October 10, 2022

Stoking the Flames of Racism Day

Another Columbus Day is marked with efforts to revise history in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Cleveland Indians are now the Guardians. The Washington Redskins are now the Commanders. Dozens of other sports teams, including the Atlanta Braves while being hosted at the White House, are under pressure to change their names or mascots. Land O’ Lakes butter no longer features a Native American woman in its logo. Mutual of Omaha likewise changed its logo to remove a Native American. Guilty white people are keeping the stuff and kicking out the Indians.

The opposite has happened in 10 states and more than 100 cities, where Columbus Day is now Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Cities are tearing down statues of Columbus and schools are using the occasion to lecture on “equity.” Joe Biden is the first president to, now for the second time, issue a proclamation for the changed holiday.

Again, guilty white people insist that we shouldn’t celebrate an invasion of the white Europeans who enslaved or killed — either by weapon or disease — so many native people once arriving in the New World. Instead, they’re peddling the same anti-Columbus, anti-Catholic, and anti-Italian message as the 19th century KKK, while they want us to celebrate the indigenous pagans who were already enslaving or committing genocide against each other.

Go ahead. Try to make sense of that.

“For centuries,” Biden said in his proclamation, “Indigenous Peoples were forcibly removed from ancestral lands, displaced, assimilated, and banned from worshiping or performing many sacred ceremonies.” He left out the part about how indigenous people did that to each other, too.

Sure, the history of Columbus and other Europeans is pretty checkered. Columbus set out to find gold, in large part to fund Christian evangelism and the reconquest of Jerusalem. On a voyage to what he thought would be India, he instead landed in the Bahamas. The known world suddenly became much larger, and the Western value of courageous exploration took root. On the other hand, Columbus’s men and subsequent explorers also committed atrocities and brought disease. Obviously, his discovery wasn’t an unmarred good — little in history ever is because it’s full of the actions of imperfect people.

Yet the hip new thing is to spread the myth that we live in a “stolen country.” We’re supposed to believe that only the Europeans stole the land, not the natives who had been taking it from each other for centuries prior.

It’s in vogue to tear down statues of Columbus or to wrap them in plastic until a decision can be made on what to do with them. But at least Biden didn’t forget Columbus. In a separate proclamation for Columbus Day, Biden said, “His voyage inspired many others to follow and ultimately contributed to the founding of America, which has been a beacon for immigrants across the world.” This time, the part he left out is that his open border has caused a crisis that is plaguing the current indigenous American population.

A far better presidential model was Ronald Reagan, who once said: “Columbus is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.” Patriots should help the next generation of Americans learn that history.

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