In the past few years, Christopher Columbus, the symbol of our Italian American heritage, has been under serious siege by a group who wish to remove his name and his memorials permanently from the historical records, by promoting falsehood and misconceptions. They are truly misguided souls, acting out of their emotional impulses rather than their intellectual faculties. They have claimed that Columbus was a slave trader, that he did not discover America, that he was a racist, that he committed genocides, that he stole the Native’s land, etc. Their loud and vociferous claims have been debunked by actual facts that have been derived from primary historical sources. However, they are so convinced that they alone know the real truth. They have refused to consider any evidence that has been presented to them that oppose their point of view. Some of the attackers have been operating under the cover of darkness of night to destroy Columbus monuments all over the country. Many of these monuments were erected by financial contributions made by the Italian American communities with the approval from their local government. By concealing their true identity, while destroying public properties, they have revealed their true nature of being cowards.
Currently our country is in a state of turmoil and we all are very much bothered by it, for various reasons. The rise of "individualism" of the 70s and 80s has helped facilitate the divisions that seem to exist today. The citizens of our nation inadvertently have found purpose in life by uniting with individuals who think alike. We now have so many groups who simultaneously are exerting their will to lead the others to their point of view, resulting in utter chaos. What would a symphony sound like if each section of the orchestra simultaneously had the control of directing the same composition?
We are in the midst of a burning fire in regard to this issue. Could it be possible that some cancel Columbus culture members have been indoctrinated by others, through various media platforms, to promote distractions, in order to avert having the focus on the real atrocities committed against the Natives? It is indeed an ugly fact that that between 1776 and 1887, the United States and some of its citizens, through the so-called “Indian Wars.” managed to take by aggressive and morally reprehensible means 1.5 billion acres of land ( roughly 2/3 the size of China) from the Indigenous People. In comparison, the entire continental United States currently has 1.9 billion acres of land! In addition, between 1778 and 1871, the America's federal administrations signed over 500 treaties with indigenous tribes and have broken every one of them. With the taking of the land, they moved the Native Americans into the so called Reservations and stripped them of any possible way to object to the conditions they rendered them to. Now that the constituency of the descendants of Native Americans is rising in prominence, shifting the blame to Columbus averts having the light shine on these atrocities that have been committed, centuries after Columbus four voyages to the Caribbean. Columbus never reached the soil of the USA.
It is similar to what happened in the 1980s, when we had the collapse of the auto industry. Instead of looking squarely at the problem to having been one of lack of innovation from the US auto industry, it was somehow brought to bear that it was Japan's fault for stealing our market and our jobs. At the time, Japan had simply built better models and the consumers had gravitated to their cars. As a result, the Japanese people, either US citizens or otherwise, living in the USA, were severely targeted. Their cars were torched, they lost their jobs, they were verbally and physically attacked, some resulting in death, etc. Yet prior to 1980, they lived and prospered peacefully among all other US citizens.
If we wish to restore some normalcy, it’s of the utmost importance to work together, use our intellect to distinguish facts from fiction and maintain some level of respect for our individual differences. We all know that while we may be cut from the same human fabric, we are constructed from different patterns and experience different emotional connections and beliefs. Because of this reality, it is imperative that we center our actions and arguments using our intellect, power of reason and established facts. Above all, the need for the Italian American community to be vigilant and aggressively defend our Italian heritage is huge and very important. It is of enormous value to keep it relevant and alive within this vibrant, diverse and rich fabric of America, We are a part of it and our voices should not be removed without serious objections from our communities. Let’s us remain united and redouble our resolve to be strong together!