Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to sing Kwanzaa songs
As conservatives and libertarians, the cultural deck is stacked against us. The left enjoys the informational equivalent of air superiority in the media, entertainment, and our schools. Everything we hear, see, and read is suffused with left-leaning information, arguments, and cultural messages. It is constant and inescapable—the very air is redolent with it. In so many ways, it’s the left’s world—we just live in it.
Not so long ago, I had occasion to be in the local high school. On the wall was one of those shadow-box-style display cases you see in schools, with a series of images cut out from magazines. Each was of a public celebrity from the worlds of politics, culture, sports, entertainment, etc. The images were selected by students, and the theme was something along the lines of “people who inspire me.”
In a flash I noticed, and pointed out to my wife, that every “inspiring” figure who could be said to have a discernible political bias came from the left. There were a few athletes whose biases I don’t know, but by and large, everyone else was a lefty. There was Oprah and Beyonce and the mass-murdering Mao Zedong and a dozen others just like that, but there was not a conservative or libertarian in the bunch.
It’s not that some kids would not be inspired by John Locke or Milton Friedman, it’s that the kids are not taught about them at all. And, while most of them probably have some dim recollection of hearing the name Thomas Jefferson at some point, they are as likely to remember the name Sally Hemmings alongside as they are to be able to recite Jefferson’s 55 words from the Declaration of Independence that begin “We hold these truths . . . .” (Words, it should be noted, that altered the course of man’s relationship to the state not only in America, but worldwide.) It’s not the kids’ fault—they are just responding to the world that they live in . . . that we all live in. They are simply not exposed to alternate viewpoints, nor are they exposed to inconvenient facts like Mao’s body count, which is somewhere up in the mind-boggling 60 million people range.
Such is the life, also, of a parent with a child in school. We have to deal with the fact that while still in preschool, our tots are being indoctrinated into the Cult of Recycling and that by kindergarten, someone has already terrified them with the imminent death of the planet because of global warming or whatever the Environmental-Eschatatological Apocalypse du Jour happens to be.
As such a parent, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. When do you go to the school, to your kid’s teacher, to the principal, etc. and become that parent? The one who complains. The conservative, libertarian, or religious “nut” who, even if he or she is as nice as possible in delivering the complaint, is still, from that point forward, permanently that oddball parent who disagrees with the prevailing dogma.
A couple of days ago, my wife and I went to see our second grader in his school’s “Holiday Performance.” It was adorable and delightful. Christmas songs, Hanukkah songs, fun holiday readings . . . and then it came. Two songs from the end, we were greeted with “Kwanzaa’s Here,” sung to to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.” It was mercifully short, but that did nothing to mitigate the unfortunate nature of the choice. Unfortunate, simply because . . .
Kwanzaa was made up out of whole cloth in 1966 by a paranoid, psychotic, black nationalist and marxist criminal named Maulana Karenga (a.k.a. Ronald McKinley Everett).
Karenga was a torturer of women:
In 1971, Karenga “was sentenced to one to ten years in prison on counts of felonious assault and false imprisonment”. One of the victims gave testimony of how Karenga and other men tortured her and another woman. The woman claimed to have been stripped and beaten with an electrical cord. Karenga’s former wife, Brenda Lorraine Karenga, testified that he sat on the other woman’s stomach while another man forced water into her mouth through a hose.
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 Miss Davis’ mouth and placed against Miss Davis’ face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said. They also were hit on the heads with toasters.”
Making matters worse for Kwanzaa, Karenga offered the following as reason for people to celebrate the holiday:
Now, one might argue that we cannot hold the holiday responsible for the sins of its creator. The problem with that line of thinking, however, is that Kwanzaa itself is an absurd excuse for a holiday in the first place:
Heck even Karenga admitted it was a fraud
“I created Kwanzaa,” laughed Ron Karenga like a teenager who’s just divulged a deeply held, precious secret. “People think it’s African. But it’s not. I wanted to give black people a holiday of their own. So I came up with Kwanzaa. I said it was African because you know 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!”
The late Tony Snow laid out what was so wrong about the holiday 33 years after it was founded:
Now, the point: There is no part of Kwanzaa that is not fraudulent. Begin with the name. The celebration comes from the Swahili term “matunda yakwanza,” or “first fruit,” and the festival’s trappings have Swahili names — such as “ujima” for “collective work and responsibility” or “muhindi,” which are ears of corn celebrants set aside for each child in a family.
Unfortunately, Swahili has little relevance for American blacks. Most slaves were ripped from the shores of West Africa. Swahili is an East African tongue.
To put that in perspective, the cultural gap between Senegal and Kenya is as dramatic as the chasm that separates, say, London and Tehran. Imagine singing “G-d Save the Queen” in Farsi, and you grasp the enormity of the gaffe.
Worse, Kwanzaa ceremonies have no discernible African roots. No culture on earth celebrates a harvesting ritual in December, for instance, and the implicit pledges about human dignity don’t necessarily jibe with such still-common practices as female circumcision and polygamy. The inventors of Kwanzaa weren’t promoting a return to roots; they were shilling for Marxism. They even appropriated the term “ujima,” which Julius Nyrere cited when he uprooted tens of thousands of Tanzanians and shipped them forcibly to collective farms, where they proved more adept at cultivating misery than banishing hunger.
Even the rituals using corn don’t fit. Corn isn’t indigenous to Africa. Mexican Indians developed it, and the crop was carried worldwide by white colonialists.
The fact is, there is no Ur-African culture. The continent remains stubbornly tribal. Hutus and Tutsis still slaughter one another for sport.
Go to Kenya, where I taught briefly as a young man, and you’ll see endless hostility between Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and Masai. Even South African politics these days have more to do with tribal animosities than ideological differences.
Moreover, chaos too often prevails over order. Warlords hold sway in Somalia, Eritrea, Liberia and Zaire. Genocidal maniacs have wiped out millions in Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. The once-shining hopes for Kenya have vanished.
…Our treatment of Kwanzaa provides a revealing sign of how far we have yet to travel on the road to reconciliation. The white establishment has thrown in with it, not just to cash in on the business, but to patronize black activists and shut them up.
Okay, so it’s a fraud, a fabrication, and it suffers from a complete lack of African-ness or any sense of authenticity. Even with all that, some might argue, it’s still important because it’s important to black Americans. But is it?
between half and two million people celebrate Kwanzaa in the US, or between one and five percent of African Americans.
Even if we go with the most generous estimates, Kwanzaa is celebrated by a tiny fraction of black Americans, and a vanishingly small percent of the overall population. In that light, and given Kwanzaa’s disturbing paternity and laughable makeup, isn’t the holiday’s embrace by white administrators and schoolteachers more of an act of condescension and paternalism than respect?
When brings us back to the Kwanzaa song our son was made to sing.
Do we go to the school and ask, Why is our child being made to sing a song about an inauthentic “holiday” made up out of thin air by a neo-fascist torturer of women who hated whites and believed that Jesus was a psychotic?
Or do we just leave it alone?
In looking for an image for this piece, I came upon this Kwanzaa demotivational poster:
Yep, that apparently sums it up.
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.