Should we celebrate Columbus Day?
Columbus Day is a National holiday that celebrates the anniversary of the day Christopher Columbus supposedly “found” America. But what does it really represent, and should we even celebrate it? I do not think Columbus Day should be a holiday. The history behind it is shameful and should be seen as a terrible event rather than a celebratory one. Instead, it should be replaced with something that honors the indigenous people that suffered, or be abolished altogether.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail to find gold across the ocean, but stumbled upon “new” land, where an estimated 50 million indigenous people already lived for more than 20,000 years. Although he did not find much gold, in what is now known as the Dominican Republic and Haiti, he had found something of greater use to him: the inhabitants of this land. He used the people as slaves, justifying the raping, stealing, killing, and torture that went along with it. Unfortunately, society whitewashed the truth and Christopher Columbus is seen as a hero who gave us our new world, when in reality he was a slave owner who does not deserved to be honored.
Because there are many opinions regarding Columbus Day, I decided to interview my peers. Junior Julia Chapman thinks celebrating someone who caused genocide is wrong. Junior Sarah Saadeh agrees, stating “It’s disrespectful to celebrate Columbus Day, especially to the Native Americans still around. You don’t celebrate on Holocaust Remembrance Day…You should be mourning on Columbus Day as well.” However, Junior Parth Datar and Brooke Fogarty agree with the holiday, as it is apart of American history. Fogarty explained, “He was brave enough to go find a new world, and without him we wouldn’t have America.”