refWrite's black readers may not have heard of the discussion raised in the last little while in regard to the celebration of Kwanzaa, both by Carlotta Morrow (her analysis is reported in a survey article on BlackAmericaWeb.com) and by mega-blogger LaShawn Barber. Hat Tip to Barber for the following info: A far-right blog has an extended profile of Kwanzism:
The founder of Kwanzaa is a petty criminal named Ronald Everett, alias Ron Karenga. In the mid-1960s, Everett created a Los Angeles-based black militant group called United Slaves (US) for the purpose of igniting a "cultural revolution" among American blacks. Toward that end he created Kwanzaa (named after a Swahili term for "first fruits") as a way of evangelizing on behalf of his revolution. In his book Kwanzaa: Origins, Concepts, Practice, "Karenga" claims that the spurious holiday offers blacks "an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society."I want to signal the support of Reformational Christians, a strongly philosophy-minded community, for the articulation of the difference between all-races Christianity and cultic movements based in any racial or ethnic group denying the intended solidarity of all races in Christ. At the same time, each such community has its own history, its cultural achievements, and in many cases an intense need for spreading among its members a sense of their solidarity with one another, but not an exclusivistic identity, nor based on hatred of another racial configuration. I don't think the two loyalties are mutually exclusive. But, I ask, is there no particularly Christian way, at the same time, to celebrate both black ethnocommunal identity and a Black Christian way of doing so? - one that acknowledes the larger Christian community/ies with the Black Christian contributions to all of us, and to the whole world. - )wlb
However, "Karenga’s" so-called Nguzo Saba (seven principles) for his "new black value system" are little more than Marxism transposed into an afrocentric key: Umoja (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination), which, according to "Karenga," refers to afrocentricity; Ujima (collective work and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics), which "Karenga" describes as "essentially a commitment to the practice of shared social wealth"; Nia (purpose), which refers to "collective vocation" for black people; Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith).
To provide a tangible symbol of his seven principles, "Karenga" appropriated the menorah from Judaism, adorning it in Kwanzaa’s seasonal colors (red, black, and green) and re-christening it the "kinara." No Kwanzaa celebration is complete without the recitation of the Kwanzaa pledge: "We pledge allegiance to the red, black, and green, our flag, the symbol of our eternal struggle, and to the land we must obtain; one nation of black people, with one God of us all, totally united in the struggle, for black love, black freedom, and black self-determination."