Columbus sucked.

Today is October 12th, which is many things in different parts of the world (Día de la Raza in Mexico) but in the U.S. is officially “Columbus Day.”

I wasn’t going to write anything about the holiday since, I figured, at this point in our collective consciousness we don’t need another person explaining why it is offensive and problematic.  Then I went to Twitter, where the phrase “Happy Columbus Day” was trending.  When I read the related feed of these tweets, very few seemed to have any conception of the “other side” to this day.

So here it goes…

Columbus sucked.

Columbus Day is nothing–let me repeat, NOTHING–other than the commemoration of European imperialism in the Americas.  Nothing.  You can’t put a good spin on what came after.  Disneyland doesn’t absolve a series of deliberate and knowing attempts to commit massive genocide.

Since most of the tens upon tens of millions of indigenous Americans who died in the centuries after this Italian accidentally landed in the Caribbean died due to disease–most probably never even saw a European before they perished of smallpox and other ailments–you might think this is an overblown reaction on my part.  It’s not.  Disease was often used as a conscious weapon in the war to destroy native America, both by the Spanish, French, Portuguese, and later, the British.  Even in those many instances when it was not so, the imperialists are not absolved.  They shouldn’t have been here in the first place.

And that’s what it comes down to.  The global forces which propelled this Italian to sail under the Spanish flag an unleash waves of death are forces with which we still struggle today.  They are suggested by words like racism, cultural superiority, religious intolerance, and war.  They are contained within the results of over 100 million people being dead in less than a century.

Today is the day all these things tragedies and more were unfurled on the Americas.  Human history has never been the same.  And I’m not saying that in a good way.

4 thoughts on “Columbus sucked.

  1. I remember coloring pictures of Columbus when I was in grade school and wondering how do you find something that was never lost? It would have been so much cooler if a smarter man discovered the Americas instead.

  2. I believe Columbus Day is one of only two official holidays in the United States that is named for a single person (the other being MLK). Hard to believe we still celebrate this.

  3. A frequent reader of LLM emailed me to let me know of a local school in Pomona who put Columbus on trial for “crimes against humanity.” Now that’s what I call a holiday celebration! (BTW, they found him guilty.)

  4. Ok … You are right about diseases brought by the Europeans.

    But recent scientific findings show that millions of Aztecs died of Hanta Virus, this disease is carried by mice, and is native of the American South West and Mexico. Many Spanish priests that cared for the Indians died of this Hanta Virus, native of the New World.


    One-fifth of all K-12 students and one-fourth of all kindergartners are Hispanic, according to U.S. Census Bureau tables released on March 2009

    Note :

    K-12 is a designation for the sum of primary and secondary education.

    The expression is a shortening of Kindergarten (4-6-year-old) through 12th grade or grade 12 (16-23 years old), the first and last grades of free education in the United States

    School Library Journal
    Hispanic Enrollment in Schools Rising, Census Bureau Reports
    by SLJ Staff — March 9, 2009

    Hispanic Enrollment in Schools Rising, Census Bureau Reports

    Some excerpts :

    Roughly one-fifth of all K-12 students—and one-fourth of all kindergartners—are Hispanic, according to U.S. Census Bureau tables released last week. And if the pace of minority children in this country keeps up, they will become the majority by 2023.

    Western states such as California, Arizona, and Nevada are witnessing the most prominent rise in minority student enrollment, with the growing number of Hispanics due to immigration and higher birth rates, the Census Bureau reports.

    Overall, the percentage of minority students—Hispanic, black, Asian-American, and others—have more than doubled over the last three decades to 40 percent in 2007.

    And while the minority population is projected to become the majority by 2042, for minority kids, that shift is predicted to take place in 2023, seven years earlier than the previous estimate, from 2004, the Associated Press reports.

    The study of Demography is a Beautiful and useful discipline :

    Vicente Duque

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