Glenn Grothman, a Wisconsin Republican senator, recently claimed that Kwanzaa is a fake holiday that only “white left-wingers” care about.
In a press release, Grothman wrote:
“Why are hard-core left wingers still trying to talk about Kwanzaa — the supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year’s? 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.”
Grothman then went on to say that school districts such as Green Bay and Madison were “irresponsible” for trying “to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.”
To say that Grothman is misinformed is an understatement. According to the Grio, an estimated 2 million Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, a weeklong holiday that starts the day after Christmas and ends on New Year’s Day. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies, as the first pan-African holiday.
Karenga said his goal was to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”
Grothman said that Karenga “didn’t like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins, so he felt blacks should have their own holiday — hence, Kwanzaa.”
Grothman also said, “With tens of millions of honorable black Americans in our country’s past, we should not let a violent nut like Karenga speak for them.”
While Karenga did feel that Christianity was a white religion in the early years of Kwanzaa, he changed his position later on so that Christians would not be alienated from celebrating the holiday. Since Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but is meant to celebrate African heritage and culture, it is possible for Christians to celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas.
Local Democrats were appalled by Grothman’s comments. Treasurer of the Ozaukee County Democratic Party Meg Moen said:
“His recent press release about Kwanzaa was absolutely jaw-dropping. Not only does Senator Grothman seem to find his inherit racism acceptable, he implores people to follow his lead and question a holiday that African-Americans have been celebrating for years. He, as usual, blames progressives and teachers, for respecting all traditions, and having the audacity to include every holiday and tradition that occurs around this time every year.”
Moen then said that she was calling on Grothman to retract his statements.
Grothman previously made headlines for proposing legislation that would consider “nonmarital parenthood” as a contributing factor to child abuse.
Do you agree with Grothman’s comments?