There’s a much better name for the day, one that captures the true spirit of today’s America
October 11 was Indigenous Peoples Day. It used to be called Columbus Day before it became woke.
Unlike some of my fellow Italians, I don’t have heartburn over the demise of Columbus Day. However, the silly wokeness behind the name change does have me chewing Zantac tablets like they’re M&Ms.
Columbus Day never connected with me for two reasons.
First, Italy didn’t become a nation-state until 1861, or 369 years after Columbus landed in the Caribbean. Therefore, he couldn’t have been Italian. Actually, he was born in the Republic of Genoa, which is famous for Genoa salami. It is not known if he brought salami with him on his voyage.
Second, Columbus sailed on behalf of Spain, or more specifically, on behalf of Hispanics. Hispanics are the people who brought slaves to the present-day Americas before the English did, brought a lot more of them than the English (and Dutch) did and inflicted horrible cruelties on not only African slaves but indigenous peoples.
Hispanic cruelties have been conveniently forgotten during National Hispanic American Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Likewise, the horrible cruelties inflicted by indigenous peoples on other indigenous peoples have been conveniently forgotten in the naming of Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s as if the Aztecs, Comanche, Sioux, and scores of other indigenous peoples were humanists instead of butchers.
Not forgotten, however, are the cruelties inflicted by so-called white people on slaves and indigenous peoples.
That history should be told, and in fact is told in many of the history books in my personal library. To wit, I just finished a history of Cuba that details what American (and English and Spanish) imperialism and slave-trading had inflicted on the island. Now I’m reading a history of the failure of Reconstruction due to President Andrew Johnson’s racism, written from the perspective of the brilliant African American, Frederick Douglass.
On the other hand, it’s a corruption of history bordering on propaganda (agitprop?) for wokes to whitewash the evil deeds of “non-whites” but not whites, especially when the whitewashing is done for reasons of politics or racial pandering.
“Non-whites” is in quotes because some of the people considered non-white by wokes are actually very white, whiter than this swarthy Italian. Many Hispanics, for example, are as white as Elizabeth Warren or Mitt Romney, especially those who are descendants of the Spanish aristocracy and still hold positions of privilege and power in much of Latin America.
In a further misuse of language for political purposes, the hackneyed label of “person of color” is affixed willy-nilly to Hispanics and even Asians.
Does China President Xi look like a person of color? How about professional golfer Sergio Garcia?
Once the equal rights movement morphed into equal results and expanded beyond African Americans and Native Americans to ersatz races, it was doomed to degenerate into absurdities.
An example is the misuse of the word “minority” to describe all non-whites, including those with considerable wealth, privilege and political power, such as East Indians, who rank at the top in household income in the U.S. At the same time, all so-called whites are seen as privileged, as if the descendants of John D. Rockefeller are no different from a coal miner in W. Virginia.
An exception to the convention is made for white Hispanics, who are considered minorities even though they are white.
Is your head spinning?
By the way, what color is your spinning head? It doesn’t matter to me but does matter to wokes. My color is Sherwin-Williams Cool Beige, 9086.
The misuse of the word “minority” becomes even more confusing in light of the fact that there are so many ethnocultural groups in the United States that none of them is in the majority, statistically speaking. Every ethnocultural group is a minority group, including the scores of groups that are classified as white. For example, the Walloons are both white and minorities. The same for Iranians. Neither of the groups is privileged.
Are you still with me?
Perhaps Indigenous Peoples Day should be renamed Asian Day, given that Asians crossed a land bridge in the Bering Sea and populated what had been an uninhabited continent, not counting the few Polynesians who might have made it across the Pacific before the Asians arrived.
On second thought, that’s a bad idea, in view of the fact that certain empires, nations, and peoples of Asia have been guilty throughout history of slavery, genocide, oppression, injustice, and racism.
What is needed instead is a name that captures the spirit of America today, especially the doublespeak that passes for wokeness. A perfect choice would be Orwell Day.