The days we celebrate on our calendar are reflections of our values.
What does it mean that Columbia doesn’t celebrate Columbus Day?
Halcyon visions of Columbus sailing the ocean blue were expunged from my mind as soon as my mother decided that I was old enough to know who Howard Zinn was and what the word “genocide” meant. (I didn’t make it to two digits.)
It didn’t particularly matter to my school district, which continued merrily on, giving my classmates one-day reprieves in honor of Mr. Columbus. As my peers grew older, there was a general consensus that Columbus was “kind of a shithead,” but that getting a day off was “dope.” At the time, I’m not sure I appreciated how much of a change in awareness this was from even 30 or 40 years ago.
In 1970, Spectator didn’t even print on Columbus Day because it was a “legal holiday in the printing industry.” Forty-four years later, here we are, running a spread that is highly critical of the day.
This spread is not simply about Columbia’s choice not to celebrate Columbus Day; it’s about the implications of this action. What does this mean for certain communities on campus? How does this affect the dialogue on campus? What does this choice say about our community? Where should we be going from here?
Unfortunately, the immediate answer to that last question this Monday morning is to class.
Which is decidely not dope.
Editorial Page Editor
Columbia does not go far enough by not celebrating Columbus Day; it should instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Professor Dan Press examines why it’s necessary to not support Columbus Day, and what it means that we don’t.
Columbus should be viewed in a nuanced light—there are reasons to both celebrate and condemn what he did.
To shift the narrative about colonization, Columbia has to actively dismantle misconceptions about European treatment of Natives.