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The Spirit of Christmas and Kwanzaa

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Centuries ago, the Great Commonwealth of England excommunicated those citizens considered unfit members of society and common criminals to an undeveloped, Godforsaken place. This place has since become the greatest and most powerful country in the world -- the United States of America.    

In 1966, Dr. Ron Karenga, also known as Maulana Karenga, introduced to black and white America alike a debatable and revealing holiday: Kwanzaa.  Kwanzaa is a seven-day festival to be celebrated by blacks and brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. The Nguzo Saba is The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.  

The seven guiding principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. These principles, which are applied from Kawaida, set a value system specifically for the black family and are a worthy foundation in which to base one’s conduct.  Further explanations about Kwanzaa can be found at the following sites: and   

Dr. Karenga is easily and accurately described as an intellectual genius for devising such a worthy holiday: In 2002, President Bush expressed his support for the holiday, issuing a Proclamation recognizing the seven principles of Kwanzaa. However, not all view him in this same light: Some view Karenga as an anti-Christian because of his position regarding Christianity’s relevance to the African Americans’ heritage and the religion’s underlying plot.

Karenga’s questioning of “America’s religion” has led to not only a large percentage of white America disagreeing with the holiday’s teachings, but also a hefty portion of African American Christians scrutinizing the teachings. A segment of white America takes the argument a step further and decries Kwanzaa as being a practice of racism.

Dr. Karenga makes it no secret that he is indeed anti-Christian, and yet, one may wonder, is he a man with racial pride? Yes, he is.  When one dissects Christianity, taking a closer look at all of its comprising parts as Karenga has done, a strong argument can be made that Christianity subliminally advocates white supremacy.   

Since the days of the docking of the first slave ship, a battle has existed to conquer the hearts and minds of a race of people. This same battle continues today. Black America is under siege daily to kowtow to a subservient way of thinking that white America has established for them.  

Racial solidarity exists among all races with the exception of blacks. Black America has been subjected to a divide and conquer rule since the first days of subjugation. Any attempts at racial solidarity by blacks is generally frowned upon and feared. Numerous blocks or red flags are placed in their way to discourage them from breaking away from “the norm” and identifying themselves as an individual people with their own heritage and beliefs. 

After almost 400 years, paternalism is still alive and well in America.  Can the seven principals of Kwanzaa help to break this bondage, opening African Americans’ eyes to the various ways of mental (subliminal) enslavement they have fallen victim to for centuries, and help to level the cognitive playing field? 

UVCC supports any positive movement that will serve as a common denominator to help unite blacks everywhere. The Jews’ common denominator is their religion and the celebration of Hanukah; Moslem countries unite by their religion; Orientals unite by theirs; whites have their Christianity as a common thread holding them together.

Blacks are practitioners of Christianity; it is not their own religion which is why Christianity is not a uniting catalyst for blacks. The lacking of a common denominator among blacks makes unifying the group an even more impossible feat. On the surface, Kwanzaa appears to be an answer and/or solution to a possible uniting factor among the black race. Kwanzaa is not truly an authentic African festival, but then again, Christmas is not an authentic African festival.  

Holidays are meant to spread joy and good cheer, and in that same spirit, members of any race should elect to celebrate those holidays that align with their morals, ethics, and beliefs.  

Have a Happy Kwanzaa and/or Merry Christmas.

H. Lewis Smith is the Founder/CEO of the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. and the author of the book Bury that Sucka, A Scandalous Love Affair With the N-word.
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