Originally published October 8, 2018
Imagine finding yourself in a new place for vacation. Like, on some Eat, Pray, and Love bender on a small, not oft-talked about island. And after days of trying new food, clothes, and whatever else, you decide that you’re suddenly going to go on Instagram or Twitter and publicly declare to everyone that you “discovered,” this new island, you’re gonna name it something completely corny, and you’re claiming it in the name of your country, because why the hell not?
Oh, and don’t forget that you had completely intended on vacationing somewhere else to begin with, but since you’re wack, you totally got lost and just pretended this was the place you had always intended to be at. I imagine the looks you’d get from the locals would be bewildering, followed by your share of “Boy, if you don’t get outta heres.”
Of course, if you get how weird and asinine this is, you can imagine how the Indigenous people of 1492 felt when a pale man showed up at the shores declaring that he had just discovered them.
Which is precisely why Christopher Columbus Day is wack.
I get mad whenever white people pretend to discover new things like “glass hair” (the silk press) and “mini buns” (bantu knots/twists) whenever New York Fashion week hits the city, fashion’s metaphorical equivalent of Swiper The Fox comes around. I can only imagine how I’d react if someone was claiming to have just discovered my block or my home.
But that’s what this fraud Columbus did. Which is extended through this wack holiday—which I have always regarded as an uniquely American scam. The American education system has literally swindled most of us into celebrating a schlubby dude who didn’t even stop for directions on his way to the “New World”, got lost, and just randomly stuck his flag in the first piece of land he got to.
Homie could have been discovering his neighbors’ house and people would still be like “oh how brave!”
Which is to say this:
Columbus Day is trash, but it is in line with America’s tradition of celebrating mediocrity.
I mean celebrating someone who is directionally-challenged sounds absurd, but I also put it on par with celebrating something like, say, the rapists and slaveholders who founded this country. What do y’all call them? The Founding Fathers?
Yeah, those people.
It’s representative of America’s tendency to tell one-sided stories across time that favor white men and white men only and assign them virtues and morals that they don’t even possess in their big toe, talk less in their DNA.
Which is no wonder why we have people like the Trump in the White House or people like Brett Kavanaugh getting confirmed to the Supreme Court. The bar is extremely low. And this holiday has been a living and breathing example of this since it was turned into an official holiday in 1937.
So. Where do we go from here?
Great question. A less serious but totally humorous way to “fix it” would be to essentially find another Christopher to celebrate if people are really married to this Christopher thing. Usually, the go-to pick is Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls) because of his prolific contributions to hip hop (people usually ignore the part where he allegedly beat Lil Kim’ but, I digress). I mean, if you want to put this man on unauthorized T-Shirts and other merchandise, it’s the least you can do, right?
We could also try Chris(topher) Rock? I mean, I’m inclined to vote in his favor based off of his comedic contributions through Everybody Hates Chris alone and the fact that he gave us Terry Crews and placed Tichina Arnold (previously Pam on Martin) back in the spotlight as she deserved.
Or…or…we can replace ColumBUST with Christopher Reeves. I mean, dude played Superman for over a decade.
You know who white people love? Despite the fact that he too is an immigrant who totally came to America [from space] and grew up here “illegally”?
I mean. It would fit with America’s whole contradictive thing with holidays, that’s for sure.
That said, however, on a more serious note, I imagine that “fixing” the holiday should ultimately be up to Indigenous and First Nations people to decide. My first thought would be to give them their land back (duh), but since America likes to do this thing were she issues toothless apologies with absolutely no restorative weight (y’all remember that apology for slavery that came sans-any form of reparations whatsoever?), merely renaming the holiday has been the majority of the “restorative” discussion.
And even then, you have some people still pushing back because the thought of de-celebrating asininity and decentralizing white mediocrity (and terrorism, to be very honest) is more painful to them than acknowledging that a completely xenophobic and racist man was responsible for launching a genocide that would have lasting consequences for centuries.
Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day though.