The war on Kwanzaa

An annual ritual begins anew:

In some ways, Kwanzaa seems more and more entrenched in Americana each year. Recently, Sandra Lee on the Food Network put her culinary touch on the celebration with her Kwanzaa cake. And U.S. presidents are obliged to acknowledge the celebration. Barack Obama has been invited to celebrate Kwanzaa in Flint, Mich. on Dec. 29.

But all the commercialization and lack of real observance makes me wonder where the celebration will be in a generation or two...

Right, unlike Christmas which has survived on the basis of its spiritual purity and strict avoidance of commercialism....

Meh, I don't celebrate Kwanzaa. My Dad was a Black Panther, so I wasn't exactly brought up to think of Karenga (call that Negro "Ron") as heroic. I didn't celebrate Christmas either, and the general consensus in my home was that Kwanzaa was throw-away for people who couldn't deal with not getting gifts.

But so what? Seriously, this idea that Kwanzaa is fundamentally different from other holidays is silly and unreflective. Debating the holidays, is like debating sex acts. Dude, there's no clean or dirty, only what you're into or what you're not. Do we really want to do the knowledge on Christmas here? Seriously??

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In