The Daily Gamecock

Columbus Day disrespectful to nation's history

European settler unworthy of celebration

 Regardless of USC's reasoning for not giving us the day off, the fact that an institution of higher education didn't deem the holiday worthy of a break says a lot about the day and other companies should reconsider how they "celebrate" it.

Yes, Christopher Columbus led the first European settlement in what is now known as the Americas. However, these settlements led to conflict with the Native Americans already living on the land and called the Americas home long before Columbus ever arrived. Wars and fighting broke out between the Europeans and natives.

When I took American Literature we read a story written by Mary White Rowlandson, a minister's wife in a Puritan settlement who was captured by Native Americans. After eventually returning to the settlement after the captivity, she wrote down her experiences and the story was used as propaganda. Her words were used in order to intimidate and terrify white settlers and give them reason to justify their dislike and cruel actions.

Ultimately, parades and a day off from work seem like inappropriate ways to commemorate the man who led the beginning settlements that caused an entire culture to become almost extinct.

But as the entertaining e-cards on Facebook say, we could always "celebrate Columbus Day by drinking sangria, getting lost and stealing someone's stuff."