Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No longer a "holiday"

Yesterday was Columbus Day. Once held in respect, Columbus has joined the ever growing list of white, heterosexual, Christian, males of European descent whose contributions to our American society are no longer appreciated. It is not that I'm that attached to Columbus Day, but it troubles me to see the level of disdain directed at a once respected icon.

He opened the door to the New World. Let's give him credit where credit is due.

Here's a few examples of what schools teach about the intrepid explorer.

"I talk about the situation where he didn't even realize where he was," Kolowith said.
"And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy.....

"The whole terminology has changed," said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development.

"You don't hear people using the world 'discovery' anymore like they used to. 'Columbus discovers America.' Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?"

In Texas, students start learning in the fifth grade about the "Columbian Exchange" -- which consisted not only of gold, crops and goods shipped back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, but diseases carried by settlers that decimated native populations.

In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year -- charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

"In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said."

Call me cynical, but if Christopher Columbus had been black, gay or Muslim, I bet school children would still be taught that he was a wonderful guy.

So what is to be gained by teaching American children to hate their roots?

1) It is a way to reinforce victimhood thinking. Politicians love that sort of thing because victims need government programs to take care of them.

2) It is a way to turn groups against each other. When the focus is put on historical wrongs which can never be righted (because those responsible and those who suffered are dead and gone), there is nothing which can be done which will satisfy anyone. Again, politicians love that sort of thing because the perpetually offended will clamor for yet another government program to make things right.

3) It is a way to weaken our military defense. Those who are taught disdain for their history, don't often choose to honorably serve their country and it is bad for the morale of those who do serve.

4) It is a way to promote socialist agendas. When children grew up thinking that our country is founded on corruption and oppression, they can be easily lead to reject the principles that made our country great.

As a homeschooler, I'm glad my children are not caught up in the politically-correct garbage that passes for education in our government schools, but I am sick to think of the rising generation who are taught such ingratitude and where that ingratitude will lead us all.

Technorati tags: Christopher Columbus, children, education, government schools, children, public school, public education, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting


Mommydew said...

The public schools around us got the day off, but get this not for Columbus Day but for "Fair Day" the state fair is in town (they do this every year).

Anonymous said...

I've found that learning the truth about the people that we 'honor' can be liberating also. Why should we honor someone who is not deserving of it? Just because they've always been honored doesn't mean that we're unpatriotic to ask why. What did Columbus do to deserve the great honor with which we bestow(ed) on him? Did he really 'discover' America? Who is really deserving of the honor and glory we give so many people? We go through the motions of celebrating people without ever really digging into the truth of what they did to deserve it. Isn't that what learning (and home-schooling) is really about in the first place? Not just taking someone else's word for it?

Also, we learn about history to learn what NOT to do in the future. Not necessarily to make ground for government programs for 'victims' (and yes, I see your point in all the issues listed), but to be truthful about our past and learn how to act in the future. A wise person learns not only from their own mistakes, but also from those of others. This is why we've been given the Word.

One last thought is this: We as Americans carry around such a privileged attitude about our history. I think it is fitting that we begin to see ourselves as God see us: equal to those around us. Even our government documents say this. All men are created equal. We don't DESERVE anything. Because of our sinful nature, we deserve death. But because of God's great mercy, we are blessed beyond measure. We need to stop thinking that our perspective is the only one─that we somehow deserve this land that we live on and this great wealth we've got─that we deserved to take it the way we did.

This is not an effort to sound politically correct, but Biblically correct. This sort of supreme and/or politically correct attitude is what will tear our country to bits.
On the other side of the coin, I agree that politicians love this sort of thing. We must approach these sorts of issues carefully. Can we change the past or make up for it? No. No amount of paying people off will make it right. But we can alter our decisions for the future by learning from what other people have done well or not so well.

Seek truth. Even if it's painful to bear.

Good post. It's refreshing to see someone digging into the 'nasty' stuff of life rather than just taking it for what it is.

Luke said...

I think this is more of a general cultural shift than some kind of left-wing conspiracy [smile]. Even our fairy tales are tinted with "gritty realism" (think "Enchanted" or "Shrek"...).

I don't remember ever celebrating Columbus Day. I do remember learning that he bumped into America thinking he was somewhere else, but that he set out in a direction no one else had the guts to go in based on his own observations of the world. Which is cool.

Later on, I learned about the horrible things he did and the ways he was not a nice guy. But still, even though he lied to his crew members to keep them going, he kept them going and got somewhere that part of the world didn't even know existed.

Which is cool.

Even if he wasn't.



Janine Cate said...


Thanks for reposting your comment.

>We as Americans carry around such a privileged attitude about our history. I think it is fitting that we begin to see ourselves as God see us: equal to those around us.

I agree and disagree with your point. We personally are not better than anyone else, but the country is a whole other matter.

This is the promised land. If it were not for the expansion into North America, religious freedom like we now experience in the west would not exist.....

I got rolling on a big long response and decided not to run to far off on a tangent.

Bottom line: America's constitution and form of government, as instituted by the Founding Fathers, is the best in the world and was a miracle.

Application of those principles is currently pathetic, due in part, to the terrible way our children are educated in government schools. The rising generation is purposely kept ignorant of the principles of good government.

Columbus bashing in schools is just one of the many distracting tactics used to alienate children from our blessed roots.

And if you haven't guessed, I think The 912 Project is great!

Anonymous said...

Have you read the Deliberate Dumbing Down of America? I think it might be something you would appreciate. Also, this video series:
Any resources you'd like to share with us?

Janine Cate said...


Thanks for passing along what they do in your neck of the woods on Columbus Day.


I agree it is a cultural shift, but I still think it is a left wing conspiracy.

christinemm said...

My town & some others around here recognized it as a holiday which meant one of our Scout things was cancelled as it follows the school schedule.

Yet another town next door to me this year chose to not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday so public school was in session. They still recognize Martin Luther King Day.

Wonder too how this may be related to rolling Lincoln & Washington's birthdays into one "President's Day"?

Seems with our short attention span, Americans wind up pushing aside the older people's holidays and make room for new ones. Thus a 1600s guy's holiday is losing its importance, two Presidents from more than 150 yrs ago are combined.

Question is, will Barack Obama Day be put into place:
a. while he is still President
b. after his presidency is over
c. after he passes away

I have no doubt we'll have that holiday.

Another weird thing is some employers give the day after Thanksgiving off but won't let employees take Christmas Eve day off (some of us have celebrations that start that afternoon or early evening to travel to or prepare for).

Janine Cate said...

>Question is, will Barack Obama Day be put into place:
a. while he is still President
b. after his presidency is over
c. after he passes away

I have no doubt we'll have that holiday.

I'm afraid your right, but I hope your wrong.