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Should Columbus Day Be Removed? Essay

658 words - 3 pages

“More than a year after his arrival in 1492, Columbus returned to the Americas with 17 ships and 1,200 men, enslaving the natives in search of gold. With his expedition also came disease, decimating the population. By 1555, some claim that two million natives on the island of Hispaniola were nearly reduced to extinction. And for this cruelty, America awards Columbus
with a holiday” (Kan). In the previous quote one can clearly see that the arrival of Columbus to the Americas has severely negative connotations for a major portion of the population. And as such it should not be allowed to be a celebrated holiday as it would be more than a little inconsiderate. Even though the holiday represents the age of exploration where new cultures met for the first time after Columbus crossed the great Atlantic Sea the meeting in itself was not very peaceful. Also Columbus’s discovery of the New World shaped much of what is now considered ...view middle of the document...

This system forced Native Americans to work for Spanish landlords. The landlords were given the right to this labor by the Spanish government. Many landlords abused the natives and worked many laborers to death, especially in dangerous mines (Beck 557). With such atrocious acts akin to the holocaust it is not surprising that there are groups such as the "Pittsburghers for Italian Pride without Genocide" who carry sign saying that "To honor Columbus is to honor genocide." (Lyons)

Yet even with such evidence against Columbus there are some who say that the holiday is to be celebrated because of how it connected the people of different continents, and started the age of exploration. Matt Stehney president of the National American Student Association says “There are people who say he didn’t kill anyone. But there are journal entries of him of how he let his men rape the women and how they would have contests on who could cut an Indian in half,” in fact Columbus has even written in his diary that with 50 men he could “govern them [the natives] as [he] pleased” (Kan). Another enduring argument for Columbus Day is that of how special it is to Italian-Americans, as the holiday is an Italian contribution to the United States (Columbus was an Italian explorer). However to celebrate a day that has such a horrendous reputation is uncouth. A compromise that is possible is that a day could be established known as “Culture Day” or similar. On that day people would celebrate the different culture and people they can interact with, thus promoting equality. The Italian-Americans could hold on to this day to celebrate their own heritage as well since it was a day that evolved from Columbus Day, and it would encourage them to celebrate their own culture.

In short, the deplorable acts of Columbus should not be celebrated in the same as any massacre should not be celebrated. And that the day should be removed from the calendar as soon as possible. Or if a compromise is possible it may be better to evolve the holiday into a national “Culture Day” this would promote peace on a holiday that used to incite violence from the members of the population whose ancestors were hurt or killed due to Columbus.

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