Houston Forward Times

24 December 2013 Written by  A. Peter Bailey

Kwanzaa-Christmas: Both Are Meaningful To Black Folks

Five years ago I wrote a column, "Kwanzaa-Christmas: No Conflict" in which I explained why there is no practical reason serious Black folks can’t participate in both celebrations. Guided by a belief that the sentiments expressed here are just as needed today as they were five years ago, I’m repeating the Dec. 29, 2008 column. Please note that today, instead of writing "pathetic secular types," it would be "pathetic post-racial types."

Those people, who for whatever reason, are nervous about or hostile towards the celebration of Kwanzaa (Dec. 26 - Jan. 1) among an increasing number of Black people, need to chill. They are way off the mark. Christmas, as celebrated by Christians, is or at least is supposed to be, a religious celebration whereas Kwanzaa is a cultural celebration.

Both have a strong spiritual element.

It is not the fault of Kwanzaa celebrants that too many people treat Christmas more like a cultural celebration than a religious one. That is something that Christians have to deal with, the re-taking of their religious celebration from the merchants who regard it as an opportunity for dollar bills to be rained upon them.

The mission of the seven-day Kwanzaa celebration is to encourage Black people, no matter what their personal religious beliefs, their personal political beliefs, their nationality or their ethnicity, to strive for individual and group achievement and excellence.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa - - Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative economics, Purpose, Creativity, Faith - - provide a solutions- oriented guideline that, if adhered to by just 25 percent of our people in this country, will greatly advance our individual and group economic, political and cultural interests.

Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as a call for both reflection and action. It ‘has remained just that for the past 42 years. As more and more of us commit ourselves to its principles, there will be a much-needed psychological change among significant numbers of our people. After a while, the major holdouts will not be those people who have religious concerns about Kwanzaa, but those pathetic secular types who are vehemently opposed to anything that has a Black perspective. They prefer to remain exotic pets of White folks. This is good because such accommodationists are irrelevant to

Kwanzaa’s overall mission.

Happy Kwanzaa!

A. Peter Bailey, author of the recently published book Witnessing Brother Malcolm X: The Master Teacher, can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .