If there’s an ugly twist to anything historical (and there always is), it seems to be the responsibility of RADICAL progressives to 1.) Add it to the “I’m offended!” list; 2.) focus upon it & bring it to light by sharing as much as possible with the world (Re-education, if you will), and then 3.) re-name it, or get rid of it, or shame it, or take SOME action, in the name of turning it into a celebration of some wronged minority somewhere.
And that’s what INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY (formerly known as Columbus Day) is all about this year.
Look, I don’t care what you call it. The holiday, that is. Call it whatever you want, but don’t be exclusive if you feel the need to bring the truth of the whole debacle to surface. To be entirely honest, calling it Indigenous Peoples’ Day is well and good, but then it takes the thunder away from the celebration of Europe becoming aware of the New World, setting a series of events into motion that end up ultimately, in part, providing ground for the establishment of colonies here a great many years down the road which would become The United States of America. Calling it INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY just kind-of paves right over the relevance of Columbus’ accidental discovery.
It’s true, as Bill Begelow notes in the Huffington Post blog entry titled TIME TO ABOLISH COLUMBUS DAY, http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8245158, that “Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Tainos to Spain.” Yeah, there’s another side to Columbus upon which they don’t shed so much light. However, Columbus was a representative of a much bigger entity, and just the same as every one of the LARGEST ENTITIES IN THE WORLD has its underbelly and its ‘dark’ side (hmm… think the CATHOLIC CHURCH AS A GLOBAL ENTITY, for example), MUCH OF HISTORY could be better-represented if we wanted to be more truthful in our teachings of history.
That aside, I have to laugh every time I see ANOTHER ARTICLE about how MISGUIDED it is to continue to celebrate a particular SOMETHING - and how it is CRUCIAL to either BAN it, or ERASE it, RE-EDUCATE THE WORLD, and then TURN IT INTO A MINORITY CELEBRATION. The RADICAL progressive agenda at work.
We don’t have ENOUGH by which to be offended?!
Bigelow writes, “From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation – he called his expedition la empresa (the enterprise).” Yep. That’s what they did in 1492, when Columbus (and a great many others) sailed the ocean blue, as the old adage goes. That’s what empires do. Seek to assimilate others to their beliefs, to their thinking, or to get smaller congregations of people to adapt to service the large conglomerate.
As Jack Donovan notes in THE WAY OF MEN (a favorite read of mine), strength is a masculine virtue – the ability to exert one’s will over oneself, nature, and others – and that’s the way of history. A game of strength. That’s the way of civilizations. A game of strength, and of mastery. Those with the strongest mastery of their strength, as Donovan puts it, the strongest “desire and ability to cultivate and demonstrate proficiency in strength,” end up being the masters. Folks, that’s how it works.
You want to celebrate the efforts of those who were enslaved, who resisted in the years that follow? That’s fine, but let’s not treat the enslavement of native people like it’s some UNNATURAL thing. It’s what civilizations do, and have done, throughout time. People in bondage. It is only by today’s societal standards that people in bondage is morally and ethically an issue. So let’s not damn Columbus for doing what wasn’t considered unethical or immoral at that period in history.
Which brings me to my next point. Bigelow writes, “If indigenous peoples’ lives mattered in our society, and if Black people’s lives mattered in our society, it would be inconceivable that we would honor the father of the slave trade with a national holiday.”
REBUTTAL: Sir, we are not honoring “the father of the slave trade” with a national holiday BECAUSE he is the so-called “father of the slave trade.” We are honoring the discovery of the New World given that it eventually provided physical ground for which to establish the colonies that would become, in time, the United States of America. We don’t DISAVOW the man who made the discovery because there was behavior that today’s society considers immoral & unethical. At least, we shouldn’t. But apparently, if we don’t disavow, then we’re saying Black lives don’t matter!? RIDICULOUS.
Bigelow writes “In school-based literature on Columbus, …they’re taught that white people have the right to rule over peoples of color, that stronger nations can bully weaker nations, and that the only voices they need to listen to throughout history are of those powerful white guys like Columbus.”
REBUTTAL: WHAT?!? School-based literature does not TEACH that “white people have the right to rule over peoples of color.” The fact that history SHOWS EXAMPLES of white people ruling over peoples of color is, well, HISTORY. It isn’t teaching what people CURRENTLY have the right to do or not do. That’s why we call it HISTORY (as in PAST occurrences), not EXAMPLES OF PROPER BEHAVIOR AND/OR ETHICS AND/OR MORALITY BY TODAY’S STANDARDS. Let’s be real here. As for “stronger nations can bully weaker nations,” well, yeah, again, HISTORY shows it, but again, it’s called HISTORY, not EXAMPLES OF PROPER BEHAVIOR AND/OR ETHICS AND/OR MORALITY BY TODAY’S STANDARDS. And as for “the only voices they need to listen to throughout history are of those powerful white guys like Columbus,” I’m pretty sure Columbus wasn’t white. I think he was some shade of brown. But in case he WAS white, again, my previous point. Also … I guess, sorry he was white…? Hey… isn’t February still Black History Month here in the USA? Don’t we take a month to specifically listen to non-white voices? Ah, maybe Bigelow forgot about this when he was writing. But hey, whatever…. RACISM, America! RACISM ABOUNDS! YOU’RE OFFENDED, I’M OFFENDED, LET’S ALL BE OFFENDED AND BLAME RACISM!
Last bit from Bigelow upon which I’ll comment, and my personal favorite: “Enough already. Especially now, when the Black Lives Matter movement prompts us to look deeply into each nook and cranny of social life to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being, it’s time to rethink Columbus, and to abandon the holiday that celebrates his crimes.”
REBUTTAL: Regarding the Black Lives Matter movement, I appreciate what I believe the movement was intended to represent, which is a distinction in the unequal value placed on nonwhite lives versus the lives of white counterparts; that being noted, I will also note that I have been critical of protests in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement in that some have come across strongly resembling the actions of what some would call a hate group. It seems that aspect of the movement doesn't get mentioned much when folks are quick to cite the Black Lives Matter movement as, as Bigelow notes, "prompts us to looking deeply ... to ask whether our practices affirm the worth of every human being." Point noted, Mr. Bigelow, but it does not change the fact that , as I noted earlier, Columbus Day is not intended to be a celebration of ‘crimes;' as I stated, we are not honoring “the father of the slave trade” with a national holiday BECAUSE he is the so-called “father of the slave trade.” We are honoring the discovery of the New World given that it eventually provided physical ground for which to establish the colonies that would become, in time, the United States of America. I just feel that it's counterproductive, and just sounds like a lot of 'getting offended for the sake of being offended' when we get into a tizzy that the moral and ethical standards in 1492 were not congruent with today's societal standards of morality and ethics, when we aim to value life regardless of ethnicity & ethnic background.
Keep at it, progressives! Hold history, despite the fact that it’s called HISTORY, not EXAMPLES OF PROPER BEHAVIOR AND/OR ETHICS AND/OR MORALITY BY TODAY’S STANDARDS, to your standards of proper behavior, “inclusiveness,” ethics, and morality!
And keep calling out ALL THINGS OFFENSIVE!