It’s kujichagulia time again, apparently.
As you doubtlessly know if you have a child with a woke teacher, Kwanzaa is yet again upon us. On Monday, the non-denominational celebration of African-American heritage began; the seven-day festival runs through Jan. 1, celebrating one principle of the black American experience each night.
Not that many even celebrate, mind you. In 2019, USA Today found that of those planning to celebrate a winter holiday, only 2.6 percent would be celebrating Kwanzaa. In 2012, NPR even asked, “Is Kwanzaa Still A Thing?”
Short answer: Yes, but only for the crowd that listens to NPR, which also means the crowd that the Biden-Harris White House cares about.
Thus, it’s little surprise both the president and vice president released messages marking the holiday season.
In the first family’s statement, President Joe Biden offered gratitude “for the rich heritage of African-Americans, which is deep in the story of our nation.”
“In 2023, it’s our hope that we’ll all remember the wisdom of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, especially the values of unity and faith, as we work to make the promise of our nation real in the lives of every American,” he said.
We wish all those celebrating a peaceful, joyous Kwanzaa. pic.twitter.com/m1AZvzPcSB
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 26, 2022
Fairly pro forma — and uncontroversial. Instead of following that lead, Vice President Kamala Harris used the occasion to double down on one of her more preposterous personal claims.
When I was growing up, Kwanzaa was a special time in our home. Today, my family and I are reflecting on the seven principles. Happy Kwanzaa! pic.twitter.com/w1pFOIUU9G
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) December 26, 2022
“Growing up, Kwanzaa was always a special time. We came together with generations of friends and family and neighbors,” Harris said in her video, recorded with husband Doug Emhoff.
“There were never enough chairs. So my sister and I and the other children would often sit on the floor and together we lit the candles of the kinara. And then the elders would talk about how Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate culture, community, and family.
“And they, of course, taught us about the seven principles,” she continued.
“My favorite principle was always the second — kujichagulia. Self determination, the power to design your own life and determine your own future. And it is a deeply American principle, one that guides me every day as vice president.”
It’s too bad that “repeatedly making stuff up despite being called out on it” isn’t one of the seven principles celebrated during Kwanzaa. Then, not only could both Vice President Harris and President Biden have the same favorite principle, Harris could annually use the holiday to show just how dedicated to it she is.
To understand why this is problematic, let’s go beyond a rough sketch of what Kwanzaa is and look at its origins.
As National Geographic notes, Kwanzaa was started in 1966 by Los Angeles black power activist and academic Maulanga Karenga (birth name Ronald McKinley Everett), founder of the Us Organization.
“The holiday struggled for recognition in its early years, writes historian Elizabeth Pleck in the Journal of American Ethnic History. Although some urban communities adopted it, many Christians and Muslims viewed the secular holiday as antithetical to their beliefs,” National Geographic notes.
“Kwanzaa’s adoption also slowed as the Us Organization unraveled amid internal feuds—including Karenga’s 1971 conviction and imprisonment for torturing two women he believed had tried to poison him.”
Instead, National Geographic notes, the holiday wasn’t “widely recognized” until the 1980s.
The problem here: Kamala Harris was born in 1964, before the holiday even existed, and long before it was popular enough that there was a high likelihood she was sitting on the floor as a wee tyke, talking with her sisters about the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
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But wait! This isn’t the first time she’s told America this same improbable story! Or the second! And it’s also not the first time she’s been called out for it, either!
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
My favorite principle is the second: Kujichagulia (self-determination). This principle is about having the power to design your own life and determine your own future. It’s a deeply American principle. From our family to yours, happy Kwanzaa.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) December 27, 2021
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
There, ladies and gentlemen, are the 2020 and 2021 odes to kujichagulia, complete with the insistence that, yes, she celebrated this holiday repeatedly as a child and has vivid memories of it. And a bit of the eye-rolling, as well, courtesy of the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh.
There’s a phrase those familiar with early-2000s internet culture will be aware of: Pics or it didn’t happen. If you don’t quite grasp the meaning of this mantra, you will get a rough idea of what it means by these tongue-in-cheek responses to this and other Kamala Kwanzaa messages:
Post some heartwarming videos of these. It would be educational to see how the Bermuda/Indian family incorporated this celebration.
