Every Columbus Day the question arises as to whether or not we should observe Columbus' "discovery" of America. Some say yes, others say no. My friend and blogger Dennis Sanders wrote a post yesterday, "Why I Hate Columbus Day (It’s Not for the Reason You Think)." He writes,
Tomorrow, when I look at my Facebook or Twitter feed, I will see a number of posts maligning the day and the man. Now I get why Columbus Day has become troublesome. Columbus wasn't a nice man at all. I'm even up for changing the focus of the day. What I am not for is the amount of self-righteous preening on social media where everyone is falling over themselves to share their "outrage" against Columbus and all that happened in his wake. It amounts to nothing and changes nothing.
If people are really concerned about this, if they want to change Columbus Day to something more fitting, then maybe people should look back to the Martin Luther King holiday. In the 30 years since it became an official holiday, communities across the country take part in events that both teach and celebrate the life of Dr. King. If people want to create an alternative holiday, then start spending time teaching communities about Native Americans. Have Native American speaks talk about their customs and traditions. Make Indigenous Peoples Day or whatever the hell you call it something that educates people.
So, sure work for an alternative. But do something more than tear down a historical figure. Teach people. Help those indigenous peoples who are still dealing with the after affects of Columbus and everything after. But do me a favor: if you don't plan on doing anything else but going on Facebook, stop thinking like you are some kind of angel for "speaking out." It's lazy and self righteous and won't make a dime's worth of difference.
What say you? Should we observe Columbus Day? Why or why not?
Dennis' entire post can be read here.