By ARMANDO HARMON
With Columbus Day around the corner, it’s important to know what’s so special about Christopher Columbus, the beloved Italian explorer many of us learned about in school.
Most people who grew up and went to school in the United States remember the brief history lesson from their teachers on how America was discovered.
As cruel as the history of the world is, it’s better off to know what really happened when Columbus came to America, and the top ten reasons to rethink celebrating the holiday.
10. Christopher Columbus didn’t really discover America.
In school, teachers usually tell you Columbus was the first to discover North America, but in reality there were people living in North America before he came along. The Vikings were the first to land by boat upon America about 500 years back. The American Indians had been living in America. According to Thor Benson from ATTN, Leif Erikson was the famous explorer to beat Columbus.
9. He essentially started slavery in America.
Benson also stated that Columbus was the first to instigate an organized slave trade in America. By trading slaves, he started the platform of this horrible profession seen later on in American history. He started by enslaving the natives of North America, then switched to African-Americans once the natives started dying out.
8. He decimated the native people.
Everywhere Columbus and his men traveled, they ended up bringing hell to the villages. Historians have noted how Columbus and his men killed villagers, raped women and children and trafficked children as sex slaves. Benson added that some natives would commit mass suicides to avoid being tortured.
7. He was terrible even to his own people.
As Laurence Bergreen points out in his book “Columbus: The Four Voyages,” Columbus didn’t treat his own men and women well. He had people whipped or shackled when they would buy bread or meat while they were starving.
6. He is not a hero to anyone other than himself.
There are plenty of debates that state why Columbus is a hero and why he isn’t. Yes, he journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean, but he also created a genocide of natives. Starting the genocide of a group of innocent people is not a trait of a hero.
5. Columbus isn’t worthy of having his own holiday.
George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Columbus are the individuals with national holidays honoring them. All of these men did great things, but Columbus is the only one with an infamous rap sheet.
Martin fought for civil rights for blacks and helped end segregation. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic, only to send a race near to extinction and took the credit of finding new land.
Throughout history, there are many people worthy of their own holiday other than Columbus. Take Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez or Mark Twain. No one is perfect, but those people had good hearts. They all have positive cultural impact on America and not just for the white people, but for all people of color.
4. Kids today aren’t told the truth.
In class as a kid, teachers often sugarcoat the original story of Columbus Day. There is no point of teaching history if it is going to be sugarcoated. It is like saying that Hitler was just a bad guy in World War II and America won in the end. We can’t ignore his Nazi regime that invaded and took control of half of Europe, or the millions of innocent Jewish families he imprisoned. It doesn’t work like that because there is a whole bunch of dark twisted crap that ties along with the history lesson. We might as well tell the kids how the Columbus voyage really went down, so maybe they could grow up knowing that everything isn’t as it seems.
3. “Historical Fiction”
Author Washington Irving, known for “Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” was the first American to create an account of the biography of Christopher Columbus and his voyages. While writing his book, he thought that recording the truth would be too harsh, so he added fiction to his biography. Ever since, Irving’s biography was adapted and used throughout the years. Historians have noted Irving’s “active imagination” and called some aspects of his work “fanciful and sentimental.”
2. Do we actually celebrate Columbus Day?
For many people, Columbus Day is just another second Monday in October. New York holds a Columbus Day parade to celebrate the explorer. Many people attend this parade, but the majority are Italian-Americans. Even though we don’t go all out as a country to honor Columbus on Columbus Day, it’s wrong for a mass murderer to receive a federal holiday. Every year at these parades there are groups of American Indian protesters fighting for what they believe in. Some people celebrate Aug. 24 (Kobe Bryant Day) more than Columbus Day. The only good thing that comes from Columbus Day are the sales at stores.
1. Why not celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead?
Indigenous People’s Day is a big middle finger to Columbus Day. Like Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Instead of celebrating rape and genocide, that day is to celebrate American Indian culture. First adopted in 1992; this practice has been adopted by more cities throughout the years. Today, there are at least 24 cities that celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, with Phoenix being the largest city. It’s a beautiful way to pay tribute for the fallen.