“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
I still remember saying this, in unison with my classmates, in 2nd grade social studies. We were learning about how Christopher Columbus was a hero because he discovered America. I listened, wide-eyed and interested, at stories about how Columbus and his brave men fought the angry seas to discover what would one day become the land of the free and the home of— listen… I can’t even bring myself to type that shit… but you get the point.
Lemme tell the story the right way, though:
What really happened is that Columbus and his band of merry men got lost at sea. They happened upon the Americas and mistook one continent for a completely different one. Not only did Columbus have a bad sense of direction, he was an idiot. Just… not smart at all. And we have to assume that, as the Captain, he was one of the smarter men on the vessel. Already this voyage is about to be some bullshit.
They got here and found natives thriving. These people had villages and communities, languages, systems of government and agriculture, schools, and religion. They lived off the land, raised their families, and minded their business, and all was well for them before Columbus and his goof troop found them.
You’d think they would be respectful of what they found already well-established when they got here, right? I’m assuming his mother didn’t teach him to leave things better than she found them, which means she was an idiot, also. Poor dummy never had a chance. But let me continue.
The first day he encountered the natives (Oct. 12, 1492), this asshole wrote in his journal that the “savages” would make good servants. He took 6 of them back to Spain with him and paraded them through the streets as if their existence was somehow something he accomplished and deserved recognition for.
I think this was the beginning of white privilege. He stole shit that wasn’t his and demanded that people celebrate him for it.
One day, Columbus tried to humiliate the Taino into being subservient. When his attempts failed, and his little feeling were hurt, he responded by killing 1.1 million people… all because his ego was bruised. He extinguished an entire group of people for refusing to submit to him.
The story gets worse, as most horror stories starring white men do.
Columbus and the dummy crew enslaved thousands of natives and exported them to Europe as, in his words, “beasts of burden.” The ones who weren’t lucky enough to be sold were used for the sexual gratification of Columbus and his crew.
He would go on to spend the rest of his life promoting slavery. He and his soldiers killed and enslaved with impunity every time they arrived in a different place. They raped, tortured, and killed the natives, using 20 attack dogs and sneaking into villages at night, killing thousands of people at a time. Everything they wanted, they took. People, riches, land… Everything. And the people who were not captured or killed were so desperate to escape Spanish rule that they committed mass suicides and infanticide.
Despite what my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Britt, taught me, Columbus’s most significant contribution to history was not his sailing the ocean or discovering America. In fact, he didn’t discover anything at all.
Columbus took the first slaves from the Americas and sent them to countries in Europe. Eventually, people would expand on his blueprint.
What Columbus DID do was create the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which was four centuries of white people stealing brown people from where they live and thrive and forcing them to be beasts of burden… for no reason other than because some pale-skinned idiots made the decision that they were somehow superior than everyone else.
It is estimated that between 25 and 30 million people were deported from their homes and sold as slaves.
But this man has a national holiday in his honor?
And lemme do you one better:
Christopher Columbus was a liar. He rewrote history to reflect accomplishments that were not his to claim. He took credit for things he never did. He destroyed the lives of people who he deemed himself better than. He built his riches on the backs of brown people who thrived before he got to them. He sexually assaulted women. His decisions set actions in motion that would negatively impact lives for many generations. He was a white man consumed by white privilege that is honored as a hero by other white people for doing absolutely nothing except being a liar and an idiot and a rapist and a bigot and an all-around piece of shit.
Now… watch this.
Donald Trump is a liar. He rewrites history to reflect accomplishments that are not his to claim. He takes credit for things he never did. He destroys the lives of people who he deems himself better than. He’s building his legacy on the back of the black man (and far superior President) that served before him. He sexually assaulted women. His decisions set actions in motion that would negatively impact lives for many generations. He is a white man consumed by white privilege that is honored as a hero by other white people for doing absolutely nothing except being a liar and an idiot and a rapist and a bigot and an all-around piece of shit.
Columbus Day is some bullshit because it serves as a reminder that absolutely nothing has changed in this country. In 1937, Columbus Day was made a federal holiday because Americans felt this man should be honored. In 2016, Americans elected a man exactly like Christopher Columbus President of the United States.
Enjoy your day off, beloved. Kick it. Take them babies to daycare and flourish. But don’t fall for the bullshit. Christopher Columbus was no hero.
The only Christopher I acknowledge is Wallace…
…and if you don’t know, now you know.
Find this post and other posts like it on my blog, Alisa Explains it All.