While reading the chapter by Howard Zinn about the realities of Christopher Columbus and the “discovery” of America, I was obviously shocked and disgusted to learn how untrue everything I had been taught was. I was aware of the controversies regarding the celebration of Colombus Day and had a basic understanding of why we should not celebrate a colonizer who killed thousands of Native Americans out of greed, but I had no idea how truly bad the reality of the situation actually was. It made me feel such pain for the Native American/Indigenous community, and gave me new respect on perspective on the celebration of Columbus Day in America.
Thinking about this, I remembered a time in my own life where I have received backlash from speaking against the harms of celebrating Columbus Day. Over the summer I was discussing the (albiet limited) information I had on why society was slowly turning to see the wrongs of celebrating, and my family with whom I was discussing it with had an unexpectedly passionate response. They told me that I shouldn’t believe everything I see on the Internet, and that I needed to stop rewriting history to make everything an issue of injustice and make everything seem so negative and bad. I was shocked by my family’s unwillingness to accept a story of history that wasn’t taught in the mainstream, and it truly made me realize how deeply the issues went. I was reminded of this moment while reading the chapter, realizing the disgust I felt and understanding how hard it can be to change the narrative we have always been taught. Despite the challenging nature of reading something so tragic, I think it is more important now than ever that we start teaching history not to cater towards any particular audience or serve any particular lesson or meaning other than teaching the facts, because we can see now how painting hisory in different lights can cause people harm even hundreds of years later.