This article has become an annual tradition at Coyote Blog, I guess to make sure I start the new year with plenty of hate mail.
The concept of a cultural celebration by African-Americans of
themselves and their history is a good one. Whenever I write about blacks in America, much of the email I get tries to educate me in how much the "lost heritage" issue matters to African-Americans, a concept I have never fully grasped since I am happy, after the 20th century, to leave behind my German heritage. Even if I'm not into it, I have no problem with people of any ethnic
group or race or whatever creating a holiday. Life is worth
celebrating, as often as possible, even if we have to make up new
The specific values
celebrated in Kwanzaa, however, suck. They are socialist-Marxist-collectivist-totalitarian crap. Everyone seems to tiptoe
around Kwanzaa feeling that they have to be respectful, I guess because
they are fearful of being called a racist. However, I find it terrible
to see such a self-destructive set of values foisted on the
African-American community. These values are nearly perfectly
constructed to keep blacks in poverty - just look at how well these
same values have played out in Africa.
To begin, its important to understand that Kwanzaa is not some ancient African ethno-cultural tradition. Kwanzaa was made up in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Karenga was a radical Marxist in the 60's black power movement. Later, Karenga served time in jail for torturing two women:
Jones ... 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 Miss
Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her
own big toes was tightened in a vice. Karenga ... also put detergent
and running hoses in their mouths, she said."
after this conviction as well incidents of schizophrenia in prison
where "the psychiatrist observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and
imaginary persons and believed that he had been attacked by
dive-bombers," California State University at Long Beach saw fit to
make him head of their Black Studies Department.
Anyway, I give credit to Karenga for wanting to create a
holiday for African-Americans that paid homage to themselves and their
history. However, what Karenga created was a 7-day holiday built
around 7 principles, which are basically a seven step plan to Marxism.
Instead of rejecting slavery entirely, Kwanzaa celebrates a transition
from enslavement of blacks by whites to enslavement of blacks by
blacks. Here are the 7 values, right from the Kwanzaa site (with my comments in red italics):
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race
its surface, this is either a platitude, or, if serious, straight
Marxism and thoroughly racist. Think about who else in the 20th
century talked about unity of race, and with what horrible results.
practice, the notion of unity in the black movement has become sort of
a law of Omerta -- no black is ever, ever supposed to publicly
criticize another black. Don't believe me? Look at the flack Bill Cosby caught for calling out other blacks.
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves
cool with me -- can't get a libertarian to argue with this. When this
was first written in the 60's, it probably meant something more
revolutionary, like secession into a black state, but in today's
context I think it is fine.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and
sister's problems our problems and to solve them together
Um, do I even need to comment? This is Marxism, pure and simple.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
OK, I said the last one was Marxism. This one is really, really Marxism.
make our collective vocation the building and developing of our
community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
There's that collectivism again
do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our
community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
guess I don't have much problem with creativity and make things
better. My sense though that if I was to listen to the teaching on
this one in depth, we would get collectivism again.
believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers,
our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
about in ourselves as individuals? Through all of this, where is the
individual, either individual responsibility or achievement? It is
interesting that a holiday that
was invented specifically to be anti-religious would put "faith" in as
a value. In fact, Karenga despised the belief in God as paying homage
to "spooks who threaten us if we don't worship them and demand we turn
over our destiny and daily lives."
this is in fact very consistent with the teachings of most statists and
totalitarians. They tend to reject going on bended knee to some god,
and then turn right around and demand that men go on bended knee to ...
them, or other men. This is in fact what this "faith" was about for
Karenga - he is a statist laying the foundation for obedience to the
totalitarian state. He wants blacks to turn over their destiny and
daily lives to their leaders, not to god.
in conclusion, Kwanzaa was designed as a celebration of creating a
totalitarian collectivist Marxist racist state among
African-Americans. I may well get comments and emails that say "oh,
that's not how we celebrate it" and I will say fine - but Marxism is the
core DNA of the holiday, a holiday created by a man who thought Lenin
and the Black Panthers were all wimps.
Never wishing to criticize without suggestion a solution, here are alternate values I might suggest:
- Every individual is his own master. We will never accept any other
master again from any race (even our own). We will speak out against
injustices and inequalities so our children can be free as well.
Self-Reliance - Each individual will take responsibility for their life and the lives of their family
Pride - We will be proud of our race and
heritage. We will learn about our past and about slavery in
particular, so we will never again repeat it.
Entrepreneurship - We will work through free exchange with others to make our lives better and to improve the lives of our children
Education - We will dedicate ourselves and our time to education of our children, both in their knowledge and their ethics
Charity - We will help others in our country and our community through difficult times
Thankfulness - Every African-American
should wake up each morning and say "I give thanks that my ancestors
suffered the horrors of the middle passage, suffered the unforgivable indignity and
humiliation of slavery, and suffered the poverty and injustices of the
post-war South so that I, today, can be here, in this country,
infinitely more free, healthier, safer and better off financially than
I would have been in Africa."
By the way, if you doubt that last part, note that in the late 90's, median per capita income of African Americans was about $25,000, while the per capita income of Africans back in the "old country" was around $700, or about 35x less. Note further this comparison of freedom between the US and various African nations. Finally, just read the news about the Congo or Rwanda or the Sudan.