, is simmering on the back burner. Not gone, just stewing. It is responding to the racial climate in the country today. Because the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow south are still with us, it, Kwanzaa, remains relevent. Yet, Obama, represents, at least tangently, a move in the direction of reconciliation between those who identify themselves as African American and those they define as White America. It represents improvement. However, there is an element among the latter that seeks to sever the ties that bind Obama with black people in America. Those who are unable to trace their roots back to the slavemasters that raped their African ancestors whereas Obama has a direct patrilineal connection. Those, are the ones that will keep the kettle of Kwanzaa on the stove, stewing.

  • 12345leavemealone

    FraudObama Author Profile Page:The list could go on and on. The real question is why do you care what people choose to call themselves and how does it affect your life? Then maybe you might add, what’s wrong with people who only identify as Americans… are they ashamed of their ancestral heritage? Why do they hide/deny their heritage?

  • tbarksdl

    Why would I only have to read Mr. Dyson’s article, without knowing his bio, to conclude without doubt that he is a college professor? Or to know that he makes a living and gains recognition through eloquent variations on the theme of the victimization of Blacks in America? And over-intellectualized exhortations on “black identity,” etc., etc., etc. Kwanzaa is laughable in its pretensions and pure baloney in tracing its roots to anything African. It’s nothing but man-created myth with no historical foundation whatsoever. Why anyone would need this nonsense to establish their identity or to find solace in a troubled world or to improve their lives is beyond belief.Thank heaven the overwhelming number of African-Americans have rejected this mythological kingdom in favor of the solid values that have produced personal success and made America the envy of the world–warts and all. I’m tempted to pat Mr. Dyson on his misguided, irrelevant little head, except for one thing. He is, after all, occupying an office on a college campus. He, presumably, is teaching his irrelevant nonsense to students. And somewhere, he is being subsidized by the American taxpayer, whatever Georgetown U.’s exact status. In sum, he is wasting valuable resources that could be better used elsewhere. I do not question Mr. Dyson’s right to propound his views. I do question the waste of scarce resources that allow him to do so as a college professor. Let Mr. Dyson and his like-minded academics who feed like leeches on the notion of black victimization go forth and create their own institutes from which to launch their diatribes. Both our positions are then equally accommodated.The Ku Klux Klan does not have seats in academia. Neither should the proponents of any other extremist, fanatical viewpoint.

  • 12345leavemealone

    Many have cited that they personally feel that Kwanzaa is a “made up” holiday. Can you cite any holidays that are not “made up?” Also, can you please cite who or what group has the privilege of determining the value of such holidays? What difference does it make how a holiday came into being? What matters is the importance of the holiday to those who choose to recognize/celebrate it. Every year in my office we celebrate Boss’s Day. Is it meaningless to many people? Yes. It was made up by a woman to recognize her father. Is that important? Sometimes people create ways to criticize others and things they don’t understand or with which they have no familiarity or connection. This is becoming very prevalent in our society. Melting pot, what a joke.

  • isometruman1

    I read many of the comments and I am sure now that we are not “post racial” in the Obama age. Many bigots here, hiding behind the flag of God and the American flag.

  • truthbeebold

    Eric Dyson your rhymes are weak, old BS, stifles true blackness, eradicates spirits of blacks and demeans articulate educated sophisticated black folk.No such entity as an african-american and you and your bud Jesse Jackson ought to quit the baiting of poor uneducated blacks and ignorant guilt-enhanced whites.

  • 12345leavemealone

    Several posters have stated that Kwanzaa is racist. Racist means that one believes that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. What race does Kwanzaa promote as being superior?Others have noted that Kwanzaa is a way for AA to isolate themselves (after you read this enough the irony just causes a huge laugh from the gut). How does celebrating a holiday cause isolation? Do these posters mean like how Italian Americans celebrate Columbus Day with big parades and feasts? Or maybe how Irish Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? It must mean how some Latinos have Quinceañera parties for their daughters? How about Rosh Hashanah, how dare those Jewish people isolate themselves?Get real. The people who have issues with this holiday need to ask themselves why this particular holiday? How many other holidays do you feel the need to speak out against? What other groups do you feel need to be judged and disparaged because of the holidays they choose to celebrate? It’s called freedom, respect, difference, and acceptance. It doesn’t matter what a particular group chooses to celebrate, differences exist and always will.

  • 12345leavemealone

    truthbeebold Author Profile Page:Eric Dyson your rhymes are weak, old BS, stifles true blackness, eradicates spirits of blacks and demeans articulate educated sophisticated black folk.No such entity as an african-american and you and your bud Jesse Jackson ought to quit the baiting of poor uneducated blacks and ignorant guilt-enhanced whites.

  • jojo4

    I don’t much care, one way or another. But, I would like some more days off.

  • seenitallnow1

    Kwanzaa is silly. Most black Americans feel no kinship to it. But some pseudo-intellectualize matters to the point that a seperate holiday for “colored folks” makes sense to them. Wild.

