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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:57 PM
Original message
Is Columbus Day a racist holiday?
I mean really why again are we celibrating Columbus Day? He discovered America? Really! Why didn't the people here realize they needed discovering?
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youngred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. He did
and the Chinese and the Africans and The Vikings and some other north europeans...he's just the one who got the whole colonization thing going.
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Character Assassin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. No, not particularly. But it is highly inaccurate.
Leif Ericsson Day would be more appropriate.
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I guess the people already living here don't count?
:shrug:
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Character Assassin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. Guess all you like
The people already living weren't organized into recognizable, discrete political entities, didn't record or archive historical records, other than in oral tradition, and didn't particularly subscribe a New World/Old World conception of the world.

They also are theorized to have arrived here, in piecemeal fashion, in migratory waves, not specifically for the purpose of exploration or discovery of any 'new world'.

It's a matter of classification for the most part.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Well sure.
If you completely dismiss the aztecs, the incas and the mayans. The aztecs only had the largest cities in the world at the time, after all. But they're not real civilizations anyway.
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Character Assassin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #19
27. Well, sure, if you think the Aztecs magically crossed the Bering Strait
If you completely dismiss the aztecs, the incas and the mayans.

The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas didn't discover, per se, anything.

The Aztecs originally entered what is now Mexico from the north around the start of the thirteenth century. However, it was not until the year 1325 laid the foundations of what would become their capital by sinking piles near the shores of the principal lake in the Mexican valley.

Same thing for the Incas and Mayans: They were not the original entities who could claim to have 'discovered' anything.

The aztecs only had the largest cities in the world at the time, after all.


And this is relevant to discovering continental landmasses exactly how?

But they're not real civilizations anyway.


What a stupid contention. I assure you, they were all quite real.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. Do you read your own posts?

"The people already living weren't organized into recognizable, discrete political entities, didn't record or archive historical records, other than in oral tradition, and didn't particularly subscribe a New World/Old World conception of the world."

Oh, and Columbus didn't have much of a New World/Old World concept either. Considering he died in an insane asylum thinking that he had landed in China.
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Character Assassin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Try and think in the abstract, hmmm?
"The people already living weren't organized into recognizable, discrete political entities, didn't record or archive historical records, other than in oral tradition, and didn't particularly subscribe a New World/Old World conception of the world."

The fact that the above accurately describes the nature of the natives encountered by Columbus, that they were easily dominated by his forces and he encountered no significant resistance inevitably led not only to a history of plunder and colonization, but also the inevitability that the historical record as written by the Europeans would reflect that no other civilization was extant in the general area at the time. Not only that, but the geographical concepts and cartographical methods that we use now hardly apply to the people at the time of Columbus.

Had Columbus landed in Veracruz and sailed up river, it is likely that he would have encountered vastly different circumstances that would not have lent themselves to the notion that he 'discovered' America.

Regardless of interpretation, it is evident that the Aztecs, et al, didn't discover anything. Their activities were more limited to conquest of their local areas.

Further, in the geographical regions where both Ericsson and Columbus landed, there were no civilizations, empires or cities, so both individuals could arguably be said to have 'discovered' America in that more limited sense, especially since this is a holiday only in the United States, and the territories of the Aztecs and others lie outside of our borders.

Oh, and Columbus didn't have much of a New World/Old World concept either. Considering he died in an insane asylum thinking that he had landed in China.


So what? Almost every individual that came after him did.
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Oh, I see.

So when you were talking about...

"They also are theorized to have arrived here, in piecemeal fashion, in migratory waves, not specifically for the purpose of exploration or discovery of any 'new world'."

and

"The people already living weren't organized into recognizable, discrete political entities, didn't record or archive historical records, other than in oral tradition, and didn't particularly subscribe a New World/Old "

You weren't talking about americans in general but the few islanders that Columbus encountered specifically. And when you say Columbus was a discoverer, you meant of the of the geographical regions that included a few caribbean islands, and not the western hemisphere. And when you say "people already living here" you mean as opposed to the people who came AFTER Columbus.

Gotcha.

That's pretty abstract alright.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #28
40. Columbus died wealthy and quiet aware of what he had found
The story of Columbus dying broke and insane is made up. He was wealthy, and he wrote in his journal about discovering a new world. He even changed his family's coat of arms to reflect this discovery. If he died in an asylum, and I think I remember that he died at home on one of his estates in Spain, it was only as a patient near death, not as someone who had lost his mind.

Most of the American legend of Columbus is completely false, just as are the pictures we use to represent his face. His journals, letters and diaries still exist, and can be read, and show clearly that he was famous, rich and powerful in Spain at the end of his life. He was even awarded the title Admiral of the Seas-- a title his descendants were authorized to use even after he died, and which they still use as a family honor. His legend died out quickly after he did, and he was forgotten for a while, but he ws not the poor reject our history books delight in describing him as.
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Mudcat Donating Member (79 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #28
47. China?
"Oh, and Columbus didn't have much of a New World/Old World concept either. Considering he died in an insane asylum thinking that he had landed in China."

