Christopher Columbus is not my hero.

Joseph W. Leonard
Oxford, OH

Submitted on Monday, October 14, 2013…a national holiday in the USA.
I’m an enrolled citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

5 Responses to "Christopher Columbus is not my hero."
  1. White Light says:

    Why does it take so long before these submissions appear?

  2. White Light says:

    Columbus day is important to White Americans because that is our heritage. Without Christopher Columbus, the White American nation would not be here. Telling us not to celebrate Columbus is like telling Jews not to celebrate King David! I understand why you wouldn’t see him as a hero, you have a different heritage, I just want to explain why White Americans want to celebrate him. If our government has a holiday for MLK, we should have a holiday for Columbus.

  3. lynda says:

    You should do a little more research. Many Italians do not self-identify as white. Indeed, at one time in this country, Italians had to legally petition the government to be called white; the ability was taken away and then reinstated. Many modern Italian Americans do not consider themselves anything but Italian-Americans.

    • lavendula says:

      I’m Italian American and I’m not white. My skin is brown. I’m also a student of Italian migration, and I don’t recall any time that Italian Americans needed to petition the government to “be called white,” despite all the very real discrimination to which they were victim. Are you perhaps confusing the 1924 immigration quota, which from that time to its repeal in 1965 severely restricted the number of Italians who were not deemed to be white enough, racially and most certainly culturally. So, yes, there is a lot of history to be learned here. It’s complex. And eye-opening.

      However, what does Columbus REALLY have to do with Italian Americans? And why should someone saying that Columbus is not his hero draw this comment from you?

      Here’s where you need to do a little research. The reality is that Columbus was used, as a symbol, by some Italian immigrants in the 1900 era (usually ones who had gained some middle class standing) as a way of combating prejudice against them. At that point, Columbus was an Anglo Saxon hero, a Protestant hero. So, these Italians basically took Columbus and threw him in the Anglo’s face, saying, wait a minute, you call us dagoes, guineas, etc. and you hate us, but one of us is your biggest of heroes. This was nothing new… Irish did the same thing with the “Knights of Columbus,” using Columbus as a Catholic figure against Protestant American racists.

      So, Columbus as a “wedge,” yes, but as a hero, absolutely not. Think about it… Columbus sailed under the Spanish crown at a time when Italy didn’t exist, and most of southern Italy (where 80% of Italian immigrants came from, most of whom were dirt poor peasants) was under the heavy, often brutal hand Spanish rule… so, in a word, Italian Americans share far more in common with the indigenous people of America than initially meets the eye.

  4. [insert clever pun here] says:

    i really don’t care about Columbus day either people found america way before he did i would imagine its pretty hard to miss a giant continent

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