Over at Slate Melonyce McAfee defends the holiday which, like the people for which it was founded, seems ever under attack:
Still, I'm not ready to join the naysayers who mock Kwanzaa as a pseudo holiday, created to annoy white people and kept alive to peddle cards and kente cloth. "No one is quite sure just what Kwanzaa is," Jonathan Safran Foer deadpans in a New York Times op-ed this morning. Debra Dickerson called the holiday a "cop out" in a Times op-ed from 2003 because it sidesteps the traditions hard-built by African-Americans over the last centuries. "Insofar as Kwanzaa negates the quintessential Americanness of the slave-descended, it is an affront to the heroism and enunciated goals of our oppressed ancestors," she wrote.But what's more American than tweaking an institution to suit your needs? Some folks who don't go to church pine for more than the dancing black Santa from Wal-Mart. Plus, Kwanzaa and Christmas are not mutually exclusive--'tis the season of peaceful co-existence. A rule of Kwanzaa states that one "should not mix the Kwanzaa holiday or its symbols, values and practice with any other culture." But Kwanzaa starts the day after Christmas, so until Dec. 26, you can drink eggnog out of a gourd shell.
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