Skip to content

Christina Glynn’s blog post for 8/30

After reading the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A Peoples of the United States, I am in disgust with Christopher Columbus, someone who I thought was so great. The American education system has taught children only one of the many perspectives of the story of Christopher Columbus. From historians to textbook writers to teachers there’s not one person to blame for the romanticizing of Columbus’ story. Columbus day is known as a celebration and most children only know Columbus as some hero who “discovered” America. Personally, as a child, I would always look forward to Columbus Day; It was a day off of school. I think the leaders of our country, teachers, historians, and as well as textbook writers need to expand on the idea that Christopher Columbus raped, killed, abused, and burned innocent people. Although I understand that it is easier “to emphasize the heroism of Columbus…and to deemphasize their genocide,” I feel that it is very wrong to avoid the truth of this man who we have been celebrating for centuries.

 

Christopher Columbus’ story is just one of the many stories in American history that are romanticized. Well to be exact, there aren’t any stories we are taught regarding the discovery of America that don’t involve Europeans taking over indigenous land. Zinn wrote that John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, took over the Indian land because he thought they had a “‘natural’ right to it … a ‘natural right’ did not have legal standing.” This shows that the “discoverers” and “heroes” of America came to the land thinking that they owned every part of it with little to no respect or regard for the indigenous people who had been occupying the land for centuries. In addition to the Puritans, who were a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Pilgrims’ story of Thanksgiving is celebrated annually throughout the whole country. The romanticized story of Thanksgiving gives off the image that the Pilgrims did this great thing of hosting a huge feast with the indigenous people. The problem is it is often forgotten that the Pilgrims invaded the Indian’s land, crop fields, and animals. This shows that the leaders, historians, and textbook writers of our country are quite ashamed of some aspects of America’s history and the coming of our country.

 

Published inUncategorized

5 Comments

  1. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    I could not agree more with your first statement. I am very disappointed in the false teachings from my school, and it makes me wonder what other information is portrayed in the wrong perspective. I also love the connection you make here to thanksgiving. This makes me wonder if at some point the reputation of the thanksgiving holiday could be stained if this information becomes more widespread.

  2. Sara Moushegian Sara Moushegian

    I am also so disappointed in America’s school system for silencing the terrible things America has done in our past. Creating holidays for these moments in our history truly allows the people in power to silence the harsh realities even more. It is hard to criticize a man who has his own holiday. I am thankful society has become more woke in our mistakes as a country, but am curious why it took so long.

  3. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    I appreciate how you included your own impressions of Columbus and experiences of Columbus Day from when you were young. Many people throughout the generations have had similar experiences, and knowing how falsified the things we learned are is sad, to be completely honest. You learn about Christopher Columbus and the story of Thanksgiving as a small child in grade school. The stories become legends to a kid, right up there with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But the reality of these myths is much, much worse.

  4. Henry Groves Henry Groves

    I like how you pointed out how teaching about the heroism of Columbus is easier than teaching kids about the brutality that he brought to many people. I agree with your statement that the creating of a holiday around this man is unfitting. Just because we teach our youth about the “good” that Columbus did does not mean us as a society need to worship him, and turn a blind eye to the horrible things that he did.

  5. Michael Stein Michael Stein

    I like your focus on the education children, including ourselves, have received about Columbus. While it is certainly easier to teach a narrative of heroism and adventure, that narrative clearly fails children by denying them education about abuse, murder, and genocide. Failing to teach our children the difficult truth can have detrimental effects on our future. Obviously, we have all been fortunate enough to attend college and become educated on the truth of Columbus’ story; however, many more Americans will not receive the same education. It is vital that we rethink the stories we tell our children in order to enable them to create a better society.

Leave a Reply

css.php