December 20, 2004

LaShawn: Kwanzaa is for Pagans

LaShawn Barber has rerun a piece from 2002 which has seen a couple of title changes since it's first posting.

“Tis the Season to be Pagans,” “Why Black Christians Shouldn’t Celebrate Kwanzaa,” and now “Kwanzaa is for Pagans.” The underlying point of the piece is that all Christians need to be careful with spiritualized “celebrations” lest they become caught up with occultic and other forbidden doctrines.
I certainly understand the desire to celebrate the African culture for those who find themselves cloaked in it, but the larger question that I ask, is as opposed to celebrating a "holiday" that is no less manufactured than Hallmark and American Greetings' "Grandparents' Day" or "Boss' Day," why not actually do the research and celebrate a day in common with the peoples of the African cultures that you might hope to emulate?

Ah, but it's politically incorrect to even question the motives of those who manufactured Kwanzaa as a "holiday" to be celebrated -- and especially celebrated as a so-called alternative to Christmas.


Posted by mhking at December 20, 2004 08:56 AM

Gotta love manufactured holidays.

Christmas for example.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at December 20, 2004 03:00 PM

I don't go attacking your religion or lack of it, and you don't go attacking mine. Deal?

Posted by: Michael at December 20, 2004 04:06 PM

Of course ALL holidays are "manufactured." Just as the Julian calendar is "manufacured." The difference between Christmas, Easter, and Kwanzaa is that the former two have historically religious roots and the latter was contrived by a religion-bereft borderline criminal to compete head-to-head with those religious holidays. Even the name of "Kwanzaa" is a joke, as it is in a language of a people who were not involved in the North American slave trade. Multi-culti relativists such as Nick worship anything that might bring the dominance of Western superiority to an end.

Posted by: skh at December 20, 2004 07:10 PM

Michael, your comment is actually one of the most reasonable I've seen on the topic.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 20, 2004 08:54 PM


"Nick" may have been making the pro forma argument that the date of Christmas is dubious. To wit*:

"The Gospels. Concerning the date of Christ's birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based."

Posted by: mal-3 at December 21, 2004 01:33 AM

Mea Culpa. Bad link. Trying again:

Catholic Encyclopedia: Christmas

Posted by: mal-3 at December 21, 2004 01:36 AM

Ah, but it's politically incorrect to even question the motives of those who manufactured Kwanzaa as a "holiday" to be celebrated -- and especially celebrated as a so-called alternative to Christmas.

That's a cop out and wrong. It's not an alternative. Some who do it, do both, and make Christianity part of Kwanzaa.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 21, 2004 09:05 AM

It's not an alternative. Some who do it, do both...

The implication of the word "some" is that most who celebrate Kwanzaa do regard it as an alternative.

Posted by: McGehee at December 21, 2004 10:45 AM

Actually, when I wrote some, it was because I can't write all, or most, because I have no idea what proportion of people who celebrate Kwanzaa do both.

Based on my cirle, I could very few, less than 5%, actually practice Kwanzaa. But, again, I have no data to back it up.

I actually think more is being made of this than warrants it. In that context, I wonder why so much is made of it.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 21, 2004 01:29 PM

I was referring to the date. I have no problem with christmas my family celebrates it. (well the mid winter holiday but we use the term christmas)

SKH. I am a cultural relativist to a point. I have no idea wht kwanzaa is nor do I particularly give a monkeys. I also do not desire the downfall of the west I happen to like my culture. i do dislike idiots who cannot make a leap of faith to accepting there may not be cultural absolutes.

Marry Christmas by the way Michael.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at December 21, 2004 06:17 PM

Nick, I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. If you don't know what Kwanzaa is, then why do you feel compelled to comment on criticism of it? If some asshat manufactured a holiday honoring Jack the Ripper, would you scurry to defend it in the face of opposition? Are you explicitly saying that there are no cultural absolutes? If so, then you need to dismiss the "teachings" of your sociology and anthropology classes and explore life a bit longer.

Properly spelled, that would be, "Merry Christmas." Your misspelling almost convinces me that you are being insulting, instead of being tolerant.

Posted by: skh at December 22, 2004 01:57 AM


1. I noticed a comment by whoever the black leader was denouncing it and the comment that it was created in the 1970s and set at a time when people would be celebrating anyway. That is exactly what happened with christmas. It was set at the same time as the pagan midwinter solstice despite all historical evidence suggesting Jesus (and i do believe he existed) was NOT born December 25th or even close to it. September/October is the most commonly recognised timespan as far as history goes. That said I like Christmas where it is. Would be no fun in September/October.

2. I don't study anthropology or sociology. I did do Philosophy which is where I came across relativism. Answer these if you can.
A. If there ARE cultural absolutes (and things like murder doesn't count here) ie one culture is right and the other wrong, on what is this based?
B. How does one KNOW ther culture is right?

3. No I would not commemorate Jack the Ripper. When is your KKK holiday then? when will you be celebrating Lyndie England and Abu Grahib?

4. Merry Christmas was genuine I hope he enjoys the holidays.

5. Honour has a U in it.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at December 22, 2004 05:16 AM

Nick, here is what the "founder" of Kwanzaa said in 1978 concerning Kwanzaa: "People think it's African, but it's not. I came up with Kwanzaa because 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." Can you see why some people have a problem with this?

Concerning cultural absolutes, if you have doubts then perhaps it wasn't the philosophy, maybe your liberal mindset is to blame. To wit, the overwhelming majority of Arabs view women as inferior to their favorite livestock. Women can be killed for looking at other men, stoned or executed for being raped, and have no legal remedies under Islamic law. What do I base a blanket denouncement of their culture on? Common sense and decency. Can you honestly say that Arabs are correct in this behavior? The same can be said of much of African culture, which is largely Islamic. The concept of human life and human dignity may be a Western one, but I don't think that it is cultural conceit for me to believe that their culture is shitty in their treatment of womenfolk.

Your point #3: Disregarding your flaccid attempt to label me as a racist with your KKK jibe, you make my point for me. You aren't inclined to celebrate a manufactured holiday elevating Jack the Ripper to celebrity status, nor will I celebrate or even recognize a "holiday" began by a bigotted, violent criminal. Karenga himself shows disdain for the sheeple who have adopted his faux-African holiday...on this point, I agree with him.

Posted by: skh at December 22, 2004 09:28 AM


I don't happen to believe that arabs are right in their treatment of women. Perhaps the question I asked should have been.

If you were brought up in a culture where it was acceptable to treat women as worse than livestock would you still hold the views you do today?

As the answer is i suspect no (no judgement just what i think is more likely) can you still claim our culture is the right one. It is about upbringing and socialisation. You and I and most people in the western world believe certain things largely because we live in this culture. The reason i think there are not cultural absolutes si that we are not all brought up in the same place in the same culture. we believe our culture is right because we live within it. The same is true of mr joe blogs in riyadh or damascus.

I happen to dislike the treatment arab nations give women but don't forget we weren't much better 600 years ago.

Anyway gotta go uni house is having xmas dinner and present giving before I go home for christmas. have a merry christmas and a good new year.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at December 22, 2004 01:41 PM

Nick --

I didn't take it personally, but thanks for the heads up anyhow.

Merry Christmas to you and yours...

And Happy New Year, too!

Posted by: Michael at December 22, 2004 01:47 PM

Let's just agree to disagree for right now, Nick. You are busy, I have about 17 30-foot strands of Christmas lights acting goofy around my eaves and hedgerows that are about to drive me nucking futz. I've got to get up early and figger out why the reds and oranges aren't blinking but the blues and greens are. On top of that, my 8-foot tall Frosty the Snowman has developed a marked lean to the left that will entail unhooking the electricity to his inflator and light. All in all, I have my day tomorrow filled with the joy of making my girlfriend joyous. Merry Christmas to you and Michael.

Posted by: skh at December 23, 2004 12:08 AM

Sounds fair to me. The joys of two sisters. They do the decorating long before I get home.

Posted by: Nick Saunders at December 23, 2004 10:53 AM

ARGGH! Frosty is back on an even keel, but those dadgum Wal-Mart lights need to be sent back to China on the nose cone of a Tomahawk. AARGGHH!!! It's a mystery why half of 'em won't light. I suggested taking a hammer to the blues and greens, but the gal won't agree. I'm about to bust some hypothesis tests on her to demonstrate why this is a conspiracy to make me insane. Mneh.

Posted by: skh at December 24, 2004 12:36 AM
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