To Those Opposed to Kwanzaa,

Which of the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principals) do you object to? What about the ritualization of a people’s collective goals and objectives do you find offensive?

Don’t talk to me about Ron Karenga. My sisters hung out with “Ron” back in the days he drove that old brown van. That was before he was Maulana. I was only a kid at the time but I don’t recall getting an FBI or CIA vibe from him in the day.

Also, do not talk to me about a “made up” tradition; especially if you make a big deal about the “made up” tradition of Christmas as it is “practiced” today. I won’t waste bandwidth arguing the “made up” aspects of Christmas here.

You cannot use the claim that it isn’t an “authentic” Afrikan celebration … it isn’t meant to be! Those of us in the diaspora have little claim to authentic tradition vis a vis our Mother Afrika because of the centuries of separation from Her. In truth, we can only approximate any such traditions since the enslaver took great pains to divide us, deprive us our natives tongues, names and traditions.

So how can we view Kwanzaa in an empowering way? First, let me make clear that any attempt to pick a traditional celebration from the continent, and “cut and paste” it onto our experience in the diaspora is at best “inauthentic”. To “cut and paste” a tradition also denies and deprives us of our our collective journey of survival in spite of the horrors of enslavement.

Our obligation is to create new meanings and traditions that reflects our Afrikan ancestry AND our collective struggle away from Afrika. We must create traditions that counter the narrative of the enslaver. We must find new ways to unify and identify ourselves as a people. To date, how successful have we been in the task of renewal?

So again I’ll ask those who oppose the celebration of Kwanzaa; Which of the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principals) do you object to? What about the ritualization of a people’s collective goals and objectives do you find offensive? And if you can do better, share your vision. I welcome your constructive contribution to our collective struggle and renewal.

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