One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s name without the “Reverend” in front of it. Earning a doctoral degree is certainly an accomplishment, but Rev. Dr. King’s political and civic action was fueled by his work as a spiritual leader. The man who looked on as President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act spent more time preaching from pulpits, singing hymns, and pastoring a church than people often remember. With the clear view of hindsight, it is easy to see no conflict between his faith and political action. In fact, Rev. Dr. King is the only American to be honored with a national holiday arguably because of his courageous and skillful ability to create political change through the power of his faith-based morals.
I'm willing to admit that, in the past, my jocular attitude about Kwanzaa was insensitive. I apologized then and I'm doing it again, publicly. Sorry! I remember learning about it in Sunday School as a child, and wondering why we didn't celebrate it at home. But then, I learned that my family wasn't an anomaly; most African-Americans don't celebrate Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday. Are we shunning a holiday created specifically for us in favor of Western traditions and holidays that were created without our unique cultural needs in mind? I say, no, and before you crucify me, here's why.
Racism shapes our politics, interactions with others, and seating arrangements on the bus. For example, after our country elected the first president of African descent, he was attacked about 17 hours into his presidency for not doing enough. (Look at my eyes... roll em. - (c) Kevin Hart.) Some of it was because people are desperate for jobs, decent health care, and an end to the conflicts overseas. But for some, it was because they just don't like the idea of the most powerful position in the world being held by an African-American.