— Mr. Information (married to Miss. Information) (@JasonDaggett) December 26, 2022
Sounds wonderful. Please share your family photos so we can all share in your memories.
— Think RICO Antonelli🇺🇸⚖️ (@VinnAntonelli) December 26, 2022
No you didn’t.
Post pictures, we’ll wait. 🕰
— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) December 26, 2020
And then there was the wave of derision and fury:
The hilarity of all of this is of course the idea that Vice President Kamala Devi Harris ever celebrated Kwanzaa. As the great @AnnCoulter says every year, boy I’d love to see a picture of her highly educated, culturally British and Brahmin parents lighting Kwanzaa candles.
— Saurabh Sharma 🇺🇸 (@ssharmaUS) December 26, 2022
She wants us to believe that her Indian mother sat down with her Jamaican father and was like “let’s get our Kwanzaa on!”
— Adam B. Coleman, President of Aintblackistan (@wrong_speak) December 26, 2022
Really? Who adopted Kwanza in your family? Your Indian mother or Jamaican father? Tell us more.
— CJ 🇺🇸 (@cj_in_oc) December 26, 2022
— Ingenuous Firebrand 🐆 (@ING2Firebrand) December 26, 2022
I’d donate 10k to actblue if she could name all 7 principles
— Adam Foster (@AdamFostermusic) December 27, 2022
And some used the occasion to mention the, um, less savory aspects of Kwanzaa and its founder.
Happy Kwanzaa! pic.twitter.com/Tx3kG2l4iS
— Rev. Ducati 🏁🏴☠️ (@Reverend_Ducati) December 26, 2022
Is it now? A special time, you say?Which part? The cultural appropriation of Chanukah or the racist anti-white origins? https://t.co/Ezt7pWvJ14
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) December 26, 2022
Now, perhaps we would be inclined to give the veep the benefit of the doubt if there were reason to. After all, as CNN noted in a 2010 profile of her titled, “A ‘female Obama’ seeks California attorney general post,” Kamala “was born in Oakland and grew up in the liberal bastion of nearby Berkeley during its 1960s-’70s heyday.”
However, part of the problem is that the whole “female Obama” thing never really happened, at least among black voters.
This could be for a whole panoply of reasons it’s not worth addressing here — although it’s worth recalling how then-U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard famously dismantled Harris on a Democratic primary debate stage in 2019 for putting low-level drug offenders behind bars for marijuana use while a prosecutor and then laughing about her own drug use in interviews. For Harris, that didn’t help matters any with a black liberal base hyper-concerned about “mass incarceration.”
What’s important here is that Harris’ attempts to rectify it and pander to the African-American demographic are so obvious and fake.
On the campaign trail in 2020, Harris called the deceased Tupac Shakur the “best rapper alive.” (Shakur died from a drive-by shooting in 1996.)
Also on the campaign trail, Harris told another interviewer a heartwarming story about how, taken to a civil rights march by her parents during the 1960s, she fell out of her stroller and began crying. When her parents asked her what she wanted, she claims she responded: “Fweedom.”
It was later discovered the tale was suspiciously similar to one told by Martin Luther King Jr. to journalist Alex Haley in an interview for Playboy magazine published in 1965.
(I guess if you’re going to get in trouble for plagiarism, better to do it from the iconic moral leader of the civil rights movement than from Neil Kinnock — the British Labour Party leader whose speech Joe Biden purloined without attribution in 1987, forcing him out of presidential contention that cycle.)
Whatever the case, it’s enough that even self-identified Kamala defenders are calling her out:
I love you VP, I really do. But come on … you don’t really expect people to believe this, do you?
— ☺️🇯🇲🇨🇦 (@_nadelizabeth) December 26, 2022
Yes, she does. That’s why she’s told the same dubious Kwanzaa tale three times.
After all, you heard the woman. Her favorite Kwanzaa principle is kujichagulia — self-determination. She determines who her self is. She says she celebrated Kwanzaa as a child, despite a lack of evidence — so, she celebrated Kwanzaa as a child. Don’t ask for pictures, just believe her.
Shame this doesn’t work the same way with Tupac being the best rapper alive. I’d love to score some concert tickets for the comeback tour.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.