Visitors to a Texas Library Learn about Admirable ‘Traditional Values’ of Marriage and Community...IN AFRICA!
...An occasional report from the “People’s Republic of
UPDATE: See Thomas Lifson's comments on this article at The American Thinker.
By David Paulin
Ann Coulter delivered a speech in hip and liberal
Curiously, no such protests erupted during an event on traditional values a little over one week ago at a city library. Why? Perhaps it’s because the values being discussed were not American – conservative or otherwise.
No, this event focused on traditional African values – or as a library news release explained: the “traditional African values of family, community, responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement.” That, at least, is the virtuous picture of
In one sense, Kahura is the perfect cheerleader for the Africa-oriented Kwanzaa, which is taken very seriously in
Sixteen years after arriving in
Kahura, who settled in
Nearly 40 years ago, Kwanzaa was dreamed up in
Over the years, Kwanzaa has been variously described as an African-American alternative to Christmas or a focal point for African-American pride and community. According to one survey, however, it's celebrated by a mere 1.6 percent of Americans – or 13 percent of African-Americans.
At Kwanzaa events you see few if any white faces, yet Kahura insists, “Kwanzaa is not just an African-American concept. It can help anyone."
She went on, “It’s about teamwork, unity, and people walking together. It celebrates culture and it can link African-Americans to their roots and their mother language.”
Oh really? Kahura obviously needs to learn more about her adopted country: American culture has always embraced the civic-engagement aspects she touts. Indeed,
To be sure, a debate is underway about the status and possible decline of
Multiculturalism Gone Berserk
How did this happen? Obviously, Kwanzaa’s ideologues rode the wave of multicultural and politically correct ideology that eventually infected the mainstream media. As a result, questions that ought to be asked are stifled. One example was a recent Kwanzaa puff piece from Cox News Service, owners of the American-Statesman, whose headline trumpeted: “Kwanzaa glows even brighter after 40 years.”
Completely missing was any mention of Dr. Maulana Karenga’s sleazy past; not a word about his criminal record and extremist associations, observed the NewsBusters blog. A provocative headline accompanied its incisive comments: “Cox News Honors Kwanzaa Creator, A Rapist and Torturer.”
As to Kahura, nobody has dared to publicly ask an obvious question about her: How can a Kenyan immigrant be so presumptuous as to settle in
Let’s face it. The values she admires are mostly a product of her imagination. One reason
Indeed, the idealized Africa Kahura extols would be unrecognizable even to the high-minded readers of
It focused on a bizarre yet common practice in rural areas of
Its purpose is “to break the bond” with the husband’s spirit, according to The Times. “Widows have long tolerated it, and traditional leaders have endorsed it, as an unchallenged tradition of rural African life."
Did the school kids whom Kahura dressed up as African kings and queens learn anything about this? I have yet to attend one of Kahura’s lectures, to be sure, having only had the pleasure of reading about them and seeing her on television. Even so, I doubt she’s ever waxed poetic about the joys of sex with bereaved widows – whether they want it or not.
Kahura caught my attention two years ago, not long after I moved to
I complained to my public library which was hosting her presentation. A library official responded that Kahura was a well-respected “educator” and much in demand for events such as Kwanzaa, Black History Month, or for various educational purposes.
Conservatives, incidentally, have an epithet for this town: “People’s Republic of
Child Sexual Abuse
Presumably, Kahura’s presentations about her idealized
Some traditional values, huh?
Presumably, Kahura also skipped over another traditional African value: promiscuous sex. Once again, the venerable New York Times dealt with this in an article, “AIDS in
That article, believe it or not, actually stated that sexually promiscuous behavior may have something to do with
Presumably, Kahura’s lectures also have overlooked another ritual based on traditional African values – “female circumcisions.” Last June, The New York Times dealt with this in a delicately titled article, "Genital Cutting Raises by 50% Likelihood Mothers or Their Newborns Will Die, Study Finds.”
It stated, “In a number of African cultures, genital mutilation is part of a coming-of-age ceremony, and defenders have contended that it is a cultural practice, like male circumcision among Jews, with few, if any, proven long-term health consequences.”
