Brave New World

11Mar22

Less than a year after dumping the Warrior logo, the Wakefield School Committee continues to demonstrate that they are more in tune with global causes than they are with the local taxpayers who pay the freight.

Last week, they quietly changed Columbus Day to “Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day.”

And nobody said a word.

The 2022-2023 School Calendar approved by the School Committee last week lists Monday, Oct. 10, 2022 as “Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day.” I’m shocked that they gave Columbus top billing.

Were the people of Wakefield clamoring for this change? Were parents picketing the schools demanding that Indigenous Peoples Day be added to the School Calendar? Were Native Americans lining up to petition the School Committee? Was anyone even giving it a passing thought?

Of course not. It’s just the usual woke virtue signaling.

I wonder how the large local Italian-American population feels about having the great Genoese explorer’s accomplishments so minimized? Not that the School Committee cares. But peering out from their ivory towers, they probably sensed that a feeble objection might be raised if they had changed it to “Indigenous Peoples Day” right off the bat, which is, of course, the ultimate goal.

The fact that not one School Committee member raised an objection or even a question is sad, but maybe this wasn’t the hill they wanted to die defending.

Still, the change shouldn’t go unnoticed.

With this action, the schools are effectively teaching that the discovery of an entire previously unknown hemisphere, the one upon which we now live, is not historically significant enough that the man responsible for it should be recognized. Especially if that man was a European.

We already know that local schools are teaching kids that they are colonizers living on stolen land. That must do wonders for their social-emotional health.

Now they are teaching students that the man who brought together two hemispheres previously oblivious to each other’s existence does not deserve his own day of recognition because that man was a brute who mistreated those he encountered in the New World.

Guess what? Five hundred years ago, the earth was a harsh and brutal place, and that goes double for the parts of the world that Columbus is credited with discovering. The notion that Europeans invented violence, slavery and oppression and that Native Americans needed to be educated in these practices is both patronizing and historically inaccurate. The inhabitants of the New World were already well-versed on the subject of man’s inhumanity to man.

It has long been known, for example, that human sacrifice was a big part of Aztec life. They sacrificed prisoners of war in order to terrorize their enemies. (Yes, Native American tribes fought each other. You’ll be shocked to learn that Columbus did not introduce the concept of warfare to the New World either.)

Charming practices like human sacrifice weren’t unique to the Aztecs.

Just last month, Reuters reported that Peruvian archeologists working a major dig east of Lima unearthed eight children and 12 adults apparently sacrificed around 800-1,200 years ago. According to the story, “Evidence of violence has been found in some of the individuals.”

Wait, how is this even possible? That was at least 300 years before Columbus arrived.

And don’t give me, “The Vikings were here before Columbus,” unless you’re prepared to make “Leif Erikson Day” a national holiday. As if those eager to cancel the swarthy Italian would ever celebrate the much paler Scandinavian.

This isn’t about sharing the holiday, just as getting rid of the Warrior logo wasn’t about respecting native populations. And combining Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day isn’t about elevating Indigenous People.

It’s about diminishing Columbus and those of European descent.

This is just Step 1. First, you get people to accept sharing the holiday. Then you take Columbus out altogether.

Baby steps, as they say.

I have a better idea. Instead of sharing, let Columbus keep his own day and create a new holiday for Indigenous People. It would be another one of those holidays where only schools and members of public employee unions get the day off, so it wouldn’t have much impact on commerce or real life.

I suggest a day in March, since the month has no other national holidays.

Just do us all a favor. Don’t pick March 17.

[This column originally appeared in the March 10, 2022 Wakefield Daily Item.]



One Response to “Brave New World”

  1. 1 Dr. Ed

    For what it is worth, several Midwest States have laws mandating schools celebrate Leif Ericson Day.


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