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Empathetic liberal? I'm a liberal -- a damn bleeding heart liberal at that, too --but I'm certainly not empathetic.
While I appreciate most of the values that Kwanzaa stands for (unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, purpose, creativity and faith -- "cooperative economics" sounds too much like a warm, fuzzy term for communism), I don't fancy the idea of holidays that are intended to be celebrated only by specific ethnic groups. The founder of Kwanzaa and its promoters make it quite clear the event is just a "black thing," and that it represents the "struggle of our people," which could be considered "let's light candles and blame Whitey for seven days" among some. The timing of the holiday and some of the rituals, too -- it really seems like it's a "black Hannukah/Christmas," despite what Kwanzaa's promoters claim.
I'm wondering whatever happened to the concept of integration. Not necessarily the "melting pot" idea of old, but the "mosaic" that we're now acknowledging. I'm getting the impression that some -- not all, but some African-Americans don't want to even be part of the mosaic, but would rather have a window of their own . The emphasis on Kwanzaa at the expense of MLK Day -- where all people are invited to celebrate the man's achievements, and the incredible gift he gave the United States -- seems like evidence of that. It's a slight to King, and to the tens of millions of middle class African-Americans that have embraced his ideals, and are now living the American dream.
What the hell does Kwanza have to do with anything on this so-called planning related web site? Contrary to popular opinion, it is NOT an opportunity for African Americans to sit around and "blame whitey for seven days." WE can do that ANY day and/or time of the year. Kwanza is also NOT a subversive anti-integration celebration. If you want to discuss larger issues such as integration/segregation or social inequities, then do so, but don't ridicule or question other cultures and/or ethnic communities' traditions or celebrations as a means of masking those issues.
In response to Planderella and in defense of the topic and El Guapo , the description of this thread - Friday Afternnon Club- states that it is "For general chatter, great thoughts, mindless rambling, and frank exchanges of views on less-than-cosmic topics". I think it fits with the thread, albeit not a planning topic.
As the administrator, pretty much anything can be discussed in the FAC, planning or otherwise, within reasonable limits that are hard to define. Don't post spam, porn (excepting Airleas's poetry), and nonsense that's obviously racist.
[adminstrator hat off]
I, personally, don't want to feel like I'm a racist for questioning the idea of Kwanzaa. It's just that I have problems with certain "institutions," for lack of a better word, that contribute to what I think is a growing divide between races, sexes, and classes. No, I'm definitely not one to say that "there should be a White Miss America contest, if there's a Black Miss America pagent." Those race-segregated institutions -- beauty contests, fraternities, music awards, and so on -- served an important purpose in their time. Yes, there is a need to separate yourself from everyone as a whole, and share "X space," whether it be the Elks Club, the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, or BCR. Still, I feel frustrated and sad, though, because I don't think I'll live to see a time when self-imposed segregation is no longer needed, when we won't need a Black Planning Association, Hispanic Kennel Club or Society of Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Engineers. New institutions, such as Kwanzaa, are evidence that the trend of self-segregation may be growing