Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Columbus should NOT be venerated w/a holiday

In an appeal to the racist part of his base - i.e., his base - trump last month spoke to a nearly all white crowd in Minnesota about how they have “good genes.” A consistent trump theme over the years? “I have great genes and all that stuff, which I'm a believer in" Mississippi, 2016.

Today is a Federal holiday: Columbus Day. On October 12, 1492, Columbus landed on a beach in the Bahamas, greeted by Arawak indigenous people. He wrote in his log: “With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

This arrogance of white people sprang from their belief they were superior to the “Indians” they encountered. And that’s ironic - the indigenous Arawak people never had been to India, but were called “Indians” out of Columbus’s (erroneous) belief that he’d made it to India.

“So various were the peoples of the Americas that continent-wide generalizations are risky to the point of folly.” Mann, “1491,” 2011 ed., p. 160. One generalization we can make: Europeans wiped out the indigenous peoples.

Columbus was wrong about other things, such as the presence of gold in the Bahamas. A priest and early settler, Bartolome las Casas, described in his “History of the Indies” how the people here were enslaved and worked until they died. Women killed their newborns to spare them.

We should understand the anger of indigenous peoples - especially anger over their being used as mascots for sports teams. Washington’s NFL team searches for a new nickname. Part of the genocide: British military officials paid a bounty for each “red” skin produced.

Does Putin demand proof when a Taliban seeks payment of the $1K bounty for killing a U.S. soldier? Would we be offended if a sports team was named after that particular body part? It’s all sick. No wonder trump wants schools to teach “patriotic” history.

Columbus should be venerated the same as general officers who committed treason in 1861-65: not at all. We should have a holiday that venerates the peoples who died after Europeans arrived. Perhaps we could make it the same day as election day.

Today some indigenous peoples - deemed inferior by Europeans “back when” - operate, and derive profits from, casinos. They must have good genes, unlike trump who went bankrupt when he tried to run casinos. So much for European superiority.

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Comment by pogden297 on October 12, 2020 at 12:56pm

Mark Small = a keen observer of the obvious.  Outside of a few large cities, like NYC, there are no Columbus Day parades or other celebrations of the "discoverer" of America.  It's still a national holiday because federal employees like to have the day off and October is a good time for it.

By the way, the Bahamas still has Christopher Columbus statutes including one at its chief government building.  One of the articles I read suggests they're just too "passive: to tear it down.  Bahamians actually pride themselves in having a laid back, non-stressful culture.

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