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AP ‘Celebrates’ Columbus Day – Again

From those very selective champions of diversity at the Associated Press:

In this Oct. 9, 2009 photo, Kindergarten students Kaileen Barreto, left, and Shayonna Bridgeman load supplies into a paper replicas of the ships Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria during a lesson about the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World at Philip Shore School of the Arts in Tampa, Fla. Kolowith’s students learn about the explorer’s significance — though they also come away with a more nuanced picture of Columbus than the noble discoverer often portrayed in pop culture and legend. Columbus’ stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts do not observe his namesake holiday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations.

A darker side of Columbus emerges in US classrooms

By Christine Armario, Associated Press Writer – Sun Oct 11

TAMPA, Fla. – Jeffrey Kolowith’s kindergarten students read a poem about Christopher Columbus, take a journey to the New World on three paper ships and place the explorer’s picture on a timeline through history.

Kolowith’s students learn about the explorer’s significance — though they also come away with a more nuanced picture of Columbus than the noble discoverer often portrayed in pop culture and legend.

"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."

Columbus’ stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Monday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations.

"The whole terminology has changed," said James Kracht [pronounced ‘crock’ or ‘cracked’?], 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.

Of course, the perspective given varies across classrooms and grades. Donna Sabis-Burns, a team leader with the U.S. Department of Education’s School Support and Technology Program, surveyed teachers nationwide about the Columbus reading materials they used in class for her University of Florida dissertation. She examined 62 picture books, and found the majority were outdated and contained inaccurate — and sometimes outright demeaning — depictions of the native Taino population.

The federal holiday itself also is not universally recognized. Schools in Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle will be open; New York City, Washington and Chicago schools will be closed.

The day is an especially sensitive issue in places with larger native American populations

Many recall decades ago when there was scant mention of indigenous groups in discussions about Columbus. Kracht remembers a picture in one of his fifth-grade textbooks that showed Columbus wading to shore with a huge flag and cross.

"The indigenous population was kind of waiting expectantly, almost with smiles on their faces," Kracht said. "’I wonder what this guy is bringing us?’ Well, he’s bringing us smallpox, for one thing, and none of us are going to live very long."

Kracht said an emerging multiculturalism led more people to investigate the cruelties suffered by the Taino population in the 1960s and ’70s, along with the 500th anniversary in 1992.

However, there are people who believe the discussion has shifted too far. Patrick Korten, vice president of communications for the Catholic fraternal service organization the Knights of Columbus, recalled a note from a member who saw a lesson at a New Jersey school.

The students were forced to stand in a cafeteria and not allowed to eat while other students teased and intimidated them — apparently so they could better understand the suffering indigenous populations endured because of Columbus, Korten said

Meanwhile, Crawford’s Pennsylvania class dressed up as characters from the era, assigned roles for a mock trial and put Columbus on the stand. Out of a jury of 12 students, nine found him guilty of the charges.

"Every hero is somebody else’s villain," said Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a scholar and author of several books related to Columbus, including "1492: The Year the World Began."

"Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin."

This has become the standard fare for the Columbus Day weekend.

It is just another occasion to observe the Orwellian ‘Two Minutes Of Hate’ for the left’s enemies of the day.

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.

We wonder if these fifth graders are also taught that Columbus and is crew brought syphilis back from the New World? Or whether all of the diseases are described as a one way street?

By the way, how many school kids are taught that smallpox was introduced to Europe by the invading Muslim armies during the 7th and 8th centuries (a pdf file)?

Do the teachers ever bring this up when they are celebrating Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha?

"Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin."

What a great lesson for the youth of America.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 12th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “AP ‘Celebrates’ Columbus Day – Again”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin.”

    I wonder how he’d teach about our landing on the Moon; That Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were “bossy” and “mean”? And that the “Evil US Empire” let people starve in its desires to conquer the Moon?

    Wait…..that’s already been said. Never mind.

    I sometimes think that the ultimate irony would be that if you could corner one of these self-righteous teachers into a discussion about time travel and ask them if they went back in time and could stop Cristoforo Colombo from reaching the New World, would they? And if they answer “yes” then I would tell them, “Then you, most likely, would cease to exist”.

