You've had a good, long run, Christopher Columbus, but I think it's time to revoke your holiday.
I think it's telling that on this Columbus Day, October 11, Google's home page looked just like Google's home page usually does. The search engine site so known for changing up its logo artistically to mark certain special dates and events doesn't have ship graphics showing the Santa María, the Pinta, and the Niña sailing through a watery version of "Google" or anything like that.
I've seen an increasing reluctance by many, even white people, these days to see Columbus Day as a worthy holiday. Sure, part of that is the fact many companies don't give people that day off anymore because they've been cutting back on holidays in general, but many people don't see the point in celebrating a guy who accidentally discovered this continent when he was looking for a shortcut to Asia.
In addition to this, though, an increasing awareness had come to the forefront of people's minds that perhaps celebrating a man who helped usher in centuries of displacement and destruction of indigenous populations isn't the sort of guy you really want to lift up and honor.
I mean, it's nothing new that Native Americans don't like the holiday, and have protested it for years, leading some communities and states to adopt the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day or Native American Day instead. I can't blame them, either. I mean, they were here first, and it was folks like those who funded Columbus's journey who decided that they were a culture that was in the way and needed to be subjugated.
We don't really want to celebrate the hubris of people who said, "Well, we didn't know this place existed. And now that we've found it, it must be ours, because certainly these lowly savages here don't deserve it. And besides, they don't have guns yet. Yay!"
Blacks, too, tend to give dubious looks in the direction of good ol' Chris C. and his special day, since the imperialist expansion of nations like Spain, France, and Britain into the so-called "New World" was a prelude to them being kidnapped from their own continent and dragged to a new one for the exciting new life of centuries of slavery followed by decades of discrimination that still haven't really ever ended — only become blunted.
I guess what really confuses me about the continued existence of Columbus Day is that it celebrates an event more than 500 years old marking the discovery of a coastline that Europeans hadn't previously known was there. I'd be less confused if we celebrated Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci, since the Americas seem to have derived their name from his.
But even that I wouldn't get. On Independence Day, I sometimes feel mixed emotions. I love what the United States stands for philosophically and symbolically, but am often saddened by how far it falls from those lofty ideals and mourn for the many lost years of people denied the American Dream because they weren't pale enough to deserve it. But I understand why we celebrate that day on July 4, because it was the founding of our nation.