December 28, 2020
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was accused of political pandering over the weekend after posting a video celebrating Kwanzaa.
What did Harris say?
In her video, Harris claimed that she grew up celebrating Kwanzaa. In fact, Harris, said that “multiple generations” of her family celebrated Kwanzaa, an African holiday that was first celebrated in 1966.
You know, my sister and I, we grew up celebrating Kwanzaa. Every year our family would – and our extended family, we would gather around, across multiple generations, and we’d tell stories. The kids would sit on the carpet and the elders would sit on chairs, and we would light the candles, and of course afterwards have a beautiful meal. And, of course, there was always the discussion of the seven principles. And my favorite, I have to tell you, was always the one about self-determination, kujichagulia.
And, you know, essentially it’s about be and do. Be the person you want to be and do the things you want to do and do the things that need to be done. It’s about not letting anyone write our future for us, but instead going out and writing it for ourselves. And that principle motivates me today, as we seek to confront the challenges facing our country and to build a brighter future for all Americans. So, to everyone who is celebrating, Happy Kwanzaa from our family to yours.
Happy Kwanzaa from Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff
What was the response?
The video generated a significant reaction on social media, where Harris
was accused of the “most epic pandering.”
The criticism centered on several key details about Harris’ background, including the fact that Harris was born in 1964 before Kwanzaa existed, the fact that neither of Harris’ parents are African — she is the daughter of a Jamaican-born father and an Indian-born mother — and the fact that Harris spent a significant portion of her childhood in Canada.
- “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,” conservative writer Matt Walsh said.
- “[T]his is such an obvious lie. She was born in 1964..Kwanzaa was created in 1966. It didn’t really take hold until the late 70s and early 80s.
For her whole family to be devoted to it in her childhood is incredibly unlikely… she’s a liar,” another person
- “Considering that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 and Harris was born in 1964, I highly doubt her family ‘across multiple generations’ would have celebrated the holiday.
This just comes across as another one of her lame attempts to sound human and in touch with the average voter,” one person
- “As some one who was born & raised in Africa I can tell there is no such thing as Kwanza.
Kamala knows nothing about it because she is an Indian Jamaican who grew up in Canada,” another person
- “We ‘Jamaicans’ do not celebrate Kwanzaa. Also, being first-generation myself, I’m confused as to how you could celebrate with multiple generations. This is such a fake post, I understand it’s intent, but please do not be fake about it. Just say happy Kwanzaa,” another person responded.
- “Why would a Tamil family celebrate Kwanzaa in Canada? This seems to be much more likely to be a case of you listening to Tupac in College than grounded in reality,” another person said.