Senator Glenn Grothman calls for Kwanzaa to be "slapped down"

MADISON -- Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman has issued a press release in which he declares that Kwanzaa is a false holiday he says was conjured up by a racist college professor and perpetuated by hard-core liberals.

Grothman, a Republican lawmaker from West Bend issued the press release during the week of Kwanzaa, calling it a "supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year's."

Grothman's statement attacked the creator of the holiday, Dr. Ron Karenga -- a professor at Long Beach State in California. Grothman calls Karenga a racist. 

"To promote a holiday formed by somebody who himself is a violent person and was specifically trying to drive white and black people apart is inappropriate," Grothman said.

Grothman says Kwanzaa is a divisive holiday that shouldn't be taught to kids, and that Dr. Karenga is a racist separatist who wanted to destroy the country in 1966.

Grothman's remarks drew immediate criticism from a Democratic party leader, who called Grothman's comments "absolutely jaw-dropping," according to FOX6's media partners at the Shorewood Patch.

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States but also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26th to January 1st, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

In his press release, Grothman says "almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa -- just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide Americans," and called for the holiday to be "slapped down."

Grothman adds Karenga "didn't like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins, so he felt blacks should have their own holiday — hence, Kwanzaa."

Clayborn Benson, the executive director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society says the seven principals the holiday celebrates are positive. 

"It's really a special holiday. It's a culture holiday in which African-Americans use to reflect from the previous year problems, difficulties, good times as we enter into the New Year. The principals really refer to individuals, primarily African-Americans to be the best they possibly can, to improve their life and their lifestyles and those loved ones around them," Benson said.

Benson says he supports Dr. Karenga and supports Kwanzaa being taught in schools.

"Dr. Karenga's been here more than three times. In his presentations to us, he has never revealed a sense of negativeness that comes out of this beautiful ceremony that we embrace. I want every kid to learn it. I want every kids to be a better person having learned it," Benson said.

Grothman feels if this holiday is taught, Dr. Karenga's background should also be taught so people will understand where the holiday came from. 

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Democrats Black Caucus has called on Gov. Scott Walker to denounce Grothman's statement.

Grothman received national attention earlier this year when he proposed legislation that listed single parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse.

CLICK HERE for additional coverage of this story via FOX6's media partners at the Shorewood Patch.