Grothman: Kwanzaa Comment Garners Positive Feedback
State Sen. Glenn Grothman again grabbed headlines across the country after a press release regarding the relevancy of Kwanzaa sparked a controversial reaction from the public.
After calling Kwanzaa a fake holiday that "almost no black people care about," Sen. Glenn Grothman said he has heard a lot of positive feedback despite a negative reaction from some, including public officials.
"Almost all of the private feedback has been positive," Grothman said. "First of all, people are thankful in finding out that Kwanzaa was founded by a violent, racist, Marxist — because some of them didn’t kow that. Secondly, they realized we shouldn't let such a person create a holiday … and promote it in our school system."
The negative reaction was from a small, left fringe that supports an atheistic, socialist agenda," he said. "They are loud but tiny."
Grothman sent out the press release attached to this article on Monday, and said it was meant to run as a column in newspapers choosing to use it. In it, he called the founder of Kwanzaa, Maulana Karenga, a radical leader who was a racist — and said that the holiday was created to divide Americans.
Grothman said he was prompted to send out the press release after reading a column in a Washington County newspaper about Kwanzaa in which the columnist mentioned that residents should learn more about the holiday.
"I felt I should educate the people in Washington County," Grothman said.
One Patch reader, Ray Ray Johnson, agreed with Grothman's sum of the holiday.
"The root of Kwanzaa is racism," Johnson wrote on a Patch article about Grothman's statements. "It's a holiday built on racial identity and racial divide. It's sold as pro-black, which is racist by definition. 'Pro-black' is to white folk like 'white power' is to black folk. Most black folk don't celebrate it, at least not in my family. It's a holiday of self-inflicted segregation that does nothing to merge people into the melting pot of America."
Other side of the issue
But some public officials as well as Patch readers were appalled by the statements, disagreeing with the senator's statements.
Stephanie Findley, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Black Caucus, called on Scott Walker to denounce Grothman's conduct immediately, according to a press release sent out by the organization.
"As head of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Scott Walker should say whether or not he associates himself with and approves of the disgusting comments made by a chief ally such as Sen. Glenn Grothman," Findley said. "Grothman, who has minimized the honor due Martin Luther King Jr., says he knows what's best for black people and he directly attacks basic principles of religious liberty in his ill-advised screed. He took a time to celebrate peace and goodwill toward all and warped it into a narrow political appeal to bigots."
Walker has refused to denounce Grothman's comments, saying "he didn’t know why Grothman would go out of his way to alienate people over something 'some people' support, yet stated that, 'everybody's got a different opinion,' according to a press release from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
The holiday "brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense," reads the official Kwanzaa website, and is based on seven principles including unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Starting the day after Christmas, the weeklong African-American holiday was created several decades ago Karenga, now an Africana studies professor at California State University, Long Beach.
Patch reader Donte Wylie pointed to Kwanzaa as one of only two holidays dedicated to African-Americans.
"Ever do any research into the so called holidays that we celebrate? Well, I have," Wylie wrote. "Other then Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, Kwanzaa is the only other African American Holiday that we honor and celebrate in this country. Furthermore, Kwanzaa is spiritual, cultural, and blends acts, thoughts, and prayers into community outreach. In other words, it empowers, strengthens, and cultivates. It is based upon life. As for the Holidays, we celebrate, many of them are based upon slaughter and death.
"Christmas is no longer about the birth of Christ, but about the dawning of St. Nick (old Nick, old Harry, Satan); St. Valentine's Day is the day in which a Roman Saint — St. Valentinus — was killed and the day Capone pulled off the St. Valentines Day Massacre; Halloween or All Hallows Eve worships Samhein (Satan); Thanksgiving was followed by the massacre of the indians in the area of Plymouth Rock; So don't preach to me about fake holidays, when the real holidays we celebrate are nothing more than sacrifices of peoples deaths."
Was Grothman expecting this kind of publicity? He says no.
"We sent out something like this about 12 years ago," Grothman said during a CNN interview, "and it was really no big deal."
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