Debate ensued on social media after presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris posted a video about celebrating Kwanzaa as a child.
Some have viewed the clip as pandering, and others are wondering if it was even possible for Harris to observe the holiday, which was created in 1966, just two years after she was born.
Kwanzaa was founded by activist Maulana Karenga in California amid the Black Power movement, and centers around seven principles: “self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani),” according to National Geographic.
It did not become popular among black families, though, until the late 1970s and early 80s.
“My sister and I, we grew up celebrating Kwanzaa. Every year, our family and our extended family, we would gather around across multiple generations and we’d tell stories,” Harris said in the video posted to Twitter.
Our Kwanzaa celebrations are one of my favorite childhood memories. The whole family would gather around across multiple generations and we’d tell stories and light the candles.
Whether you’re celebrating this year with those you live with or over Zoom, happy Kwanzaa! pic.twitter.com/21bzGHZpYe
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 26, 2020
Many were quickly suspicious of the timeline of events.
“Somehow I find it hard to believe that she has a deep childhood attachment to a holiday that didn’t exist when she was born,” The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh tweeted.
Somehow I find it hard to believe that she has a deep childhood attachment to a holiday that didn’t exist when she was born https://t.co/037S09KqxP
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) December 27, 2020
You didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa stop the cap
— Olivia Rondeau (@rondeaulivia) December 27, 2020
Did she really say “the elders” while discussing an observance that was created in 1966?
— Chad Prather (@WatchChad) December 27, 2020
Kwanzaa started in this country in LA CA in 1966 (by Ron Karenga & the US organization)
What generations of your family were celebrated Kwanzaa when you grew up?
Or is this more of listening to then 9 yr old Tupac & Snoop Dog when you were in the dorms?
— JudgeJoeBrown (@JudgeJoeBrownTV) December 27, 2020
However, Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy noted that she very well could have celebrated Kwanzaa, considering her parents used to be left-wing activists at the University of California at Berkeley.
“Folks, Kamala Harris’s parents met in a radical leftist activist study group on Berkeley’s campus in the early 1960s — the only surprising thing would be if Kamala *didn’t* celebrate Kwanzaa as a kid,” Dunleavy tweeted.
— Jerry Christmas (@JerryDunleavy) December 27, 2020
Harris may very well have celebrated Kwanzaa as a child, and as Dunleavy noted, it may even be likely.
Still, considering Harris’ past history of pandering, it’s hard to see the video as anything more than that.
“Jill and I send our heartfelt wishes to everyone celebrating Kwanzaa. We hope these days of reflection on the seven principles and the rich heritage of African-American culture bring peace, unity, and joy,” he tweeted Saturday.
Jill and I send our heartfelt wishes to everyone celebrating Kwanzaa. We hope these days of reflection on the seven principles and the rich heritage of African-American culture bring peace, unity, and joy.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 26, 2020
The popularity of Kwanzaa appears to have declined in recent years, National Geographic reported last week, with some attributing this to the fact that black Americans have other avenues by which they can connect to their heritage.
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