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A Kwanzaa Story  
by The Southern Avenger
26 December 2005

The Christmas holiday has now ended and if you're like the Avenger, your probably getting your wallet and liver ready to take on New Year's Eve. For most Americans, the last week of December has always been a wild mixture of family time and party time, so it's really no surprise that most of us tend to ignore the seven-day holiday that kicks off the day after Christmas – Kwanzaa.

Not that Kwanzaa is a holiday for all Americans mind you. Those who champion this exclusively black holiday make no pretense about it's diversity or inclusiveness. Kwanzza is not even advertised as an American holiday by it's proponents, but a world holiday to be celebrated only by those with the right skin color.

Now, the Southern Avenger isn't one to begrudge others from celebrating whatever they want. I know I raise a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth's birthday. But there's something awfully strange about a racially exclusive holiday that was invented only 39 years ago by some college professor with a freaky name.

Kwanzaa was established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga with the alleged purpose of fostering unity within the black community. Sounds nice right? Wrong. Dr. Karenga was the founder a black separatist group called "US" which stood for "United Slaves," who were best known for their violent, gang-like confrontations with the Black Panthers. Dr. Karenga and his organization made news in 1971 when two women accused he and other members of physical torture, including beating them with electrical cords and shoving running hoses into their mouths. Karenga himself was found guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Now you tell me. How did this race-obsessed, misogynistic ex-con, get the mainstream American media to take a holiday he invented seriously? After all, we've all seen television news treat Kwanzaa like a legitimate holiday. Corporate America has capitalized on it - there's actually an entire line of Hallmark cards dedicated to Kwanzaa. And President Bush has even issued official statements acknowledging and praising the holiday.

Could you imagine if the Southern Avenger invented a white holiday? In the name of unity, I could encourage white people to watch more NASCAR, fly Confederate flags and play Hank Williams Jr. albums for a whole week. But we all know that despite the fact that I have never been convicted of a felony, tortured women or organized a racist hate group, I would be labeled downright evil for even considering the idea. Hell, how to observe something as harmless as Confederate Memorial Day is still controversial every time the holiday rolls around.

Kwanzaa and it's questionable origins are given a free pass because most people are too afraid of being called racist to question the holiday. I'm sure that some will say that even if Kwanzaa's founder is a thug, the message of black unity is even more important. And while the Southern Avenger, doesn't doubt the noble intentions of some – I believe the blind acceptance of a holiday that promotes racial separatism sends the wrong message all together. 


 

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