Actually, with Walmarts up and down both coasts and everywhere in between, chock full of made-in-China goods, and management walking around in little RED vests, happy-happy faces pasted everywhere, one might surmise that Columbus died as a misunderstood visionary.

(Who controls the Panama Canal these days?)

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laruemtt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
26. my bumper sticker:
indians discovered columbus.

it's been downhill since he did land here, and i'm italian!
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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. St. Brendan's day would be more appropriate, actually!
:hi:
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frank frankly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. I don't recognize it as a valid holiday
and don't get me started about Thanksgiving...
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mlawson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Agree 1000%, frank frankly!!! n/t
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:56 PM
Response to Reply #3
42. Thanksgiving is truly and american holiday
First we gorge ourselves on a large meal then we sit around on the couch and watch football or just nap... then we eat leftovers all day...

and of course the planning for the next day!...all the excessive spending and credit card debt to buy junk no one needs to celebrate the birth of an individual who wouldn't have really appreciated the commercialism...

its just so american....
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jiacinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. No it's not
nt
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Kitsune Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. It makes for a good story.
Well, the way elementary schools teach it, anyway. Every country has its own mythology designed specifically to inculcate nationalism. See also George Washington vs. Cherry Tree, George Washington the Olympic Coin-Throwing Champion, etc.


In any case, just to be historically correct I celebrate Leif Erikson Day the day before. :evilgrin:
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. No. But its dumb
I don't see the point in it, really.
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quinnox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
9. Nope
n/t
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
10. His mission was to find a better route to exploit the East Indies IIRC
Certainly economic at its root, and the results of his work included the genocide of millions of Native Americans.

OTOH if he hadn't opened up the New World to old Europe someone else would have withing a decade or two.

It doesn't have to be a racist holiday if we allow ourselves to take an honest look at the bad AND good events that his discovery led to.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
12. It depends on how you feel about the European invasion of ancient lands

ethnicity, and yourself.

Many people who consider European culture and people inherently superior do not consider themselves racists at all, and are deeply concerned about getting more ethnic faces into campaign photos and are proud and delighted to have brown and beige people at their parties, and not just the caterer's people, because they really embrace diversity, there are some Asian kids at their kids school and they don't have a problem with that at all.

Most people who consider Columbus' operations in the Americas in a negative light are low income people who are unlikely to vote in elections, attend private schools, and could not afford to even with a 50% tuition voucher, and their faith traditions are unlikely to include the election process.
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
22. Sorry, but your last paragraph is WAY off the mark!
It is precisely the LEAST educated and MOST indoctrinated (religiously AND politically) who adamantly refuse to relinquish their view of Columbus as a HERO. Whether they actively vote or not is beside the point, they are rigid in their culturally inculcated assumptions of White/Euro superiority.

That Columbus' arrival in the Western Hemisphere set into motion four centuries of genocide of the indigenous peoples here troubles them not all. Those of us who have taken the trouble to educate ourselves on the TRUE history of the European invasions of the Americas see celebrating Columbus Day as akin to celebrating a Hitler Day -- a despicable paeon to mass murder.

sw

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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Re-read it. and remember that I am a very wicked person ;)
nt
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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #25
33. Ah yes...
Well, actually I DID keep in mind that you are indeed a VERY wicked person -- I've been quietly admiring your posts for some time -- but I couldn't quite "get" your angle this time around, so I went for a straight forward interpretation. My bad.

Peace,
sw
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #25
36. Salaam, Shalom, Pax Vobiscum, Shanti, Hast, Pyong'hwa, Paz, Peace
:loveya:
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shepard Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #36
50. Dine Peace
K', Hozo
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
13. I think they should change it to Explorers Day
Recognize all of the explorers throoughout history from Leif Ericsson to Neil Armstrong. I sort of think that is what Columbus Day is really meant to celebrate anyway
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Dob Bole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
15. Native American's Opinion
though I don't use that term much....no. I'm not angry. I'm not about to discover white people and cough on them and hope that they die. What happened happened, and Columbus is dead.

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shepard Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. Na Dene opinion
Ya at eeh.Columbus ei ya at eeh.Columbus was a good enough person.It was long ago.I have no problem with his day.Ahe'ee Nehema
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. Columbus was a good person?
Can people who commit genocide be good?
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shepard Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #34
45. Good Columbus?
Not saying Columbus was a good person.He was a good enough person.He was a human being with all the faults that entails.Yes,we remember what horrible acts he brought on our people,but to be obsessed by it,is to be enslaved by his ghost.I for one will stand tall and walk without shadows at my back.Ahe'ee Nehemah
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Kathy in Cambridge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's a Way to Honor a Famous Italian-American
who supposedly discovered America.

I don't agree with it either.
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sujan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
17. yes
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smallprint Donating Member (778 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
18. Yes, absolutely

Columbus was a murderer, rapist, and slave trader. There is no reason to honor him. He was not even the first European here.


here's a link to Howard Zinn's 1st chapter in the Peoples History of the USA:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/Columbus_Peoples...

""As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts."

The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold?

...

Because of Columbus's exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans' intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.

Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were "naked as the day they were born," they showed "no more embarrassment than animals." Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
20. Berkeley celebrates indigineous(sp?) people day
Instead ....
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
21. Kind of like having a HItler day.
Sure it's a smaller scale.

But Columbus did have thousands of people put to death because they were degenerate dark savages.
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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Ask the Taino Indians
Oh, wait - you can't. He killed them all.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #24
48. The guy who lived in my apartment before me had a "Proud to be Taino"
bumpersticker on the door of the closet. So I guess some are still alive.
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shepard Donating Member (63 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Taino
The Taino people were nearly wiped off the face of the Earth. Those who were left hid for centuries in the mountains of these Caribbean paradises, maintaining ancient culture, ritual and remnants of our Arawak based language. There are no recorded full blood Taino left. Many of us have mixed blood with the Spanish and African who came after us, but our culture, our people remain.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #49
52. Welcome to DU
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agates Donating Member (743 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
23. In SD
Here in South Dakota it is called Native American Day.
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-..__... Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
31. I get paid time and 1/2 for it...
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 08:10 PM by D__S
as well as Presidents Day, MLK Day, Patriots Day, etc. Change it to Leif Erikson Day, Indigenous Peoples Day or
Aztec Day if you like. As long as I get my time and a 1/2 you'll get no complaints from me.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
35. Chris Rock likens it to a burglar claiming he discovered an apartment
Columbus was forgotten about until the mid nineteenth century, when the new Americans were trying to find a way to prove they deserved the land they were stealing. Suddenly Columbus, the Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving became vogue.

Columbus enslaved and kidnapped the original inhabitants who, contrary to popular opinion, were rather settled farmers living in villages at least as sophisticated as European peasants, though their weapons technology was not as great as the Europeans. When the original inhabitants began sneaking away in the dead of the night (since they knew their own land better than Columbus), Columbus began trading Indian slaves for black slaves, thus removing the Indians from their own lands and introducing black slaves to it.

Columbus started a war against own tribe, wiping out large numbers and enslaving the rest to work his plantations. He sent thousands back to Spain personally. Other "explorers" wrote in their ships logs that one could sail to the New World without a compass by following the bodies of the slaves dumped overboard as they died from overcrowded holds and from starvation.

Women were traded by Columbus for sex, and he rewarded his officers with women. One letter Columbus wrote in 1500 to a friend remarked that women were worth as much as a farm (remember since they were stealing the land farms were cheap), and that traders were looking for more women all the time, especially in the nine to ten year old range. And he is talking about sex. This letter is written by Columbus himself.

What a perfect example to honor with his own special holiday. I'll bet Rush and Bush and Ashcroft consider him a hero. No doubt Arnold would approve, as well.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. LOL! Now Burglar's Day is a terrific idea!

Maybe we could just change the name, keep all the same parades, holiday status....

:>
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frank frankly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #35
39. Arnold would approve
Arnie owns a wooden indian and keeps it in his house...I found out when I spoke with a store owner in Idaho who sold them. The store owner found my problems with his "wares" strange, and he pointed to Arnie owning one as his first defense. Revolting.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #35
44. BTW, I meant to say yes, it is explicitly racist
And not just because Columbus was a genocidal horror that makes Hitler look soft.

The holiday itself was an attempt to create a white myth for America, to justify our conquest of the continent in the 1800s. Founders myths usually attempt to justify why a people is supposed to live in the land that they founded. Columbus's myth was an attempt to justify America and its western expansion, by claiming that we had really been here for centuries, and that what was here before was not worth talking about. Same with the Pilgrims, though Thanksgiving can have an element of the original Indian holiday it was taken from if you let it.

Point is, Columbus's myth (not his reality) was created to justify white European Christian dominance over the other residents of the land. It was explicitly racist in origin, and still is, since it is used to perpetuate a series of lies that justify white superiority. It sets white America as the standard, and the rest as something white America had to overcome, and eventually, in our greatness, allow to be assimilated.
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Gringo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
37. Well, it's Eurocentric and misguided...
I don't have a problem celebrating "The discovery of America" by Europeans - though I think it should be balanced by a day of remembrance for the loss of the indigenous people.

It is pretty sad, though, that Columbus, a complete scoundrel who scammed the Spanish royals for years, and lied about spotting land himself, when it was actually one of his crew that first spotted the land (Columbus thus swindled the crewman out of the reward money) Columbus died penniless and discredited, but his reputation was somehow resurrected in latter years. Apparently his only real accomplishments were as a seaman and a navigator...

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NaMeaHou Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
41. Colombus Day is a European Celebration Day
That's all. A day to recall dominance and submission. A gathering of cultures that remember how they were the ones to set this world on a course towards not only environmental, not only cultural, but individual destruction.

Does anyone really celebrate or care about this "holiday" anymore?

Gosh, I'm looking forward to "Loyalty Day"

When the hell is it?
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. Perhaps a name change... Imperialism Day
would seem more appropriate???
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durutti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
46. Yes, very
Colombus was directly responsible for the genocide of millions of American Indians. He wasn't nearly the first to discover America.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
51. It's a bit of nationalistic propaganda morphed into a holiday
that serves the purpose of indoctrination.
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