We Shouldn’t Ever Celebrate Christopher Columbus
Mark Antonio Wright speaks of two narratives concerning Columbus. I choose the second narrative that Wright mentions striking the last line.
Christopher Columbus, a dead white male of the worst variety, was a slaver, a capitalist, and a murderer of millions who embarked on a voyage motivated only by greed, which brought European imperialism to the shores of the “New World” and laid waste the ancient indigenous peoples there. Columbus deserves little credit (Leif Erikson had “discovered” the “new” continent 500 years earlier) and much blame for the horrors of the Columbian Exchange — the vast transfer of people, animals, and plants between the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. In his wake, the “New World” suffered smallpox, starvation, the cruel subjugation of the indigenous peoples, and the establishment of
that most dastardly spawn of the West:America.
What I learned (and probably you did too) about Columbus when I was in school was most certainly incorrect. If you are pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-family-values but love Christopher Columbus, you are defending a man who encouraged his men to indiscriminately rape indigenous girls as young as 9 or 10. A man who enslaved the local indigenous people and chopped off their hands if they didn’t meet their monthly gold quota. He had his men chop off the legs of indigenous children who tried to run away to “test the sharpness of their blades”. Finally, Columbus and his crew hunted Indians for sport and used their bodies as dog food. In fact, when Queen Isabella (who commissioned the trip along with King Ferdinand) heard about it, they fired him and had him arrested.
Christopher Columbus didn’t really discover America as much as he made it possible and popular. Most at the time knew the world was round. The Vikings landed here before, and the Basques had been fishing its waters for some time before 1492. We’ve progressed to a point where developed societies acknowledge that a lot of what happened in the past was awful. Columbus and the so called founding of America is one such event, and I’m glad it’s being addressed and debated.