Saturday, October 10, 2009

Time to Cancel Columbus Day

Time to Cancel Columbus Day

Paul Scott

"Information we get today is just wack. But ask yourself, why is that?"
Hip Hop artist KRS One

As a child, I don't know what I learned first, the lyrics to the Jackson Five's hit "ABC" or that little ditty about Columbus sailing "the ocean blue in fourteen-hundred and ninety-two." Anyway, the latter had a much greater role in shaping my world view and that of many others.

October 12, is Columbus Day; a time that is traditionally set aside to honor the "founder of western civilization," Christopher Columbus.

However, to some of us it is the glorification of one of the greatest lies ever told in the history of mankind. For the drones who will be partying on C-Day, I bet not one of them will ask the basic, fundamental question "How can someone discover a new world when there were real live breathing human beings already there?"

But, in America, not only do folks celebrate such outlandish myths, they create holidays around them.

I never understood the proper way to celebrate Columbus Day, anyway. What do you do, go out and "discover" the UPS package left on your neighbor's doorstep?

What many people recognize as Columbus's great "discovery" merely marks the beginning of European western imperialism.

According to James Loewen in his controversial book "Lies My Teacher Told Me," the coming of Columbus should be remembered for two things; "the taking of land, wealth and labor from the indigenous people, leading to their extermination" and "the transatlantic slave trade."

If you don't believe me, the next time you run into a Caribbean Arawak...

Oh, that's right you can't because, thanks to good ol' Chris, they don't exist, anymore.

Also, it must be noted that, according to researchers such as the late Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, author of "They Came Before Columbus," African people (among others) visited the West long before the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria dropped their anchors in the Caribbean.

So, the real purpose of Columbus Day is to reinforce the idea of European global Manifest Destiny, "the white man's burden" or whatever excuse used to justify the subjugation of the non-European people of the planet.

What is most disturbing is the fact that falsehoods such as the Columbus myth still form the cornerstone of the United States educational system.

This is especially sad during a time when a nonwhite person is leader of the free world.

I don't care how many education initiatives that President Obama launches, unless the citizens of this country challenge traditional western thought, they aren't worth a hill of beans.

How can we encourage our children to value education when we allow myths to go, unchallenged ? How can we ask our youth to think for themselves and not succumb to the evils of peer pressure if we,as adults, don't have the guts to smash the idols of our collective intellectual oppression ?

We tell our young people not to believe the images that they see on BET and the lyrics they hear on Hip Hop radio stations but at the same time we tell them it's okay to believe in historical fairy tales.

It is time that we finally have the courage to stand up and say that we will no longer allow lies parading as truth to poison the minds of our children. In order to do this we must not only tell the truth about Columbus Day but all the other myths that plague us.

Collectively, we must push for a society where truth trumps educational dogmatism.

Over the last year this country has changed politically. Now it is time for us to change mentally.

Paul Scott is a self-syndicated columnist and author of the blog, No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or