Today is Columbus Day, a holiday where we recognize Columbus’ “discovery” of the “New World” with a day off–for some–and a sale or two.
For others, though, Columbus Day is the official reminder of European invasion and, to employ today’s terms, some of the first acts of terrorism.
Glenn T. Morris, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, published an oped about abolishing the Columbus Day holiday:
Slavery was an institution, based on racism and inhumanity, that cried out for abolition. Columbus Day, similarly, celebrates racist concepts of discovery, conquest and occupation. In fact, Columbus began the transatlantic slave trade with captured Indians from the Caribbean. Soon, Africans were forced into slave ships to replace the millions of indigenous Americans who were slaughtered in Columbus’ regime of invasion known as the Encomienda. For this crime against humanity alone, Columbus should be stripped of any accolades, honors or holidays.
Columbus Day is not merely a celebration of Columbus the man; it is the celebration of a racist legal and political legacy – embedded in official legal and political pronouncements of the U.S. – such as the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny. “Discovery” is not a simple euphemism meaning that Columbus was the first European to stumble upon America.
Read more at the Denver Post.
Is it time to abolish Columbus Day?
Should it be taken as an opportunity to teach a more accurate version of the story of European contact with the North American continent?
Sound off below!