Last week news began circulating that eight cities across the US had banned the celebration of “Columbus Day” and had replaced it with “Indiginous Peoples Day”. Kudos. There is a call to make this a nation-wide change. I take issue with this for one reason: it is completely hypocritical. Indiginous People have been oppressed for so long, they need real help not just a bandaid holiday- look! All better! Decades of treating you all as inferior? Water under the bridge with the second Monday in October belonging to you!
Columbus Day for me is simply an annoying inconvenience. In North Carolina, the only places closed are banks. School is still in session. It’s a day where I have to remember to get some bills in a few days early. It’s a day that seems to be celebrated only by Macy’s, furniture stores, and mattress shops.
A very very small part of me is sad that my kids won’t learn about the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria the way Hubby and I did in grade school. They won’t have any of the fun rhymes and songs. But an ever larger part of me is thrilled that they won’t learn these lies because they then will not have to unlearn them as adult.
Columbus wasn’t touched by either American History class I took in college. It wasn’t until my second year of teaching, at age 23, that I really got it. Because the bank was closed but school was open. Why? Oh, it’s Columbus Day. Why is the school open? Oh…because Columbus was a murderer. And it went beyond the disease he and his men carried over. He was a straight-up murderer.
I think one of my “loss of innocence” moments came when I first really started to wrap my mind around Columbus and what a douchebag he was. To be fair, it was a different time and we cannot honestly judge a historical person on today’s moral standards. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a greedy douchebag by the standards of his time, because he totally was.
I’m going to let The Oatmeal take it from here, as they can explain it much better than I.