Words create worlds

Glorified Roman Holiday – Columbus Style

In Society on November 2, 2011 at 12:02 am

As I grow older, it is becoming more difficult to  what I learned through school and experience. I’ve always been driven by a social conscience that often dictates the way I react to situations that perpetuate racist or stereotypical attitude. As a result, such attitude tends to anger extremely fast. This is not to say I never succumb to stereotypical or even sometimes racist remarks; although I am doing my best to eradicate such poor use of language and misconstrued ideology.

This morning, during while speaking with a classmate, the subject of Columbus and his historical significance arose. This is a an African-American Politics class in which we were discussing the legacy of black inferiority in the United States. I pointed out the absurdity in celebrating and worse declaring Columbus Day a national holiday. While I understand and give him the credit for being on of the first document European sailor to come the Americas (not discover because there were other human’s who lived here before his ‘discovery’).  However, recognizing his influence in the birth of the US as a nation and celebrating him are quite different. Recognition is to affirm a historical fact. To celebrate is to honor, glorify or commend. We recognize Hitler’s leadership and impact in German as well as Jewish history. We recognize Martin Luther King’s leadership and impact in American history. However, majority of the people in Germany do not celebrate Hitler’s rule. On the contrary, majority of American’s celebrate Martin Luther King. For this reason, I associate Columbus’s ‘discovery‘ with extinction of millions of people indigenous to the America’s. We – meaning everyone who is not  a direct descendant of  the natives of this land – are benefiting from their loss as it has become a place to call home. A nation that has  become known as the most powerful nation in the world.

There is a dichotomy in the significance of Columbus in US history.

  • As children we are taught everything depicted in the following image.

His glorified discovery of savage land. Ironically, teachers throw in a few lectures of the ‘noble natives’ that helped the settlers.

  • As we get older, we learn the misery caused by his supposed discovery.

Recognizing Columbus’s contribution to this nation is legitimate and important. However, celebrating him inadvertently celebrates the cost of his ‘discovery’. Millions of Natives died at the hands of European settlers. Celebrating Columbus seems to me like a way of quite literally shitting on their graves. I commend Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota who choose to not recognize Columbus Day as a national holiday.  It is hard to fully understand.

— This is my opinion & not meant to offend anyone.


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