Monday, October 08, 2012

Bougie remix: Columbus Day, really?

from the archives... my 2009 thoughts on Columbus Day:

As Americans, we love us a holiday. My oh my, an excuse to turn a weekend into a three or four day break from the paycheck plantation? Sign us up. I remember as a child asking if I could celebrate Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah out of respect for my Jewish friends. BougieMom said if I wrote a five page essay describing their origin and how they were celebrated, then sure. I went to school.

In Texas, we have a number of bullshiggity holidays that continue to raise an eyebrow: San Jacinto Day for one, Confederate Heroes Day for another. Yes, Confederate Heroes Day (celebrating Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee – look it up, I can't MAKE this stuff up) which falls on near January 19th of every year. The catch? For years in Texas, you could choose to take either Confederate Heroes Days or Martin Luther King Day… guess how the office diversity looked on each of those days? Nationwide, there are some holidays that have outlived their usefulness and become a reason for a parade and creative cocktails (think St. Patrick's Day). No, I'm not including Juneteenth (now known as Emancipation Day) as a bogus holiday, ya'll need to get with that… seriously. No better excuse for a BBQ and a radical fist pump in the world.

But of all the holidays that need to be stricken from the books, I have to vote for Columbus Day. Haven't we proven that old Chris didn't really discover anything? I mean, how can you discover something that already exists? Didn't he basically jack some folks, plant a flag and declare it all brand new? Suppose I roll up in your living room and discover your 52" plasma, if I stick a flag in it and kill some brown people, is it mine? I'm just wondering. I know the Italian-American community has embraced this holiday as a cause célèbre, but what is really being celebrated? From the Wall Street Journal:
Much controversy exists over Columbus' expeditions and whether or not one can "discover" an already-inhabited land. The natives of the Bahamas and other islands on his journey were peaceful and friendly. Yet many of them were later enslaved by the Spanish. Also, it is known that the Vikings explored the North American coast 500 years before Columbus. [sic] But 22 states don't give their employees the day off, according to the Council of State Governments.
And in other places, Columbus Day is under attack. "We're going after state governments to drop this holiday for whatever reason they come up with," said Mike Graham, founder of United Native America, a group fighting for a federal holiday honoring Native Americans.
His group's agenda: Rename Columbus Day "Italian Heritage Day" and put it somewhere else on the calendar, then claim the second Monday in October as "Native American Day." South Dakota already calls it that.
Other organizations want to rename the day "Indigenous Peoples' Day," as several California cities, including Berkeley, have done.
Columbus's defenders aren't prepared to watch their hero's holiday sail off the edge of the earth. They say he should be celebrated for risking his life to explore the world and for forging modern ties between Europe and the Americas.
His supporters acknowledge Columbus took slaves back to Spain and opened the door to conquistadors who killed Native Americans. But much of the criticism is built on "judging a 16th century man by 21st century standards," says Dona De Sanctis of the Order Sons of Italy in America, a group of half a million Italian-Americans that tries to defend Columbus' legacy.
At Brown University, the rename-the-holiday activists "stressed this was against Columbus, but not Italian-Americans," says Reiko Koyama, a junior who led the effort to persuade the school to change the name to "Fall Weekend." Brown happens to be in Rhode Island, a state with the largest proportion of Italian-Americans in the U.S.
Lookie here: Pookie, Ray-Ray and 'dem "discover" new stuff on the regular; four hundred years from now will we have a National Grand Hustle Day? Just sayin' – since we're all so worried about political correctness these days, it might be time to take a look and see which of these "national holidays" still make sense. Any thoughts on Chris C.'s holiday? Any other holidays need the side-eye?

8 comments:

EvolvingElle said...

I just had this discussion with my friends last night.  And I'm sitting at work, so no rest for the weary...

taut_7 said...

never have and never will be a fan of columbus day. i'm not mad about being a work today one bit. 

Sol_dier said...

judging a 16th century man by 21st century standards.... 
My thoughts? OK lets judge him by 16th century standards then.

In 16th century dramatic fashion: Columbus the 'Terrifier' - His death ship marched on native lands spewing death, destruction and plague upon them. his delicate hands swell with the blood of ten thousand men & women slain under guise of adventure. 
He walks amongst the slain, strutting leaving a most terrible stench of death in the air and disease on his breath. Sword dripping with blood, wading though the mangled bodies of our daughters & sons he howls his devilish screed: 'I call this land the Americas'

On the morrow, they return baying for more blood. 

thinklikeRiley said...

I'm all for Grand Hustle Day - can we get that on the ballot somewhere?

Chlos said...

What about Thanksgiving? 

mojitochica said...

I refer to Thanksgiving as Native American Theft Day Part 2 with today being Native American Theft Day Part 1.

CaliGirlED said...

Confederate Heroes Day? Really??? Always learning in BougieLand! 

invectiva said...

 We call that Turkey Day at my house, and while we do like to remember to be thankful, it's not because some of my friends' ancestors were successfully killing the locals for their land.

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