By Paul Mulshine
The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
December 26, 2012
A Kwanzaa sign sits alongside a nativity display on Woodbridge town grounds.
It's that time of year again. You know what time I mean - the time when the media promote that fake holiday created by a crazed california felon who wanted to create racial discord.
That's right - Kwanzaa.
Do a news search and you'll find hundreds of articles about wonderful Kwanzaa celebrations held all over America. Good luck finding a single one that mentions the sorry fact that the holiday's creator was imprisoned for torturing a couple of African-American women.
You'll have to go here to my original article on Kwanzaa to find that. The article originally ran in FrontPage Magazine back in 1998. It's easily found on the Internet by any journalist willing to do the tiniest bit of research into Kwanzaa. I like to run it this time every year as a corrective to all of the dreadful journalism that occurs in every report of Kwanzaa.
If the media told the truth about Kwanzaa in these articles, then every right-thinking American would realize it's a fraud. Instead we get the same silly endorsement of this "African" feast that has nothing to do with Africa and everything to do with California in the 1960s.
If you don't have the time to read that long expose then you can read the column I wrote on the subject back in 1998. Here it is in full:
One of my alert readers called me the other day to inform me that the public schools in New Jersey aren't allowed to celebrate Christmas but are celebrating Kwanzaa.
This is intriguing. Christmas celebrates the legacy of Christ who, by all accounts, was a nonviolent man who believed that people of all types could learn to live in peace. Kwanzaa celebrates the legacy of an extremely violent man from California who has dedicated his life to spreading dissension among the races.
More on that later. First let's deal with the question of why schools can propagate a belief in Kwanzaa but not Christmas or Chanukah. For an answer, I called Ed Martone of the American Civil Liberties Union.
''Kwanzaa isn't a religious holiday," said Martone. "It's a cultural holiday. It doesn't have the same restrictions as Chanukah or Christmas."
I'll grant that there is a certain logic to the view. After all, once the government gets involved in religion, the potential conflicts among Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and atheists are so complex that perhaps we are better off avoiding them altogether.
But by that same logic, the public schools should not be pushing certain cultural practices. And the schools especially shouldn't be endorsing cultural practices created by a character with the beliefs and the background of Ron Karenga.
It is not easy to get a hold of the facts about the background of the creator of Kwanzaa. In fact, it is nearly impossible. The history of the founder of Kwanzaa has disappeared into an Orwellian time warp. If you look up the name "Ron Karenga" on any of the many newspaper data bases that are available these days, you will read a glowing account of a deep-thinking philosopher who comes across as a sort of jolly Father Christmas for African-Americans.
You won't find any reference to murder or torture. Yet murder was a specialty of US, the paramilitary organization that Karenga ran in Los Angeles in the late 1960s.
As for torture, Karenga took that more personally. The accounts of his personal role in a particularly sadistic episode of brutality have been largely lost to history. The episode seems to exist only on a few microfilmed pages of the Los Angeles Times. It took two days of research and phone calls to track them down. Here is an excerpt from an article headlined "Woman describes two days of torture" on the May 1971 trial of Karenga for torturing two dissident members of his group:
''Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said."
Karenga was convicted and served more than three years in a state prison.
This was not an isolated incident. In 1967, Karenga was accused of having his thugs beat up a student who asked him an impertinent question at a college forum. In 1969, US got involved in a struggle with the Black Panthers for control of the black studies program at UCLA. All involved carried guns on campus. The US guys were quicker on the draw; they killed two Panthers in a shootout at the student center.
It would be nice to say that after Karenga got out of jail in 1975 he repented, saw the error of his ways and invented Kwanzaa as a means of atoning for his past. Nice, but untrue. Karenga has never atoned for his thuggery, probably because no one ever asked him to. And his sole concession to repentance was his 1975 conversion to Marxism. For him, this was considered to be a sign that he had moderated his views.
Karenga invented Kwanzaa at the height of his gang days, in 1966. And he made it up not to bring peace among the races but to divide them. That's why he placed this alleged "harvest festival" in competition with Christmas, which he derided because of its ties to the hated capitalist system.
It may be true that Kwanzaa has evolved into a ceremony that has importance to a great number of well-intentioned people, people who have no knowledge of its creator's questionable history. But Karenga himself continues to champion the holiday as an example of what he terms "cultural nationalism." This is the view that black people are a separate "nation" within a hostile country. During a visit to Newark in 1987, Karenga defined America as "an insane, socially decaying society." "We need a value system and a support system . . . because the world is organized against your Africanism," he told Newark residents.
Karenga remains a leading spokesman for the multicultural movement, a movement based on the idea that Americans should emphasize their differences rather than their similarities. The idea of Kwanzaa fits firmly within multiculturalism. And however you feel about multiculturalism, you must admit that it is a political movement and therefore one that should not be supported with tax dollars.
As for Karenga himself, he should be given all the respect due a convicted torturer. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I believe that once a man inserts a hot soldering iron into a woman's mouth, he should be excluded from public discourse for eternity. I may be wrong, however. Certainly, the people in California don't seem to share this view. Karenga is now a professor at California State University in Long Beach.
That's California for you. By that standard, there's a university presidency waiting somewhere for Charles Manson when he finally gets out.