On the first day of Kwanzaa, it is expected of observers to celebrate the week-long cultural holiday honoring African-American culture.
Many families who celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa begin on Dec. 26, with the lighting of a candle on a kinara, or candle holder, for each principle. The first one is Umoja, which means "unity" in Swahili. However, Twitter followers didn’t share the same unity sentiment because the creator of the holiday, Maulana Karenga, is a convicted torturer, according to Time magazine.
Born Ron Everett, Karenga changed his name and was one of Malcolm X’s disciples. He was also a member of the “Circle of Seven,” a discussion group organized by Malcolm X’s cousin, Hakim Jamal.
Karenga created Kwanzaa, but as the group’s following increased, allegations began to mount. In 1971, Karenga was arrested and found guilty of torturing two women, according to Time.
Twitter users had varying reactions to that.
#Kwanzaa was invented by communist black supremacist Ron Everett, a.k.a Maulana Karenga, who was put in prison for sexually assaulting and torturing women. Kwanzaa is not even African, it was invented in the US by Karenga to promote anti-white racism and communism.— Makada ???? (@_Makada_) December 26, 2017
Were you as thorough w/ your research on Columbus for Columbus Day? Or George Washington's mistreatment of slaves for President's Day? Or the shameful behavior of some of our vets in all of our wars/interventions? Or the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans on Thanksgiving?— Ebony SkyTalker (@sfreynolds) December 26, 2017
The #Kwanzaa ‘holiday’ made up by a communist black supremacist who tortured women he held prisoner is bad enough. Having it the day after Christmas just is beyond ridiculous.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) December 26, 2017
So black people are bad for celebrating #Kwanzaa because its creator was imprisoned for sexual assault...yet we celebrate 4th of July (established by a slave owner and rapist), Columbus Day (honors a murderer) and Thanksgiving (glorifies invasion/genocide).— K.J. Duffey (@kjduffey) December 26, 2017
According to Newsweek, the traditional Kwanzaa greeting is the Swahili phrase, “Habari Gani,” which means “what’s the news” in English. In early preparation of the holiday, observers usually decorate their houses with fruits, Kwanzaa flags and a kinara. On the first night, the black candle is lit.
Created during the civil rights movement, Kwanzaa was established as a pan-African celebration in 1966 by Karenga, a professor of Africana studies at the California State University in Long Beach. It combines traditions from Continental African and African-American cultures to give black people something that they didn’t have at the time — a holiday of their own.
But is it morally right to continue to celebrate this holiday if it was created by a man who committed sexual crimes? Surely, this question should also be presented to President Donald Trump since he has a lot of sexual abuse allegations against him.
This really is something to consider. It's the message that matters, but the messenger is also very important, and Karenga was found guilty of the heinous acts he committed against the women he thought were “poisoning” him.
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