Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Was Kwanzaa Contrived? Thoughts on a Vanishing Holiday



I remember the disappointment I felt some years ago, when reading of how an anthropological study conducted in the '60s, on the Senoi of Malaysia and their method of working with their dreams, was contrived to fit a budding American hippie ideology. I had always thought there was something fishy there, but I did not think such blatant hoax behavior would go on within academia. Of course, after reading Christina Hoff Sommers and her research on Neo-Feminist hoax methodology and faked statistics, I was downright annoyed.

Now I am hearing that the supposedly authentic African tradition of Kwanzaa was another such fabrication; created by ex-cult leader and radical Ron Everett in 1966 to serve black racist ideology, and based on pseudo-historical facts of Pan-African tribal societies. In any case, Kwanzaa is not what it was in the '90s, as one blogger put it, "when it was the fastest growing and selling holiday to be found". Is it another casuality of the 1990s political correctness movement, and all the silliniess thereof?


Can it be that Political Correctness itself including its proponents  was more divisive than the problems it  proposed to find solutions for?  Unity would seem to be something to strive for,  by stressing that regardless of ethnicity or gender, we are all at bottom human ,  with the same basic needs and rights and duties.  I would say that Everett was most likely sincere in his efforts to help.  I would not presume to impose my stance on him,  nor anyone he acted as a beacon for. 
  Nonetheless,  I am assuming that a return to a general consensus society is inevitable, and will be fulfilled under Barack Obama, reversing the Political Correctness mania which raged through academia and media all throughout the 1990s. So if Kwanzaa is a dying breed, it is a sign of the times, which are a' changing. That indeed is Change we can believe in, and endorse! My attitude toward Afican-Americans is one of respect for their individuality as a people, but my belief is in inclusion and the equity principles of the Enlightment: Equality regardless of race, gender, orientation; and not splintered identity politics. That is the way forward.

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