Happy Bartolomé Day — and a reminder…

So here’s a question:  Why do we continue to celebrate Columbus Day?  I admit I appreciate having a day off from school, but really, don’t we all know about Christopher Columbus yet?  What a really bad person he was?  I think Agent Coulson would have described him as “Poop.  With needles.”

In case you don’t know yet what I’m talking about (the Columbus part), check out this comic from the Font of Awesomeness that is The Oatmeal.  The Oatmeal is typically hilarious and informative, and this time it’s even more informative than usual.  And also well done (not unusual).

And since our government still hasn’t gotten its act together — but then what can we expect from people who still celebrate Christopher Columbus? — you still have time to participate in my Government Shutdown Haiku Contest.  Click here for more information and to see the entries so far and to post an entry yourself.

Happy Bartolomé Day!

8 thoughts on “Happy Bartolomé Day — and a reminder…

  1. I really enjoyed this article in The Atlantic about Columbus Day. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/how-columbus-day-fell-victim-to-its-own-success/261922/

    I used to be a reluctant defender of Columbus Day, probably because it was a thing to my Italian family. I took away from the article that Columbus Day really had nothing to do with history and was more of an attempt at national myth-making to bring then diverse groups of Americans together by celebrating some vague European hero. Realizing that Columbus Day fails at uniting contemporary society since we’re both more diverse and (trying to be) less racist in America, I think we should ditch or change it.

    I don’t want Bartolome day, though. Bartolome still wanted to colonize the Americas; he just didn’t want to do it by force. But he did want to convert the indigenous people of the Americas. Unless he also had 400 years of medicine secretly stashed somewhere, Bartolome would probably end up wiping out a large part of the population due to European diseases.

    If we change Columbus Day, it should become a holiday in honor of Native Americans or one that tries to celebrate the diversity of cultural heritages that exist in our society (my understanding is the US is a bit weird in not having a general “culture” holiday separate from the national holiday).


    1. I rather like your idea of a holiday in honor of Native Americans. It might feel disingenuous at first, in light of the troubled history between them and the white colonists, but maybe if attitudes and practices, etc. surrounding N.A. were changed to reflect why they would be honored with a holiday in the first place…

      I feel like an idealist. But I like it.


      1. I know some localities have changed the celebration of Columbus Day to a Native American Day, which is where I first heard that. I’m going to admit, I like the idea of a US Diversity day more, but maybe that’s just my privilege talking. It seems like it could be a compromise for Italian and Irish communities who still like the celebration of one of their own and native communities who want to make sure their story is told.

        In several Latin American countries, Columbus Day is Dia de la Raza, and seems to celebrate Latino identity as the coming together of native and Spanish populations. I feel like in America, we could just expand that to cover the idea of American identity and diversity. It seems like an extension along the lines of the original idea of Columbus Day in the US, but extending out to all people in American, not just white immigrants. Though maybe it would be less meaningful in the US than South America, since we either wiped out or isolated most native communities.


  2. Over here in Europe I think we should celebrate Columbus Day as being the start of a flood of undesirables leaving Europe. Just joking!

    The idea of Native American Day is great. Just got to avoid Stan Freberg’s ‘Take an Indian to Lunch’ syndrome.


    1. I love the idea of a Flood of Undesirables Leaving Europe Day. Cracks me up. 🙂 I’m not sure it’s actually nicer than just celebrating Columbus himself over here, but you know, that’s probably not what this was going for. 😉


      1. I was discussing Columbus Day with someone else, and they pointed out that it was widely celebrated by Italian-Americans, marking their ethnic heritage, as Colombus was Genoese. It might be a good idea to select another day for them, or rename it ‘Sacco and Vanzetti Day’. Or at least Vanzetti, if one considers that Sacco’s innocence was in doubt.


      2. It’s interesting to me that the whole time I was growing up and being taught to celebrate Christopher Columbus, the Italian heritage link was never made a single mention of. I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me.


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