Columbus statues on endangered list
On Friday's show we took calls on complaints in Long Branch about a statue of Christopher Columbus. In the wake of controversy over the removal of confederate statues, plus more controversy about the bust of Richard Stockton and the name of Woodrow Wilson at Jersey schools, now comes what some would have believed unthinkable 20 years ago. There is a movement to get rid of a statue of Columbus. Walter Alomar is the president of the Organization for Culture of Hispanic Origins, and he wants this statue gone.
"The man is not a national hero, and the statue is displayed in the center of a black and Hispanic neighborhood as if he did something really great. This is not the true history."
A genocidal, racist aggressor. This is what our children are now taught in school about Christopher Columbus. And people who say it are not wrong. Yet we are looking at Columbus through the prism of 2017 values. Alomar points out when Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in the late 1400's he oppressed the indigenous population he found there. Yes, that's correct. But they also oppressed each other. Tribes were constantly slaughtering each other, stealing each other's territory, killing men and taking their teeth to wear as necklaces, leaving the women alive and keeping them basically as sex slaves. There were long rumored stories of cannibalism as well. So while groups against Columbus are correct in what they say, they tend to leave one think he invaded some peace loving paradise and trampled the land. Inhumane acts were the story of that land. Columbus was simply a later chapter.
The facts are that Columbus was a barbaric, hired gun of Spain who failed at what he thought he accomplished and succeeded at what he never knew of even at the time of his death. I have no problem telling all sides of his story. But if we are going to start tearing down statues of Columbus, can a slave owner like Thomas Jefferson be far behind? If we're going to tear down these statues of imperfect men, it will change nothing about what happened. History is history. We can learn from it, or we can pretend the same values were present in 1492 as are in 2017 and try in vain to cleanse the world.
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