Kwanzaa as a tradition among African Americans is still up for debate

To the Editor:

The assertion by Karintha Holifield ’04 (“The conspicuous absence of Kwanzaa in the dining hall,” 12/4) that to not recognize Kwanzaa in holiday decorations means that Yale is not sensitive or supportive of African Americans is an egregious overstatement and falsehood.

As an African American, I do not celebrate Kwanzaa nor do I view it as part my “cultural tradition.” Kwanzaa is a holiday created in the late 1960s on the assumption that African Americans needed their own holidays to contend with Christmas and Chanukah. For myself and many millions of African Americans who are Christians, the idea of substituting a created celebration for our Christian traditions is absurd. Importing an amalgamation of supposedly African traditions does not create a cultural tradition as Holifield contends.

I find it insulting that Holifield takes it upon herself to speak for all African Americans with such a statement. Kwanzaa as a legitimate tradition among African Americans is a not an accepted idea among many African Americans and is still open to debate with regards to its legitimacy.

Candace McKinley ’03

December 5, 2002

Comments