Columbus' Legacy of Mindless Cruelty and Ignorance Lives On
Although UNH neatly dodges the issue by calling the holiday "Fall Break," the rest of the nation celebrates Columbus Day with no small enthusiasm. The holiday has been celebrated on various dates throughout the world, but here it will be observed on Monday.
In one second-grade classroom in Springfield, Penn., for example, Judith Bloomfield teaches one of her favorite lessons, the story of Columbus' discovery of the New World.
"Did you know Columbus is personally responsible for the oppression and misery of thousands of natives of the Caribbean?" asked the teacher. The students, all energetic young children roughly seven or eight years old, ooh and ahh in amazement. The class was similarly impressed and delighted to learn that, in addition to "Sailing the Ocean Blue" in 1492, Columbus also "Murdered By the Score" in Fourteen-Hundred Ninety-Four.
"I want to be an explorer when I grow up! Maybe there are Martians I could put into forced-labor settlements and cow with my superior technology and ruthlessness?" one student said while discussing Columbus' many merits. They made small construction-paper Taino natives and then the teacher taught them how the enterprising Columbus ordered their hands cut off if they failed to produce a certain quantity of gold on a regular basis. Giggles and laughter ensued as the students cut off the paper hands of their figures and colored the stumps with red markers. "I'm using a white crayon to draw the bone sticking out!" one innovative student said triumphantly. "I want to start a forced-labor farm someday!" said another.
In a less-American sector of the U.S., Berkeley, Calif., Columbus Day has been renamed to the unpatriotic Indigenous People's Day. These subversives, heedless of the long American tradition of honoring the explorers who committed the first pioneering acts of genocide in the New World, have been heavily criticized for their revisionism. They claim, highly erroneously, that Columbus never realized he had reached the New World.
(Just a bit of student satire, of course -- I hope so, anyway)
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