  • bryancoleman

    It is fitting that in this day and age the term ‘Christmas’ is becoming a politically incorrect term, while the name of a holiday period invented from scratch by a sex-starved murderous felon gets national attention and respect from a race that knows so much more about talking the talk than anything about walking the walk. Blacks loquaciously embrace attributes such as ‘self-determination’ and ‘responsibility’. What they fail to realize as they knock fists with each other, call each other ni**er, drive unnecessarily fancy cars and live in homes they cannot afford, is that things like responsibility and determination come from self-imposed discipline rooted in self-propelled actions with the ultimate goal of some desired, safe, and enriching future. As opposed to squandering the future on a materialistic and image-laden present.I can tell myself I am responsible (for myself as well as those closest to me). I can tell myself that I will be determined (to do what is right even in the face of adversity). I can say things all I want and believe them religiously. But that belief does not make it so.A weak man is one who does not have the strength to push against that which impedes his progress. The Black Man shows us all on a daily basis, by his words and his actions, on television, in rap songs, and his writings (such as the author of this silly monument to what is nothing by a national joke) how little progress he has made against the impediments against him. His black fist of power only reminds him of his cowardly weakness betrayed by the light of those around him who advance themselves slowly, methodically, and positively. The Black Man toils in mediocrity thanks to his limited vision on what is right and what is best.Kwanzaa is just one more notch in the belt that constricts their ability to achieve and ultimately reach their full potential. Please, by all means, celebrate YOUR fabricated holiday season. While you do, please don’t mind the rest of us moving past you, leaving you toiling behind.

  • forgetthis

    Why are the “first fruits of the harvest” being celebrated in the dead of winter?

  • forgetthis

    I am forced to disagree with Dyson on at least one point. Kwanzaa has not been embraced by the Black bourgeois- at least not the segment that attends Black bougeois mega-churches where you have to buy tickets to attend the fellowships. Maybe Dyson is referring to the secular academes. Perhaps they have embraced the holiday, but the rest of the Black bougeoisie definitely have not.

  • rsassy

    Oh puhleeze spare us the fairy tales, would you? So-called “Dr.” Maulana Karenga is a Marxist and a convicted felon, accused, among other things, of pouring detergent down a female hostage’s throat.

  • georgedixon

    Kwanzaa is like ebonics, an isolating movement. Self-esteem is earned, not contrived or demanded.Failing in the mainstream while creating alternate universes is a bad choice…..

  • waterfrontproperty

    Give us a break… how many more days is this drivvel article going to run? So far, this is day three.

  • S5S5

    to Sparrow4– :>) :>) :>) true hurts eh?

  • exbrown

    Only racists had civil rights “stuffed down” their throats since birth. I wish I could buy people who thought like that a ticket back to the days of segregation but only if I could turn them into black people living in Mississippi in 1950.If there were not as much ignorance, racism, resentment, and hostility to black people as evident in many of the comments in the post here maybe there would be no need for people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or make believe holidays like Kwanzaa. Whenever there is a discussion here that even tangentially touches on racial issues you can be certain that the racist will come scurrying out.

  • rsassy

    exbrown says:And that is exactly your problem,exbrown, you think it is still 1950. Sorry sweetheart, but your race card is running a deficit in 2009. Better find another way to buy your reality from now on.

  • AmzgGrce

    It is amazing that the Black community cannot see that ‘Kwanza’ is nothing more than a racist holiday. It is racist because it seeks to isolate the black community from all others. A celebration of one’s heritage is fine but imagine if you would a holiday intended only for the White or Oriental, or Hispanic population. THAT would be denounced by the media and the black community as outrageously harmful and racist.

  • Paganplace

    ” forgetthis “Why are the “first fruits of the harvest” being celebrated in the dead of winter?”Africa, dude. Africa. Thanksgiving falls awful late in the year for something with the trappings of a harvest festival, but that doesn’t seem to bother anyone. :)Frankly, as a Pagan in particular, I find it pretty obnoxious of some to criticize people for a ‘made up holiday’ or ‘made up practices’ when their ancestors were systematically torn from their own traditions and even posterities, and so many of the ‘authentic’ traditions were likewise systematically-destroyed. You can’t expect people to just sit around in some kind of cultural vacuum, …that’s hardly fair.

  • amansmina

    What a departure from Dr. Dyson’s typically exquisite and relevant scholarship. Swahili in West Africa? It’s so unlike him to contribute to misinformation. I also wonder what the “common destiny” of black folk is that he refers to.

  • hellwithu

    The kwanzaa ‘holiday’ is not a Holy Day celebration. Like Valentines, Mother’s Day etc, it celebrates nothing holy. Awareness – yes, God – No. Because of this, it’s a slap in the face to those you worship, pray and celebrate this Holy Christmas season. Christmas is not a white man’s holiday. It’s a season for all. Also, Obama is half white. He should be celebrated as a not half black, but as a whole man. The physical features of Christ are not known, cuz they are NOT IMPORTANT. Enough with Obama’s BLACK and celebrating division. Christmas unites…Christ united…Use the Christmas season to pray and celebrate that!!

