Christopher Columbus did not discover the United States. He never even saw the continent. Yet, to this day in the United States, we celebrate him as if he did. So it is time to end Columbus Day
Columbus discovered nothing
It is past time to stop crediting Columbus with discovering something. He was a con man that convinced the Queen of Spain that he could find a new trading route to India. He did not even get that part right.
Whenever I hear people say that Columbus discovered this or discovered that, as a Historian it hits me to the core. For one thing, there was nothing on this side of the world that needed to be “discovered”. Indigenous people had already discovered this part of the world. Are white people’s egos so fragile that we still have this need to lay claim to discovering what was not actually hidden? Unfortunately, yes.
Columbus wanted to sail around the world. He didn’t even make it half way. Yet he still gave himself credit for what he had not done.
No Reason to Honor just to Honor
The need to honor Christopher Columbus for things he never did links back to the need to honor Confederate leaders. There is no rhyme or reason for the United States to have a federal Columbus Day. There is no rhyme or reason to have Robert E. Lee day, but it is common in the southern US.
The only thing Columbus brought to the “new” world was disease and genocide. Fortunately there are places around the United States that are now fighting back against this weird need to honor Columbus for not discovering the United States.
Indigenous People’s Day
Los Angeles recently replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. This was something way overdue. It is still going to be a recognized holiday and government workers will have the day off.
This seems like an easy fix for the entire United States. Just replace it with something we should honor. Unfortunately, this is the United States and often things that should be easy and universal are the most controversial topics.
As I white person, I know that we have this really weird need to validate our race. I do not understand it, but it is there. That is why there is a such a fight to maintain statues and monuments of a truly dark period of our country. This is also the reason why we will have Columbus day for the foreseeable future.
Neither fight should be political
In reality the fights over the Confederacy and Columbus should not be political. Both should be changed because it is the right thing to do. It really is not about white people apologizing our past mistakes. It is about leaving our past in the past.
However, everything in the United States, has turned into a political fight. In Cleveland, the police union is protesting football players kneeling for the anthem by not holding the flag on the first game.
If the union wants to protest a protest that is their right. I do not disagree with the right to protest, but I do disagree with the reasoning. By protesting the football player’s protest it shows that the union does not understand (or care) what the protest is about.
This is why these political fights have gotten out of hand. People do not want to listen or understand. All they know is that the protest makes them uncomfortable so they will fight over it.
Healing should be the answer
We need to take down the statues and monuments to the Confederacy. We need to stop honoring Columbus for something he did not do. Black (and now white) football players should not need to explain why they are protesting. Why, though? Because we as a nation, need to heal.
Having a president that pushes this divisiveness does not help the country heal. The person that is the head of this country should understand that there is a division in this country and do what they can to fix it. Instead Donald Trump is pushing the division as far as he can.
There are easy fixes to start the healing process. We just need to let it happen, or continue being divided. The choice is ours.