Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.
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Last Week Tonight asks: Columbus Day: How Is This Still a Thing?
Columbus Day came about because of rampant anti-Itailian sentiment in the country. Columbus represented a well-known and well-liked Italian and getting a holiday named after him became an effective tactic in their goal to humanize Italians and end discriminatory practices. I’ll say this holiday is past its sell-by date, especially considering who Columbus was and what he did once he "lucked out’ by running into land.
We should establish in its place Social Justice Day.
thanksgiving renamed to A Day of Mourning…
Even as people are aware of the true nature of the Colonization of the Americas many are still not aware of how that distorted history permeates a society. As example plaques across the nations in question will commemerate the White person who “discovered” a natural feature such as a canyon , or river or lake or waterfall as if the peoples who inhabited these lands for thousands of years before were ignorant of their existence.
These little details may seem harmless but they engrain into the people the belief that the lands empty when the Europeans arrived or even more that a natural thing like the grand Canyon is nothing until a white man names it.
It in the naming of places that this difference between the European and the First nations peoples so very noticeable. I can find no examples of a First nations person crossing a land to find a lake and naming the lake after a Chief in their home village , yet thousands of locations in the Americas named by the whites is after some king or queen or princess. This in itself reflects the mindset so prevalent in those White Europeans that migrated to these lands, that being that even the land itself was subject to their king.
Just as example the origins of the names of the four provinces in Western Canada.
British Columbia. Self evident.
Alberta After Prince Albert Husband of Queen Victoria
Saskatchewan Native American means place of the swiftly flowing river
Manitoba Native American means straits of the spirits.
Great stuff, Mr. Bigelow… particularly this:
“Too often, even in 2015, the Columbus story is still young children’s first curricular introduction to the meeting of different ethnicities, different cultures, different nationalities. In school-based literature on Columbus, they see him plant the flag, and name and claim “San Salvador” for an empire thousands of miles away; they’re taught that white people have the right to rule over peoples of color, that stronger nations can bully weaker nations, and that the only voices they need to listen to throughout history are those of powerful white guys like Columbus. Is this said explicitly? No, it doesn’t have to be. It’s the silences that speak.”
Also notable is that current history-in-the-making follows precisely the same pattern. The U.S. martial forces are out “there” spreading Democracy and freedom, not bombs; and whatever the scenario, U.S. military forces are “the good guys” while a stream of “bad guys” featuring Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Putin, Assad, etc. MUST be opposed for the betterment of the world," and so forth.
It is a small demographic that profits from these martial exploits and a similar small demographic that writes the (false) script.
Kudos to Seattle:
"Last year, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant put it well when she explained Seattle’s decision to abandon Columbus Day: “Learning about the history of Columbus and transforming this day into a celebration of Indigenous people and a celebration of social justice … allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that Indigenous communities face to this day.”
I guess it is like Genghis Khan. THE national hero in Mongolia, the national disaster in China, Russia, Afghanistan,Poland, Iran, ect. Columbus and Genghis -world changing figures to be studied, but not celebrated.
You can throw in Alexander, Caesar and a few others from William the Conqueror to Cecil Rhodes too. Columbus’s ethnicity is honored not the man. Maybe we should just have an Italian American Day parade on Columbus Day.
Lol… I find myself smiling at the idea of a Ghengis Khan Day considering the history but looking back in history… most of them were pretty horrendous all things considered…lol.
Timur the Lame especially so.
When do we abolish President’s Day? It wasn’t Columbus who committed all the slaughters and massacres against the “Indians” in the USA. Columbus was long gone by the time successive US presidents stood by and or encouraged the slaughter, ethnic cleansing and obliteration of the native languages and native culture.
I think we should keep the second Monday in October as a holiday, since it’s already established as such, but it should be re-purposed. It should be the new general election day for the entire country. We need to cease first-past-the-post, winner-take-all general elections, especially for President, and institute a run-off system, where if no candidate gets 50%+1 vote, the top two candidates will run-off for the office a month later. This would make a multiple-party system really viable, since people could vote for a party like the Greens, without feeling they were “throwing away” their vote. Moving the general election up to mid-October would then allow enough time to do this, and still have enough time for the transition of administrations. Making the election a holiday weekend - with voting allowed all three days - would make it much easier to vote and encourage much larger turnouts. Of course, this is exactly what the Republicans, and their wealthy owners, don’t want, so don’t hold your breath for any sensible, positive changes like this.
People celebrate the religion of the ancestors with the most effective weapons. Peace on Earth, etc.–maybe when Mr. Lennon’s lyrics are taken more seriously.
How about the 4th of July, “Thanksgiving”?
History is written by the victors
Writing out the victims
Totally, totally agree. Why this has not been yet is as puzzling as the Washington footballers are still the redskins.
Let’s keep the day off though, and use it to celebrate… something/somebody good. Suggestions???
I agree that we would need to be able to put this event into historical context, and would need to be willing to accept historical facts that neither side of the debate want to consider. I would also suggest that few Americans actually know much about Columbus, much less this period of history, and the peoples and the cultures involved. That said, the idea of placing the blame for 200 yrs of US history on the back of one Italian is just… weird. The history of this chunk of land is very violent, and goes back well before Columbus ever set foot on this continent.
Or turn them all into Happy Middle Class Day! Maybe celebrate by stomping the faces of some homeless bums? What is entirely rational and acceptable to one generation, is recognized as barbaric by another.
I think we actually need representative government. Today, Republicans represent the rich, Democrats and third parties represent the middle class, and the masses of poor have no representation whatsoever, no voice in the public forum. That’s a pretty shabby excuse of a “representative democracy.”
Good idea. While we’re at it, how about Valentine’s Day too? It just brings misery to millions.
Also Independence Day, or at least make it something other than an explosion-fest that glorifies war and soldiers.
If we’re going to honor an Italian, it should be Mario anyway.