Jonathan Capehart, liberal Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor, happens to be black and he thinks Kwanzaa is sort of a crock.
Kwanzaa is the African-centric celebratory season taking place between Christmas and the New Year, originally created by a guy who lived in Maryland.
The “holiday” receives a lot of marketing attention for politically correct reasons but very few black Americans actually observe it.
I see it as another sincere yet misguided effort by African Americans to forge a connection to an ancestral home they know nothing about. Sure, the principles of “unity,” “self-determination” and “collective work and responsibility” are excellent. But did we really need Kwanzaa to imbue us with these values? Do we really need to light a candle each day and recite a word in a language we’ve never spoken or know anything about to reaffirm a sense of community and resilience?
Capehart says Kwanzaa is a “made-up black holiday” and doesn’t know a single person who celebrates it.
Asked if he thought the very, very few black Americans who do celebrate Kwanzaa are being pretentious, Capehart said not exactly.
“I’d call it grasping,” he told Mediaite. “Grasping for a sense of identity and purpose through a pan-African prism. That pan-African stuff never went over well with me.”
“But Kwanzaa means something to a lot of African Americans,” Capehart continued. “I just don’t know any of them personally. And more often than not, if it comes up in conversation it is accompanied by a knowing smirk and pursed lips.”
He added that “white folks need to remember that just because a few blacks do something doesn’t mean that all blacks do it.”
[Photo via MSNBC/screen grab]
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