The Rotten Roots of Kwanzaa

The story of Christmas cannot be told in a government run school. Teachers, acting as paid agents of the government, must avoid even the appearance of endorsing any religion. This constitutional restriction does not apply to pseudo-religions, however, so the dedicated adherents of even the most extreme pseudo-religion are free to gain a foothold in any government school.

Take the pseudo-religion called Marxism for example. From the moment of its inception Marxism has not wanted for prophets and self-anointed infallible leaders. Its adherents believe that their doctrine is true and unerring, a genuine key to history. The official History of the Communist Party proclaims: “The power of Marxist-Leninist theory lies in the fact that it enables the Party to find the right orientation in any situation, to understand the inner connection of current events, to foresee their course, and to perceive not only how and in what direction they are developing in the present but how and in what direction they are bound to develop in the future.” These words were written in 1945. After almost six decades of continual blundering such pretensions to infallibility, insight and historical clairvoyance sound merely comical to most Americans. And yet, even today, there are those who would creep up to the bier and attempt to breathe life into Marxism’s desiccated spiritless corpse. Many of these hopeful utopians spend their busiest years teaching in America’s educational system.

Take, for example, the self-named Professor Maulana Karenga. Way back in 1966, when he was known as plain ol’ Ron Karenga, this self-proclaimed radical black separatist had the distinction of creating history’s most pathetic holiday: Kwanzaa. It was pure Karenga, a seven-day celebration of crypto-Marxist values with racist overtones. According to the official Kwanzaa website the celebration was designed to nurture “conditions that would enhance the revolutionary social change for the masses of Black Americans.” Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a principle such as “unity” or “collective work” or “cooperative economics.” Karenga branded Kwanzaa a black alternative to Christmas. In fact, it is the black anti-Christmas. In 1977, the then sixteen-year-old minister Al Sharpton declared that the Kwanzaa feast would perform the much needed service of “de-whitizing” Christmas.

What makes Kwanzaa so pathetic is its total lack of authenticity. The name of Kwanzaa and of each of its principles are all Swahili, a language not spoken by anyone brought to America in the days of the slave trade. The culture of East African Swahili speakers is profoundly alien to the cultures of West Africa.

The Kwanzaa ceremonies have no African counterparts; they are completely the invention of one urban American black guy with revolutionary pretensions. They don’t even make sense on their own terms. For the day of “muhindi,” ears of corn are set aside for each child in the family, but corn is not indigenous to Africa. Corn was first cultivated by Mexican Indians; it was brought to Africa by white folks. The day of muhindi looks more like a Mayan shindig than anything African. And where else on this planet does anyone celebrate a harvest ritual in December? This incongruity springs from Karenga’s desire to make Kwanzaa the black anti-Christmas. That’s why Kwanzaa goes from December 26th to January first, instead of sometime in October, when crops are actually harvested.

The Marxist creator of Kwanzaa couldn’t resist naming one of the Kwanzaa feasts “ujima,” or “collective work and responsibility,” a slogan the African tyrant Julius Nyrere cited as he tore tens of thousands of Tanzanians from their homes and compelled them to labor on collective farms. No European invention has caused more mischief in Africa than Marxism; it is a proven formula for backwardness. It won’t do American blacks any more good than it did the Tanzanians.

The Kwanzaa ceremonies, with their suggestion of some ancient Ur-African culture, is simply fraudulent. Africa has remained stubbornly tribal right into the Twenty-First Century, complete with warlords, chattel slavery and sweeping genocides. Bill Clinton, who turned a blind eye to the genocide of the Tutsi people of Rwanda, signed at least four Kwanzaa proclamations and jabbered cynically about “The symbols and ceremony of Kwanzaa, evoking the rich history and heritage of African-Americans...” as a way of patronizing black activists. The folks at Hallmark gave the whole silly kit of bogus rituals a cosmetic legitimacy, complete with sappy sentiments. Those white people who tend to fret overmuch about political correctness do their best to keep a straight face whenever Kwanzaa is mentioned. The avatars of PC are, of course, the media chatterboxes.

Every time December rolls around the newspapers include glowing articles about Kwanzaa. The designer of the Kwanzaa festival is invariably referred to in reverential terms. He is called “Doctor Karenga” or “Professor Karenga” or “the renowned Professor Maulana Karenga.” The timid folk who scribble articles for such rags as the New York Times or the Washington Post know that it is bad for business to provoke their core demographic by referring to Mr. Karenga with more descriptive terms, such as vicious, sadistic, repulsive, depraved and hateful. Two days before the beginning of Kwanzaa in 1971, the New York Times ran an article about the new black-unity holiday but didn’t mention Ron Karenga even once, which is curious because at that very moment Ron Karenga was a guest of the California prison system. The Times didn’t mention that Ron had been convicted of the crime of torturing two black women. The Times was silent about Ron’s role as founder of a black nationalist cult that indulged in gunplay and homicide.

In the late 1960s Ron Karenga was the commander of a black nationalist paramilitary group that called itself United Slaves (US). In 1969 Karenga’s gang clashed with the Black Panthers over control of a black studies program at UCLA. Everyone was packing heat. When the gun smoke cleared two Panthers lay dead at the student center.

In May of 1971 Karenga stood trial for torturing two dissident members of his cult. Both Deborah Jones and Gail Davis described how Karenga had demanded that they strip naked. The naked women were then whipped with electrical cords and beaten with a karate baton. Detergent and a gushing hose were forced into their mouths. Ms Jones had one of her toes clamped in a vise. Karenga’s goon squad forced a hot electrical soldering iron in to Ms Davis’ mouth as a form of revolutionary discipline. The torturefest went on for two long days. Karenga was convicted and served more than three years in a California State prison. The New York Times did not see any of these lurid and insightful facts as part of “all the news that’s fit to print,” even though it was all new news in 1971.

When Karenga declared that he was a convert to Marxism, those who knew him took it as a sign that he had mellowed. His violent past and muddled thinking were, apparently, job enhancements in the California university system. Karenga is now a professor at California State University in Long Beach.

Ron Karenga’s legacy is the ultimate chump holiday, one that defines black people as an alien nation. At the very heart of Kwanzaa lies the Cult of Color which fashions a revered fetish from the accident of race. Kwanzaa is nostalgia for a yesterday that never existed. Worse yet, it’s an invitation to embrace a failed system of economics that has impoverished everyone who has been stupid enough to attempt it.

Equally insidious is the fact that the true history of Kwanzaa and its depraved creator is rapidly vanishing into an Orwellian black hole. Using the same method that Joseph Stalin reduced to a laboratory science, the keepers of America’s newspaper data bases have simply made all unpleasant references to Ron Karenga vanish into the ether. There is not even a whisper about torturefests, blazing campus gun battles, Marxist ideology or the brutal beatings of Karenga’s critics. All of this would have been lost forever were it not for the diligent research of Paul Mulshine, a conservative columnist for the Newark Star Ledger. It took Mulshine two days of hunting to ferret out the truth in the microfilmed pages of the Los Angeles Times. As far as America’s liberal “journalists” are concerned Karenga is a sage culture hero who is above reproach.

As Christmas approaches the pseudo-religious and historically rootless rituals of Kwanzaa are freely celebrated in countless government school classrooms. Karenga’s blacks-only anti-Christmas is now an established taxpayer-supported seasonal school event. The legacy of a racially divisive violent degenerate is kept alive with tax money taken from you by coercive government power. Any mention of the Prince of Peace in the same environment is a crime. Ours is truly a weird republic.

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Thomas Clough
Copyright 2001