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Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Columbus Day, Holidays | 4 comments

Columbus Day Needs to Evolve

Today is Columbus Day. It is the day we celebrate Christopher Columbus for discovering a land that already had people on it and was already discovered by Europeans in Scandinavia already. The fact is that Columbus Day isn’t a very popular holiday these days and for good reason.

Sure, Columbus was a horrible person even by the standards of his own day, but if he really did do something great then that would be worth celebrating. Of course, he didn’t do the great thing that he is being celebrated for doing as I pointed out earlier. The Native Americans discovered America when they crossed over the land bridge which is now the Bering Strait and Leif Erikson was the first European to “discover” America.

As it turns out, Columbus Day was sort of a public relations move by Catholics. Now don’t get me wrong here, there are both good aspects of this and bad. There was a lot of anti-immigration hate toward Irish and others who were predominantly Catholic. Since Columbus was also Catholic, the idea was to celebrate him as an ideal of patriotism thereby linking Catholics to America.

There has always been Americans who for whatever reason have been anti-immigrant. So I don’t have a problem with the discriminated group trying to find a way to gain acceptance. But it seems to me that Columbus Day only solved that problem for Irish Catholics and not for any other immigrant group.

That’s the down side of the PR campaign; Ireland is no longer dominated by the Catholic religion and the Irish are no longer the immigrant group being discriminated against. So today there really is no reason to continue celebrating Columbus Day.

Instead, we should celebrate Immigrant Appreciation Day. That is the day that we recognize that we are a nation of immigrants and that is the diversity of the various immigrant cultures in America which has made this nation such a vibrant society.

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  • http://www.skepticink.com/incongruentelements/ Beth Erickson

    Great idea. I’ve also heard it suggested we should change the name to “Exploration Day.”

    http://explorationday.psu.edu/

    Beth :)

  • http://www.skepticink.com/incongruentelements/ Beth Erickson
  • http://twitter.com/Iamcuriousblue Iamcuriousblue

    “Instead, we should celebrate Immigrant Appreciation Day.”

    I wonder if that wouldn’t be at cross purposes with those who are already celebrating Oct 8 as Indigenous Peoples Day.

  • Greisha

    Could you expand on why Columbus was a terrible person, please?