Saturday, October 15, 2011

I bet she isn't Italian

"When we were young we might have been able to claim ignorance of the atrocities that Christopher Columbus committed against the indigenous peoples," wrote Kennedy School Principal Anne Foley.

"We can no longer do so. For many of us and our students celebrating this particular person is an insult and a slight to the people he annihilated. On the same lines, we need to be careful around the Thanksgiving Day time as well."

Poor Ms Foley. Someone needs to tell her that Columbus Day does not celebrate Christopher Columbus but rather Italian-American heritage. This is because the Icelandic-Americans did not have enough political clout to get a Leif Ericson Day.

True, Columbus was not a particularly good person – which was par for the course for ship’s captains of the day. But even if not viewed through today’s politically correct lens, he was not even a particularly good person in his day. He and his brothers were imprisoned in Spain due to their acts in the new world and on their ships. However, Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937 to celebrate Italian-American heritage. Several states do not observe Columbus Day and have substituted their own versions such as Hawaii’s Discoverers’ Day and South Dakota’s Native American Day. I think that it is interesting that the Italians have their own day. Only the addition of MLK Day celebrates another ethnic American group. What about St. Patrick’s Day, or the Chinese New Year, or Mardi Gras, or Cinco De Mayo as official US holidays? Why not Hanukkah because its for 8 days? Personally, I celebrate December 6 since the 13th amendment was adopted on December 6, 1865.

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