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Notes on Columbus Day

I don’t have the day off, which makes me a grumpy librarian, but there’s nothing to be done about it, so.

It’s Columbus Day! Which is a horrible thing that we should not really celebrate. A couple other options are Indigenous People’s Day, or Italian American Heritage Day.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock since grade school history, I’ll let some other folks tall you why Columbus Day is a garbage nightmare. If you want the long version, read the first chapter of Zinn’s People’s history. (Sidenote — I love History is a Weapon, and you should, too. They’re a fantastic resource that I’ve written about before.) If you can only take the short version today, here’s a run down by The Oatmeal.

[Note: I don’t endorse reading the Oatmeal generally speaking, as sometimes it’s full of icky bullshit. Also, the conclusion at the bottom, that we should make this thing about the history of the indigenous peoples of what we now call the Americas about some other European dude who was less terrible, not great. The focus of this history should stay on the indigenous peoples. But the history lesson is accessible, which means that there’s value in this thing from the Oatmeal.]

About oneofthelibrarians

Respectable mid-career librarian by day, dirty street librarian by night & other days.

3 comments on “Notes on Columbus Day

  1. David
    October 14, 2013

    How about History is Complicated Day … or Some Dude Sailed West Day?

    I do understand the Zinn perspective, but I also think that Columbus did to a big thing, even though it wasn’t the saint-like version we were once taught in school. He probably doesn’t deserve a single holiday, but I’m comfortable featuring the full story of a man whose trips marked a notable change in the course of history, good for some, bad for many more.

  2. T E Stazyk
    October 14, 2013

    An eye opener! Instead of America we should be saying that Columbus discovered globalisation!

    • oneofthelibrarians
      October 14, 2013

      He didn’t discover globalization either; Europeans were making the trip ’round Africa & the overland through Asia before Columbus headed west, all in the name of economics.

      (And those from parts of Asia were going to other parts of Asia & to Europe, as well. And Icelandic younger sons were as far afield as the near east (near what? east compared to what?) centuries before Columbus; and other Icelanders were, as noted, making landfall in North America at the same time.)

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This entry was posted on October 14, 2013 by in Culture, History and tagged , , , , .

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