Print this Page



FITSNews – December 18, 2006 – Okay, we saw this article in The State newspaper this morning and almost choked on our blended venti moccha fraps.

Apparently, only 2.3 percent of Americans are celebrating Kwanzaa. That’s right, 2.3 percent – or at least that’s what The State claims an October poll taken by the National Retail Federation says.

2.3 percent is friggin’ pathetic. More people are probably celebrating Festivus, and that’s not even a real holiday.

So what gives?

Well, never trusting The State, we here at FITSNews did a little digging ourselves.

For starters, Kwanzaa bears a striking resemblance to homework. There’s a lot of translating to do and some of the subject matter sounds a lot like the stuff we fell asleep listening to Dr. Feldman talk about in Human Resource Management class.

In fact, scrolling down the list of the seven Kwanzaa principles (or Ngozo Saba), the first one that really frightened us was “Cooperative Economics” (or Ujamaa).

Apparently, Ujamaa is celebrated on the fourth night of Kwanzaa, just after “Unity,” (Umoja) “Self-Determination,” (Kujichagulia) and “Collective Work and Responsibility” (Ujima) and right before “Purpose,” (Nia) “Creativity” (Kuumba) and “Faith” (Imani).

We’re not exactly sure what “Cooperative Economics” means (frankly, it sounds like it might have something to do with black people not doing business with Whitey), but whatever it’s about, it’s pretty clear it has nothing to do with sitting on your ass in front of the television with a leftover turkey sandwich, some KC Masterpiece B-B-Q potato chips and an ice cold beer.

Seriously, think about a husband who just wants to watch some bowl games on the new HDTV he got on “Unity” night, or the little boy who just wants to play with the Kung-Fu grip action figure he got on “Self-Determination” night, or the little girl who just wants to jam out to the latest Beyonce CD she got on “Collective Work and Responsibility” night, or the mother who just wants to put the kids to bed and try on the new bathrobe she’s giving herself that evening.

You’re going to tell us that’s the time to sit down and talk about “Cooperative Economics?”

In his 2005 Annual Kwanzaa Founder’s Statement, Dr. Maulana Karenga writes, “In a world where the Europeanization of human culture and human consciousness presents itself as progress and globalizes coercive conformity under a myriad of masks and duplicitous messages, the principle of Kujichagulia (self-determination) affirms our ethical obligation to remain true and hold fast to the sacred legacy of our ancestors.”

Not exactly “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”

The disappointing thing about Kwanzaa’s apparent demise is that its principles – well all of them except Ujamaa, anyway – are intrinsically good, morally-relevant ideals. In fact, they’re ideals that all white, black, brown, green and purple people should strive to emulate in our daily lives. Another good thing about Kwanzaa is that it encourages people not to forget their roots and to learn more about where they came from – another thing everybody should do more of.

But in building our character and honoring our ancestors, we need to be mindful not to drive wedges with militant language and separatist holidays – which is what we believe Kwanzaa’s founder was clearly aiming for even if he doesn’t admit it.

Skin ain’t nothing but a color, people. Living Color was a kick ass rock band, and Eminem clearly knows how to rap. Jarome Iginla is a kick ass hockey player, and Steve Nash can obviously play basketball.

But don’t take our word for it, ask Wayne Brady and Kevin Federline, or Henry White and Joel Sawyer, for that matter.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go listen to “Ebony and Ivory.”