For the United States of America to have a federal holiday in honor of that particular moment of “discovery” in 1492, is unconscionable on many levels.
To celebrate that moment is to celebrate the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain.
To cheer about Columbus is to cheer the coming of the first European slave trader to the Americas.
To praise what happened in 1492 is to implicitly praise the very real and very terrible results of that contact between peoples.
– Jessica Luther, Speaker’s Corner in the ATX
by Latoya Peterson
Columbus Day is a federal holiday – as such, about half of DC is closed today in observance. Other than that, the world seems to be indifferent.
Reader Rosanna sent in this MSNBC article exploring the changing nature of Columbus Day in schools:
Columbus’ stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Monday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations.
“The whole terminology has changed,” said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. “You don’t hear people using the world ‘discovery’ anymore like they used to. ‘Columbus discovers America.’ Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?”
And reader Lucy sent in an email wishing us Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.
What are your experiences with Columbus Day in your areas?