Incidentally, the term “genital cutting” is the euphemism preferred by multicultural types who consider the more graphic “female circumcision" (the removal of the clitoris) to be too negative and judgmental of cultures that practice this procedure.
Some African-Americans and Kwanzaa diehards may idealize
African children sold into indentured servitude work up to 14 hours per day and “are part of a vast traffic in children that supports West and Central African fisheries, quarries, cocoa and rice plantations and street markets,” reported The Times.
“The girls are domestic servants, bread bakers, prostitutes. The boys are field workers, cart pushers, scavengers in abandoned gem and gold mines.”
Not very idyllic, huh?
Here’s a suggestion. The next time Kahura delivers a lecture on traditional African values, maybe the school or library or daycare center that’s hosting her can provide some counter-balance: Get a patriotic professor from the
Yeah, I know. In my dreams.
From the author:
….Readers that got this far may be interested in an Op-Ed piece I wrote in July, 2005 regarding the uproar over
All the Colors of the Rainbow
By David Paulin
Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and White House spokesperson Scott McClellan all agree that a Mexican postal stamp plays upon racist stereotypes. Their unqualified agreement – from across our racial and political divide – is probably shared by most Americans. Our condemnation, though, may say a lot more about our culture than about
Don't get me wrong. I’m also put off by the stamp of a beloved Mexican comic-book character that, to me, also resembles a racist Jim Crow-era caricature: a goofy black male with exaggerated features such as thick lips. But Mexicans like the stamp, and President Vicente Fox has defended it.
So are Mexicans lining up to buy the stamp racists? I have my doubts, in part because I recall all too well how complicated racial politics can be in other countries, including in
Like in much of
“What about Claudio Fermin?” he asked with incredulity, referring to the dark-complexioned politician in the Democratic Action party.
"He's as black as can be," he assured me.
It was an epiphany
How an American like me perceived somebody abroad, in terms of their race, often had more to do with culture and class than with skin color or features. It also had a lot to do with how people perceived and defined themselves.
Not all Venezuelans, to be sure, felt the same way. My Venezuelan girlfriend and I once visited one of the country’s venerable fortune tellers, called brujas. We were so impressed with Fanny – she provided correct numbers for a 4-digit
Fanny wasn't pleased.
"Why are you sending blacks to my house? I don't deal with that kind of clientele!"
I was shocked. I hadn't given it much thought until then. But Fanny was black. At least that's how she struck my girlfriend and me (who I guess, incidentally, would qualify as mestizo).
Perhaps Fanny was perhaps using one criterion that some in
In overwhelmingly black
For Jamaicans, however, that attitude affects how they perceive themselves – and how others perceive them. One Jamaican friend related how he was visiting
“It was like water rolling off a duck,” recalled my friend.
Interestingly, such an easy going attitude seemed common among Jamaicans, except for members of the left-leaning elite: newspaper columnists, university professors, and politicians. Many of them viewed the world through a racial prism – an obsession that gives them a lot in common with many black Americans, and with many left-leaning whites.
Ordinary Jamaicans, to be sure, also could be extraordinarily complicated about race.
My Jamaican girlfriend, who looked something like the beautiful actress Angela Bassett, once referred to a fellow employee as “the woman with very African features.” I was a bit surprised, for my girlfriend had some African features of her own: sensuous lips that were far more beautiful than what any thin-lipped white women could get from a plastic surgeon. I never learned at what point sensuous lips morph into “African” lips, although it was one of many instances I encountered of blacks making seemingly harmless distinctions or judgments among themselves, based on racial features.
Interestingly, my girlfriend’s beauty opened doors throughout the
“Well, you look just like a nice Cuban girl!” the hotel manager of Spanish descent told her sympathetically, after she had vented her outrage. It’s a common complaint – one that left-leaning Jamaican and black American elites, curiously, never complain about.
When retelling her story of being wrongly “profiled,” incidentally, my girlfriend displayed none of the venom and insecurity one often finds among members of minority groups in
For my part, I was surprised a Cuban doorman didn't find my Jamaican girlfriend as captivating as I did. But what constitutes beauty or “blackness” can be complicated, I realized. The same can be said for racism. You’d think decent people would know it when they see it. But I’m not quite so sure anymore – except to know that today in