When Stinkapee was smaller she understood all the lights put up in the city for the holidays as Kwanzaa Lights. There were so many beautiful Kwanzaa lights everywhere.
Now that she's older and she goes to school with white teachers and with white students who feel the need to colonize the overwhelming majority of children of colour students in the school by force feeding heaping doses of christmas lore to them while hiding it under liberal inclusive speak about "happy holidays" and "holiday celebrations" Stinkapee is coming home with questions and odd experiences.
Stinkapee told me about a movie about a reindeer with a red nose. I asked if his nose was hurt or sore. But then we had a conversation about the christmas movies trying to control children's brains and make them want to celebrate christian holidays.
Then she told me that the teachers forced her to watch christmas movies at lunch or recess, even though she explained that we don't believe in christmas because we're not christians. She says that the children who believe in christmas try to tell her that she, too, will be watched by Santa for good behaviour. I explained that since we don't believe in Santa, because he's a tool christians use to make christianity seem fun, that we don't care if Santa is watching. Christians aren't the boss of us.
Strange, she also told me that one of the muslim children in her class told her she was going to go to hell. I told Stinkapee that since we don't believe in hell, we couldn't possibly be headed there. Besides, she knows that since all energy comes from the universe, when we pass over, our bodies will go into the ground and the rest of us will float out all over the earth and become a part of everything around us. Simultaneously, we'll also be ancestors one day and keep watch over our descendants. Whew energy from the universe really gets around, don't it?
Today we were talking about the lights around the city. Stinkapee explained to me that the lights are all christmas lights. I told her that since we already know that not all the people living in this city aren't christians and don't necessarily celebrate christmas, the lights could be for any of the holidays that happen at this time of the year. Although we don't know all the different holidays people can choose to celebrate during the time around solstice, including solstice itself, we know that not every light hung up in the city is for christmas.
Just a shadow of a doubt. That's all I really need to create. From there, I have all sorts of space to culture jam and to create. And because no one is the boss of us, we can mush whatever bits and pieces of celebratory matter together in whatever ways we see fit if it means that our children will have the support they need to hang on until they're old enough to mount resistance of their own.
So, you see that tree with the lights at the top of this post? That's our Kwanzaa Tree. So far it's decorated with paper snow flakes we made on the weekend and white lights.
In the next few days, we'll celebrate solstice, probably with lots of candles, staying up late and maybe taking a midnight stroll...I made the last one up...it just popped into my head...but Stinkapee will probably fall asleep and we'll put her in Shmolee's stroller and carry Shmolee in the baby carrier he inherited from Stinkapee...Papi will, his back is stronger.
Also, I'll be doing a life size drawing of the Kwanzaa Goddess. Although we'll do the candle lighting and the woven mat and
though we'll read about the different days of Kwanzaa, we're not strict Kwanzaa Afrocentrists. :) We dabble in a bit of solstice, in a bit of goddess worship, a bit of the universe and then sort of roll up together in a bundle that we recognize as ours that works for us.
With that in mind, we discussed it and decided that The Kwanzaa Goddess (who in all our minds looks an awful lot like the witch Karaba in Kirikou et La Sorciere) is the aspect of Goddess Mother Earth who brings us Kwanzaa. She is the one who brings us the food we'll be eating, watches over any altars we'll create and gives us any gifts we might end up giving to each other.
Notice I didn't say gifts we'll be giving each other? Nobody actually goes holiday shopping for gifts in our family. If we pass something and we actually have budget, which we don't right now, we might. But Stinkapee's real favourite part of the holidays is seeing people, spending time with her family, cooking with family and watching dvds.
Tonight we watched Kirikou and the Sorceress which is one of her all time favourites. We like Kirikou because he's small but mighty, like Stinkapee. She always smiles when he does amazing feats. Since she doesn't live in a gender challenged house, whenever she sees the little boy's character save the day, her eyes glow with a light that says the message is getting through to her, too.
We're also going to watch Daughters of the Dust. Powerful lessons in that movie, too. Nana with Yellow Mary's St. Christopher's charm, the scraps of memories from her tin wrapped 'round a bible, I ain't. But I do understand how to tie Kwanzaa tight to that rattid plastic tree and send the holidays back on "home" with one of their colonizing tools recycled and reused as a tool, a vehicle to transmit some protection from the madness in the days to come.