Skip to main content

Monday Morning Blues: Why Do We Still Celebrate Christopher Columbus???

The Age of Discovery, 1300-1600
A map of trade routes used from 1300 to 1600

 I'm serious.  I mean, the man was completely mistaken about where he was, and he refused to believe otherwise.  Columbus' travels resulted in the enslavement of several groups of people, and the extinction of more than one civilization.  Plus, he was not the first person to discover the "New World"; the Vikings landed here centuries earlier.  And the Vikings were not the first people over here either.


Viking Ship
A modern replica of a Viking ship. This ship is of the snekkja longship type.
Attribution: archiwum własne wikingów, Jarmeryk


But the alternative of calling today "Indigenous Peoples' Day"?

That feels... like not enough.  Hundreds of thousands of people died because of the arrival of the European invaders.  The number is too large to truly comprehend.  So semi-dedicating a single day to recognize them feels like a token, a gesture offered to history that still rejects any hint of responsibility.

Now I realize that no one alive today is responsible for the massacre that happened centuries ago. But we are responsible for how we treat people today.  

So maybe we do need this holiday, as a reminder that we are responsible for our behavior.  When a hurricane hits an impoverished area, regardless of which countries are involved, do you help out in whatever reasonable ways you can or do you gloat that it wasn't you?  Do you even care if it doesn't effect you directly? 

Do you treat others with respect and kindness?  Notice that there are no stipulations to that question. Skin color, spiritual beliefs, sexual preference, biology... none of this matters.  Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.  So do you act that way?  

Or do you expect people to treat you with respect first, before you will treat them that way?  If everyone waits for the other person to act nice, when will anyone act nice?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wordless Wednesday: "The Alarm Clock" by Diego Rivera

"The Alarm Clock" by Diego Rivera Courtesy of Museo Frida Kahlo I found this amazing painting through Google Art Project.  If you haven't hear, Google Art Project allows museums worldwide to upload their art so that everyone connected to the Internet now can view some of the amazing art created throughout history.  I absolutely love this idea;  after all, I doubt I'll be able to visit all of these galleries, even if I suddenly became a billionaire. If you use Chrome as your web browser, you can find the Google Art Project app here .  If you either don't use Chrome or don't want another app, go to http://www.googleartproject.com/ to see how a little bit of nice from the museums goes a long way. By the way, I chose this painting because I like how the alarm clock looks so sleepy.  :-)  

New High School Graduation Requirements in Georgia

Last week, I received an email inviting me to review the new, proposed high school graduation requirements.  From the accompanying introductory letter, I assume that the current graduation requirements do not satisfy the current legislation ( Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 20-2-140 and 20-2-159.1 through 20-2-159.4 ).  These will effect anyone entering ninth grade in the 2013-2014 school year and beyond, which translates to both of my children.  After reading the requirements, I had the option to fill out an online survey  where I could enter my opinion about the requirements. After reading the requirements document, I not only filled out the survey, but I also called the office of Pamela Smith to speak with someone.  Why?  Because I have several issues with the proposed graduation requirements, starting with the idea of a "Capstone Project". Basically, the new requirements include having all seniors do a Capstone Project, which is: a final and in-depth project that allows 

Misuse of IQ Tests

While Dr. Alfred Binet conducted his research, he stressed the limitations on IQ testing.  Dr. Binet believed that intelligence was not fixed, but malleable, able to change with environmental variables.  He also believed that testing needed to be created for and conducted on children from a similar background to get accurate results.  But even then, his tests only showed one aspect of intelligence, and did not represent a full view of a child's intelligence or abilities. Unfortunately, not everyone listened to Dr. Binet.  Three groups in particular stand out in this regard:  the U.S. Army, Ellis Island officials, and the Eugenics Record Office. At the onset of World War I, the U.S. Army faced the colossal task of placing scores of recruits in various positions.  In 1917, psychologist Robert Yerkes  chaired the Committee on the Psychological Examination of Recruits, where he and fellow committee members created two different IQ tests for recruits: Alpha test:  to test rec