Happy Saturday! I’m a day early with this week’s blog post, but only because today is a very important day. And no, it is not because today is my birthday.
Today marks the day that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. As a kid, I always thought that my birthday was special because it was the day America was discovered. It made me more American. My elementary school used to teach us every year how Columbus came and negotiated with the Native Americans. They never taught us the horrible crimes that were committed.
The education in the United States teaches kids propaganda. The United States of America does not want younger generations to know what actually happened in the past. Just sweep it under the carpet, right? It’s not important. Educating people through history is not important. (sigh)
If you had to go to Germany, the government, along with the citizens, give great importance to Nazi Germany. They educate their students simply to ensure that such drastic historical events do not happen again in history. They ensure that there is an understanding of what happened.
So what did happen on the 12th of October in 1492? And what happened afterwards? Sponsored by the Spanish monarchy, Columbus landed on an island in the Caribbean. A hundred years later, the Spaniards had taken over most of South America, except for Brazil which was under the Portuguese. The Spaniards brought along diseases which killed off many of the indigenous people who were their slaves. They destroyed most of the indigenous cities, such as Tenochtitlan. The Spaniards had this incredible mass of land that they wanted to produce products from, such as cotton and sugar, and they needed a lot of labor. And here started the slave market. Thousands of people died on voyages from Africa to the Americas, and more after being severely mistreated due to slavery.
The white Spaniard in the Americas was in control of the poor old indigenous or African slave. Sounds familiar? This is our history. The United States is not so different to Latin America regarding this, yet some of us make ourselves to be better than such countries. The only way as a nation we are worse than Latin America, is because instead of trying to help these countries improve after decolonization, the United States of America thought that Latin America was its “backyard” and would be able to control these countries. A clear example is how Texas once used to be a part of Mexico. It was all due to the Monroe Doctrine.
The United States of America’s history is also built on slavery and being a colony. The difference is that as a nation, we won the war and became a great nation. The United States of America was not perfect in 1776. Democracy is a live thing that develops with time, always improving. The Latin American countries were never given this chance. Therefore, we cannot blame them for being the way they are today because we were are the cause. “We” means the United States and Europe.
We do not educate our students on our own horrible past of slavery and racism, so how can we educate them on the histories of other countries? Pasts which should not be neglected? Racism is in our nation’s DNA. It exists today with high levels, and it always will. The racists, or white supremacists, might think that our nation is white, but it is most certainly a darker color too.
In Spain, Christopher Columbus Day is a national holiday. This day should not be a day of celebration. It is a day of remembrance; learning our past, remembering from our past, and not repeating our past. We have not been successful in these three aspects. For us to have elected such a disgrace of a president, yes, we have not been successful in remembering our past.
My birthday still has meaning to me. I still think it makes me more American, and proud, but in a different way. My birthday is a day where I remember our history and be the proper American citizen that we should all be. We should all remember. This is the truth behind 12th October. Learn from it.