    Then explain about the socio-economic impact the discovery made and how manifest destiny, whether right or wrong, resulted in the eventual founding of the USA.

    And—it’s also wrong, always has been, to judge history by today’s sensibilities.

  2. proreason says:

    I take comfort in the secure knowledge that future schoolchilren will put Obamy on trial for the crimes HE is committing against his country.

    And unlike, Columbus, that will be justified.

  3. “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?”

    Do they really think that people from Europe and the surrounding areas would have dared venture west to find America if it wasn’t for Columbus doing it first? Do they forget that people thought the world was flat and that they would have sailed off of the edge of the world?

    • BillK says:

      But you don’t understand – any scientific knowledge gained from Columbus’ journey is trumped by the damage we did to the indigenous peoples and culture of the Americas and the environment, of course.

      Just think how much better the world would have been had we never bothered the native residents of our lands.

      Canada and Mexico would have traded peacefully with Native Americans who would have respected nature and even today would be living in huts made from the skins of animals (who had died from natural causes, of course.)

      No America means no American inventions which means no greenhouse gases!

      This would still be an untouched Dances with Wolves wonderland of flowing grasses, free-running buffalo herds, and not a single oil well.

      There would not be processed flour, or soft drinks or fatty meats, so humans would have been healthier.

      There would not be capitalism as we know it, so all people would live in a socialist utopia.

      No America means no World War I, which means no Germany crushed by post-war sanctions, which means no World War II, either.

      No World War II means no Nazis which means no Holocaust which means no Israel which means no Mideast terrorism.

      No, Columbus is the root of all evil.

      The left can go at this all day long and never come up with anything “good” that came from Columbus’ journey.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      Bill, your logic is inescapable. I am now so depressed I am throwing all my frozen meat into the trash, trading my truck in for a bicycle and burning all my clothes. I will now only wear items made from hemp made by Native Americans.

      I’m also quitting my job and moving to Wyoming and will sit and wait for people to notice that I have needs and let them feed me. I will reciprocate, of course, by respecting them and singing their praises. That should earn me a lot of food and place to live.

      I’ll let you know how it works out. But of course, I’ll have to correspond on animal skin as I will denounce the use of all electronic devices.

  4. NoNeoCommies says:

    We need to eliminate Columbus Day as a Union/Federal/State holliday. If you attack it, you don’t get the day off. Heck, let’s get rid of Spring Break. It’s just Easter Vacation renamed.

  5. wardmama4 says:

    Also Columbus did not technically land in America – look at his 4 voyages – they pretty much center around the Caribbean ( not part of America). But of course when bashing American history – facts are just niggling little things that always seem to get into the way.

    Slavery, disease and rampant ‘my religion is better than yours’ – was the thing back then – rewriting history in current pc terms only seems to be a liberal, socialist thing – where all poor/colored/uneducated people are victims and whites/Christians are perps. Talk about bias.

    I find it humorous that the very people who are denigrating Columbus (must the be the white/Christian/capitalist thing) are the self same people denying that the inhabitants of this hemisphere also had to come from somewhere too. If there was spontaneous ‘combustion’ that caused life worldwide – does it not make sense that the same people/animals would exist in the same temperate zones world wide?!? So how to explain the differences? Come on liberal idiots – explain away. . .

    Columbus was a opportunist – from what I have read of history in that time period – a lot of people were – which may have been why so many people fled to the ‘new’ world to escape it. Unlike what the elite morons are teaching – not to bring it here.

    • proreason says:

      Columbus had courage that’s hard to comprehend in the modern world.

      He didn’t have a Mission Control. It was all on his shoulders.

      And the so-called “crimes” he committed are certainly no worse than what Islamo-nazi’s commit every day.

      Columbus and the Conquistadors were unusually greedy and cruel bastards but they wanted to convert the Indians, not eliminate them.

      Modern-day Islamic fanatics want to eliminate Jews. The Conquistadors are saints in comparison.

      Yet liberals pretent to have nothing but tolerance for the Islam world. (Which also is a politically motivated lie. Should terrorists get lucky again and torch NYC, watch what happens with the oh-so-tolerant libwits.)

  6. GL0120 says:

    “Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin.”

    As are truth and fiction for the AP.


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