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Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

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Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby spacefem » Sun Oct 9, 18:00 2011

October 11th isn't for a couple days, but I wanted to get this out early in hopes that it'll get passed around a little bit and maybe give people something to think about this week.

Let's review "Columbus Day" and what we're celebrating here, people. In 1492, a slave trader named Christopher Columbus didn't discover America. In 1493, he had a second voyage to not discover America, where he set up shop and required all the natives to start mining gold. If any Taino male over 14 didn't meet his quota for the quarter, the Taino's hand would be cut off and he'd be left to bleed to death. A tribe of nearly 8 million people was virtually extinct by the time Columbus's stint as caribbean governor was complete. By his third voyage, he learned that the Spanish citizens he'd brought to colonize his new land were struggling a bit, so he instructed them to focus more efforts on helping him enslave the native people for transport back to Europe. If his crewmembers disobeyed him he had them hanged.

He wrote several religious books to try and back up his exploits with biblical evidence. He was sent back to Spain in chains for grossly mismanaging new colonies. He was convinced, even on his deathbed, that he'd been exploring east Asia the whole time.

So let's have a holiday?

It's time to stop! History has shown us that we were grossly wrong about this "explorer" and he is not someone that Christians, Italians, Europeans or anyone should be proud of. Find another source of pride! He was not a product of his time, he was a tyrant above the rest.

The Ancient Greeks discovered that the world was round before the 14th century. America was "discovered" by millions of indigenous people even before that. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about Christopher Columbus, except maybe our own self-absorption and idiocy. It's time to stop having parades, and it's time to start being angry at our federal government for continuing to recognize this holiday and shutting down banks. It is time to be critical of the white house for calling Columbus' voyages "inspiring". I am not inspired. Are you?

Resolution of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 1992 wrote:What represented newness of freedom, hope, and opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for others.


More links:
Transform Columbus Day FAQ
Columbus's Genocide
Columbus Day – Celebration of Myth, Torture and Genocide
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby StarsInUrEye » Sun Oct 9, 19:07 2011

My daughter has the 11th off from school due to Columbus day. I was talking to some girl the other day that brought this subject up. She remembers being in high school and for two years they didn't have the day off. Then it got brought back. I have no idea why.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Rainbow Dolphins » Sun Oct 9, 19:54 2011

Oh, goddamnit, Tuesday was the only day I had time to go to the bank and deposit my paycheck, now I have to wait 'til Friday! Fuck columbus day!
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby imogene the fish » Sun Oct 9, 21:53 2011

I read Lies My Teacher Told Me my freshman year of college. Until then, I thought Columbus Day was a bit insensitive to the Native peoples of North and South America, but that's all. After that (and a bit of hasty fact-checking), I used to talk about how terrible he was to anyone who'd listen. I could convince most people he was stupid. That everyone already knew the world was round and that the reason they laughed at him was because they thought his calculations about the size of the earth were off, and they were. No one was ever convinced that he was evil. Those people all died from accidental infections, of course. No genocide, here. Finally I got my mom to read some of the book. She hates the day now, too.

I cannot believe Columbus Day is still a thing. Why? I know, I know, because of our Eurocentric culture and the fact that the Americas weren't really an geopolitical/economic issue for Europe until then. Fuck that.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Bork » Mon Oct 10, 0:48 2011

Ohhhh this reminds me that I only have through tomorrow for Columbus Day sales...
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Sonic# » Mon Oct 10, 6:55 2011

Do you think that there's a way to commemorate an era of exploration without honoring those who represent exploration's most egregious excesses? I really don't know, but one thing that Columbus Day does is positive - it allows people to talk at length about why exploration led to the colonization of the Western hemisphere, and why that is a very controversial thing.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby rowan » Mon Oct 10, 7:32 2011

Rainbow Dolphins wrote:Oh, goddamnit, Tuesday was the only day I had time to go to the bank and deposit my paycheck, now I have to wait 'til Friday! Fuck columbus day!

Columbus day is today, isn't it? NPR was saying that, and my daughter has school off today... google says it's today, not the 11th.

[eta: and I think it's a terrible thing, we shouldn't have a holiday for Columbus. Instead, we should move Turkey day forward like the Canadians. And we should get a whole week off for that. Yes.]
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Rainbow Dolphins » Mon Oct 10, 10:03 2011

Oh, kickass, it is today. (I mean, not kickass, I agree that it's dumb, but I'm happy I can go to the bank.)
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Meperidine » Mon Oct 10, 12:45 2011

I'm with you. Fuck this holiday! I saw some signs at OWS protesting it actually because it is just open forum for things that are pissy.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby miketheheadlesschicken » Mon Oct 10, 12:49 2011

I don't know if I've ever really had a day off of school for Columbus Day, it's just always been a weekend for sales. I suspect this is because the west coast has less-concentrated Italian communities to support it? It seems like a much bigger deal in the eastern half of the country.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby imogene the fish » Mon Oct 10, 12:55 2011

miketheheadlesschicken wrote:I don't know if I've ever really had a day off of school for Columbus Day, it's just always been a weekend for sales. I suspect this is because the west coast has less-concentrated Italian communities to support it? It seems like a much bigger deal in the eastern half of the country.

Born and raised in LA. I know we had it off when I was younger. We stopped getting the day off of school when I was in middle school, I think. I remember my 11th grade Spanish Lit class protesting that we should get it off because he was a Spanish hero (because he was funded by Spain, I guess). They just wanted the day off, though.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Aum » Mon Oct 10, 14:09 2011

It's Canadian thanksgiving today but I don't celebrate it.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Tookie » Mon Oct 10, 21:57 2011

I had three Thanksgiving dinners this weekend and also led an anti-colonial Thanksgiving lesson at work (at a Unitarian church) yesterday. No Columbus Day here!

But I agree, it is fucked. And this was the first year that I realized that Canadian Thanksgiving, while less overtly colonial than American Thanksgiving (we mostly just talk about being thankful for the harvest), is still pretty damn colonial. Sigh.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby great girl wonder » Tue Oct 11, 6:31 2011

I tried to go to the post office yesterday and of course it was locked. So I yelled, in the middle of downtown small American city, FUCK COLUMBUS DAY! Several drivers in cars at the intersection looked at me so I yelled it again. Then I suggested to my friend we should go find a piece of land and declare it ours and kill the indigenous people if they get in our way. She tends to shy away from murder so we went and got ice cream.
Seriously though, Fuck Columbus Day.
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Re: Are we seriously still celebrating Columbus Day?

Postby Payitamon » Wed Oct 26, 7:23 2011

Hello!
I was going through some posts and bumped into this one.
I am quite sure Columbus' Day is on October 12th and not 11th...
Did you people in the US change the date?
In any case, why not turn it into something possitive. In South America, people celebrate the "day of the race" in the sense of the native population of America.
In Spain people do celebrate Columbus Day but only because they payed for the whole ordeal.
Still, I wouldn't go for eliminating a national holiday but why not transforming it?
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