Celebrate Bartolome de las Casas, not Columbus

The following is from The Oatmeal some years back.

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Hat tip for the link to Mike the Mad Biologist.

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3 Responses to “Celebrate Bartolome de las Casas, not Columbus”

  1. djgarcia94 Says:

    Seattle actually passed a resolution to change Columbus day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Predictably several Italian interest groups complained about it, but I think celebrating a genocidal maniac who had nothing to do with the United States is a huge disservice to Italian Americans.


  2. williambearcat Says:

    I don’t have trouble with the Columbus’ discovering America. I “discovered” a great restaurant the other night. Did Columbus really commit genocide? Lots of people have encouraged hate encouraged genocide including the people who wrote the stories in the Bible. The land was not “given” to the Israelites but was taken by killing every human adult and child and all the animal. Yet many of us claim that “father” and praise him.

    Most countries have death on their hands. We are not uniquely bad.


    • philebersole Says:

      The issue, for me, is who we should celebrate as being worthy of admiration. I think the bar should be higher than not being uniquely evil.

      I don’t know of anyone, including the authors of the more bloodthirsty passages in the Bible, who could justly be called uniquely evil.

      I remember in school being taught about Christopher Columbus, the visionary who thought he could reach the East by sailing west, and how he pressed on despite the pleas of his fearful crew to turn back.

      It was an inspiring story, which I treasure, and it took me many years to accept the truth that Columbus was not only a visionary and a brave seaman, but a killer, torturer, slave hunter and racist imperialist.

      The problem with teaching admiration for Columbus, and for other historical figures not worthy of admiration, is that the myth can only be maintained by either discouraging people from critical thinking or exploration of the historical record, or finding justifications of the crimes of the past, which becomes a basis to justify crimes of the present and future.


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