  • -PBL-

    Village chieftains in Africa sold their own population to awaiting slave importers.

  • whiteja55801

    We really need to make up more holidays for people to feel better about themselves…

  • cliftonman

    Blacks need more integration into mainstream America and not further isolation. Forget about Kwanzaa. Let us spend more time talking about how to improve the level of education within the black communities. You can scream Kwanzaa all you want, but it will never bring home the bacon.

  • Paganplace

    ” hellwithu “The kwanzaa ‘holiday’ is not a Holy Day celebration. Like Valentines, Mother’s Day etc, it celebrates nothing holy. Awareness – yes, God – No. Because of this, it’s a slap in the face to those you worship, pray and celebrate this Holy Christmas season. “Like your screen name?Actually, the Kwanzaa celebration is somewhat non-sectarian, cause black people are of many different traditions and feel the need for community, too. Do you know where you got the word ‘holly day?” :) You say ‘Christmas is for everyone,’ …until of course someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ at Wal-Mart and you’re afraid that means Christian hegemony hasn’t been imposed on discount stores. What you discount, really, is that there is a communal human spirit, in large groups or small, one which we can celebrate on any scale and with any amount of or lack of, the specificity you call ‘Holy.’ Light is holy. Flame is holy, Family is holy. Who profanes this are those who quibble over brand names.

  • mxolisi1

    To all of the folks who are worried about Kwanzaa detracting from the importance and sacredness of the Christmas season, you ought to be aiming your criticisms at those who invented and relish in the pseudo-season of XMAS. In part, Kwanzaa is a turn away from XMAS and all the materialistic crassness that goes with it. But more importantly, Kwanzaa gives us a necessry opportunity to reflect upon our cultural-spiritual-historical roots and inspire and empower us to move more resolutely into the future. It’s a time to renew and deepen inter-personal relationships, cultivate further our appreciation for the spirit-driven foundations of the considerable African achievements in world history, commemorate worthy ancestors and developments, recommit ourselves to those principles and practices which provide for our greatest good, and celebrate the good harvest of lives transformed and liberated from the strictures of white racism and self-destruction.No one is asking the Irish, Italians, Germans, Chinese, Scottish, et al, to deny their heritage and cultural celebrations. Why is it that African Americans are scrutinized so severely? One can only assume that we are not supposed to have the audacity, creativity and inner-strength to rise from the ashes of whatever depths this nation’s racism has sought to impose upon us.A very powerful thing Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba have done is to take our focus away from reactionary rage relative to the injustices we suffer in this society to focus on that which can be accomplished through our own initiative, including effective and appropriate critique of the on-going realities of racism, even in “post-racial America.” Give thanks.

  • mxolisi1

    To all of the folks who are worried about Kwanzaa detracting from the importance and sacredness of the Christmas season, you ought to be aiming your criticisms at those who invented and relish in the pseudo-season of XMAS. In part, Kwanzaa is a turn away from XMAS and all the materialistic crassness that goes with it. But more importantly, Kwanzaa gives us a necessry opportunity to reflect upon our cultural-spiritual-historical roots and inspire and empower us to move more resolutely into the future. It’s a time to renew and deepen inter-personal relationships, cultivate further our appreciation for the spirit-driven foundations of the considerable African achievements in world history, commemorate worthy ancestors and developments, recommit ourselves to those principles and practices which provide for our greatest good, and celebrate the good harvest of lives transformed and liberated from the strictures of white racism and self-destruction.No one is asking the Irish, Italians, Germans, Chinese, Scottish, et al, to deny their heritage and cultural celebrations. Why is it that African Americans are scrutinized so severely? One can only assume that we are not supposed to have the audacity, creativity and inner-strength to rise from the ashes of whatever depths this nation’s racism has sought to impose upon us.A very powerful thing Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba have done is to take our focus away from reactionary rage relative to the injustices we suffer in this society to focus on that which can be accomplished through our own initiative, including effective and appropriate critique of the on-going realities of racism, even in “post-racial America.” Give thanks.

  • exbrown

    Rsassy: “And that is exactly your problem,exbrown, you think it is still 1950. Sorry sweetheart, but your race card is running a deficit in 2009. Better find another way to buy your reality from now on.”Sorry darling if I mistook 2009 for 1950 but how could I not after reading your comments? You sound like Strom Thurman and Bull Connor but in a dress and wearing lipstick.

  • rsassy

    exbrown says:Let me correct that for ya ex:The civil rights movement was legitimate and served it’s purpose. End of story. Quit regurgitating it. You ain’t oppressed.

  • exbrown

    Thanks for correcting it for me honey bunny. Your profanity in particular was very elucidating. Shows your intelligence, level of education, and the contents of your heart.