Monday, October 8, 2012

Should we Celebrate Columbus Day?

By Terry Orr

G Rebecca Dobbs in 1997 wrote “Why We Should Abolish Columbus Day” – an excellent account of Columbus and celebrating this date is simply wrong. 

The following is from her paper:

We should cease to celebrate Columbus Day, first because it is ludicrous to say a place already inhabited can be "discovered"; second because Columbus failed to add anything new to the pool of European knowledge; and finally because the celebration of Columbus sends a message of hostility to the very peoples who have paid most dearly to establish the great nation of which we are a part.

Whatever the mystery and controversy may surround the story of Columbus, there can be no doubt about the results of his voyage for both the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas and for the peoples of Africa, and these constitute the most pressing arguments for ending Columbus Day.

What is important here is not so much to blame Columbus, but to understand what we are doing when we celebrate such a man. The message being sent to Native Americans and to African-Americans by Columbus Day is not merely one of irrelevance, but one of active, overt hostility. Celebrating the father of genocide and slavery in the Americas tells the groups who were victims of those crimes that we as a nation think those things were good and that as a nation we neither respect nor value the peoples so victimized.

Should be continue to celebrate Columbus Day?

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