Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day: Make it Stop!

Happy Columbus Day, everybody. This has become a No Spoon tradition - a post reflecting on Columbus. Another year, another day off off for me and many other Americans thanks to one of the most offensive holidays in America. (This year, we see even more places fighting back - Seattle joined Minneapolis and other places that no longer celebrates Columbus Day, as they instead opted for Indigenous People's Day).

We shouldn't celebrate a man who outright massacred an indigenous population. What makes matters worse is that children generally get a whitewashed (yes, ironic term) history of Columbus, where he is some hero who discovered a land (he obviously didn't), and are taught nothing about the horrific acts he committed.

So, maybe you think we shouldn't be teaching young kids about genocide. Ok, but at the very least, we shouldn't be teaching them to lionize a terrible person. Just keep in mind what Columbus actually did. We've known about the specifics, in pretty specific and graphic detail, for quite some time now, thanks to La Casas.

Anyway, I wanted to refer you to 3 4 5 things (see, I update this post every year!) on Columbus Day. One is a previous year's post about it from me. Two, check out this video from the National History Day documentary competition. It's relatively short (10 minutes). Three, it's high time to rethink Columbus Day. Four, check out this good read on Columbus, La Casas, and many things we simply have wrong about Columbus (for instance, did you know that Columbus was, in some way, the father of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?). Five, watch this awesome short video from the excellent John Oliver on Columbus Day.

Columbus - The Hidden History from Nonchalant Filmmakers on Vimeo.

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