Friday, December 26, 2003

Kwanzaa -- Marxism Kamoflagued in Kinte Kloth

Ron Borsellino has the annual obligatory liberal piece on the "African" alternative to the brash "ice people" commercialism of Christmas. Oh, those "sun people"... they're so united, communal and loving.

This year's context: JoAnn Huges, the mother of the late Charles Lovelady (who was killed in a legitimate homicide by bouncers outside of a Des Moines' club). Kwanzaa gives Ms. Huges' life "positive" meaning. Hey... whatever gets you through... Not surprisingly, Ron thinks that we have a lot to learn from African culture and that Kwanzaa is a good place to start.

A few problems... first and foremost... there is no African Culture. Africa is a crazy quit of tribalism. Don't think so...? Ask a Hutu what she thinks about the Tutsis. Or venture south and inquire of a Zulu what he thinks about the Swazi people. I know... I know. 400 years of European Colonialism exacerbated the problem. However, it did not create it out of whole cloth. And, denying African tribalism, as is done by African leaders and the "world community" does not address, let alone put forth solutions. No... Sub-Saharan Africa is a continental scale example of the politics of victimization.

What does this have to do with Kwanzaa...? Everything.

Kwanzaa - Swahili for "first" - was started in the mid-"60s by Maulana Karenga, a black studies professor at California State University at Long Beach. It's based on the African celebration of "first fruits harvest," a year-end holiday. It's a time when Africans gather and celebrate the harvest and the collective effort it takes to make that happen.

Ron leaves out some interesting tidbits about Kwanzaa's creator. Maulana Karenga, aka Ron Everett, was a petty criminal who helped form a black separatist organization called US ("United Slaves"). A purer alternative to the Uncle Tomism of the Black Panthers, United Slaves members walked around the UCLA campus in the late 60's packing heat and picking fights with other African American groups vying for control of the newly created "Black Studies" department.

Karenga invented Kwanzaa at the height of the black liberation movement as part of (his words) a "re-Africanization" process a part of "going back to black." Interestingly, for all his love of fellow blacks, Karenga was convicted in 1970 of torturing two female United Slave members. One of his more loving acts of cultural unity was to burn the inside of one of his victim’s mouth with a soldering iron.

After serving time, Karenga moderated and became... a Marxist. This, along with jail time apparently made him a shoe in for Chair of the "Black Studies" department at CSLB.

As for the "roots" of the holiday itself... pure bunk.

There is no African Year End Harvest festival. Not surprisingly really, because there is no year end harvest. You see, most of Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere. The New Year falls at the height of Summer there. That makes a year-end harvest festival a bit difficult to pull off.

The name itself is a fraud. The word Kwanzaa itself has no relation to the most of the people who were ripped from their homes and brought to the New World as slaves. Most slaves came from East Africa, over a thousand miles and many cultures removed from the people that spoke Swahili. It's like claiming that a Ukranian holiday is French.

The cooperative/collectivist angle... that's easy to trace. It comes part and parcel from Karenga's avowed Marxism. Collective farming... yeah, that's a great idea. Speaking of Ukrainians, there are several million dead ones that would offer another opinion.

Hey, I have no problem with what holidays people choose to celebrate. If Kwanzaa helps Ms. Hughes find true meaning and peace, that's wonderful. I wish her well. However, you don't pull yourself up by creating a self-deceiving and comforting pseudo-history that validates and rationalizes your "victimhood". "Euro-centric" history has been ruthlessly taken to task for this for minor embellishments. Kwanzaa, created out of thin air is given a pass.

Ask an African how they celebrate Kwanzaa and they will probably say "What the hell is Kwanzaa?". But Kwanzaa will probably gain in popularity there... as an American commercial import. And then, ladies and gentlemen, the circle of falsehood and irony will be complete.


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