Suburbanite Scare Watch: Kwanzaa
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It’s the goal of A.V. Club Milwaukee to share all the wonderful things this city has to offer with as many people as possible. That’s why we’re doing our part to make our jittery neighbors to the north and west of Milwaukee a little more comfortable the next time they venture into our nice little town. In today’s Suburbanite Scare Watch, we broaden our scope and explore the apparently frightening, dangerous, and race-baiting holiday known as Kwanzaa.
Why some people are scared: The holiday season is thankfully behind us, but it’s never too late to drum up some faux-outrage over the imagined attacks on the holiday season—or, for that matter, the very use of the word “holiday.” Full-time Wisconsin state Senator and part-time troller Glenn Grothman decided to close out the year by penning an out-of-the-blue press release on the evils of Kwanzaa, the celebration of African-American culture that takes place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. According to the West Bend Republican—who once named single parenthood as a leading cause of child abuse—Kwanzaa is far from a positive and culture-reaffirming holiday based around core principles such as responsibility and faith. No, it’s an insidious plot hatched by black criminals and white left-wingers in order to tear our country apart and indoctrinate our children. Oh, and it’s totally made up.
Here are a few choice quotes from Grothman’s release, which is titled “Why Must We Still Hear About Kwanzaa?”:
Of course, almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa—just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans. Irresponsible public school districts such as Green Bay and Madison (and who knows how many others, see links below) try to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.
With tens of millions of honorable black Americans in our country’s past, we should not let a violent nut like [Kwanzaa founder Maulana] Karenga speak for them. (By the way, after getting out of prison he was hired as a professor at California State Long Beach. When are we going to stop funding left wing nuts at our public universities?) The churches ought to be particularly appalled since Karenga thought Christmas was a white religion and was trying to draw black people from it. Be on the lookout if a K-12 or college teacher tries to tell your children or grandchildren it’s a real holiday.
Over at the Shorewood Patch, plenty of angry (and anonymous, natch) commenters agree with Grothman, calling the weeklong celebration “the fakest of holidays,” and using the story as an excuse to bash the NAACP (again, natch).
Why you shouldn’t be scared: It should go without saying that Kwanzaa isn’t coming for your children, and it should be noted that this isn’t the first time Grothman has attacked the holiday. A similar screed from 2003 suggested “the rest of us should treat Kwanzaa with the contempt it deserves before it becomes a permanent part of our culture.” So clearly Grothman has a weird axe to grind with the innocuous celebration. Can you show us on the doll where Kwanzaa touched you, Glenn?