Reconsider Columbus Day…Again

Even now I remember those public school mandated Christopher Columbus day celebrations. By the third grade I learned to loathe those songs we had to sing about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.  In school I was taught Columbus was an explorer and hero but at home my Taino-proud mother taught me he was a rapist and pillager. Ahhh what great conflicting lessons learned at an early age but from the post I am sure you can guess I gravitated toward the latter and earlier rather than later.

Year after year  I would be packed into a school auditorium and stand, visually undetectable, lost in a sea of navy blue school uniforms. With all my weight shifted to one hip, arms crossed, and my newly learned and nearly perfected eye roll handy I waited with sheer DELIGHT for the precise time where I would switch out the word “discovered”  and bellow out the more historically accurate “landed” or my favorite, “invaded.”

Rebel young!

12 years later I still don’t celebrate Columbus day– held on the second Monday of October.

The PSA above is type old but so much younger than those tired ass songs they’re still making kids sing so just remember this coming Monday to reconsider again, Columbus Day.


Naima "Nai" Ramos-Chapman is the Associate Editor at Campus Progress, a dancer with Taurus Broadhurst Dance in D.C., and an aspiring visual artist (she doodles). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Naimaramchap.
  • monkeymind

    One of the things I love about Berkeley (that most people, even Berkeleans, mock) is that the city officially calls this day “Indigenous Peoples’ Day. That may seem overly twee and liberal, but I just like that I don’t have to see “Columbus Day” on parking meters.

  • Darth Paul

    How do you ‘celebrate’ C-day, anyway? No one really seems to notice or care except for schools around here. Not that I would, anyway. I don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving. I do Thankstaking on the Saturday after.

  • ACLS

    The otherwise very liberal small company I work for takes Columbus Day off but not MLK Day, which totally confounds me. MLK Day does come close on the heels of the holiday season, but, come on, really?

    • April

      Ugh. I don’t understand why Columbus Day is celebrated in the U.S. anyway, since Columbus never set foot here. Besides being insulting, it’s inaccurate.

  • Those nuns must have been more progressive than I thought, we never celebrated it when I was in grammar school. In fact, I remember being told about the “other” explorers who made it to the new world, the impact of Spanish exploration, and the Line of Demarcation.