When I was a child, we were taught to celebrate Columbus Day in honor of Christopher Columbus, the expert Italian Mariner who we were taught “sailed the ocean blue” in 1492 where he “discovered” the “New World.”
My intellectual innocence matured rapidly by middle school, when I guess my parents and teachers felt that I and my classmates were old enough to learn that Columbus was a failure; that the skilled mariner was actually searching for a route to Asia but by dumb luck landed in the previously inhabited Bahamas; that his primary goal was gold and other pecuniary riches that he would claim for the Spanish monarchy—for a 10 percent fee and hereditary titles; that he was one of the reasons that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade would soon flourish and find tens of millions of Africans transported to the America’s as chattel.
Lest we forget, Columbus was also perhaps the first European to recognize that the indigenous inhabitants of their “new world” were friendly, “docile” as he called it, and ripe for a level of subjugation, murder and the pilfering of their lands that would later become white washed through the concept of Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny, you may recall, was used by “Christian” Europeans to justify creating a New Europe on the bones and by the blood spilled of “savage” Natives and Africans. Columbus’ words about the Arawak’s that he encountered in the Bahamas damn him greatly and in my historical mind, relegate him to the Hall of Shame: “They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane. They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Cognizant of these truths, I remain at a loss that we still have a federal holiday in Columbus’ honor. It seems that only in America can a genocidal businessman be so honored in 46 of the 50 states. But then again, considering that cash still rules everything around me and us, I am not surprised that most will shrug their shoulders about these truths either out of ignorance or indifference and go on wishing Columbus Day felicitations to friends and co-workers. Unless you want a blank stare or your feelings hurt, miss me with that BS today.
But as I have for years, I publicly denounce Columbus and any person(s) who maintains reverent reminisces of the man and his genocidal legacy.
Written By: Chuck Hobbs, Esq.