"Columbus Day" On Twitter Shows Both Sides Battling It Out
The fight over Columbus Day has taken over to Twitter. On Monday, much of the United States celebrates a holiday in honor of the principal European given credit for discovering the Americas — despite the fact that millions of people already lived in the Western Hemisphere. That frustrates many activists who see Christopher Columbus as a stand-in for every atrocity committed under the conquest of the Americas and colonialism. Others want to maintain the status quo. Now many of those arguments are playing out on Twitter as #ColumbusDay trends on both sides.
In recent years, there have been moves to replace the holiday with Indigenous Peoples' Day, and in a big win this year Los Angeles adopted the holiday. But nationally, the day hasn't gone anywhere. Trump's proclamation reads as if he's oblivious to the suffering of native peoples. He writes:
The only hardships mentioned are Columbus's: "extreme doubt and tremendous adversity." Perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise coming from the Trump Administration, but given the large number of Americans who are taking the issue to the Internet for a continued debate, and it's not all going in a progressive anti-colonial direction. Feel free to take a moment to post your own thoughts on #ColumbusDay on Twitter, because you might be surprised by what you find.
1) Example One Why This Is Still An Issue
Plenty of the tweets hint that the arrival of Europeans made "America" better — much like Trump's proclamation.
2) Hashtags Like #WeAreNotSorry Join #ColumbusDay
There's a religious contingent to some of this, too.
3) The Meme You Can Share Back
Just as vocal are people trying to move past Columbus Day's traditional celebrations to learn about the dark side of the "discovery" of the Americas.
4) Then There's The Italian Angle
Plenty of supporters of Columbus are Italians and Italian-Americans, since he was originally from the city of Genoa, Italy (even though Spain paid for his voyage). And because Italians have not always had it easy in the United States, some say he should be recognized.
5) Italian Heritage Month Actually Coincides
To complicate matters, the month of October is Italian Heritage Month.
6) Plenty Of Young People Are Coming Out Strong Against It
There's a large number of trending #ColumbusDay tweets from the right, but the left has its fair share too.
7) And There Are Memes To Go With It
Many of the attacks on Columbus Day are based on this history.
8) Even Sales Are Ruined By This Holiday
Companies might want to stay out of the debate if they don't want to alienate a group of customers.
9) The Apathetic View
I understand the multitude of reasons to not celebrate #ColumbusDay but, damn I wish I was off of work!— Marc Smith (@marcAllan34) October 9, 2017
Some people just wanted to sleep in on Monday.
10) The Memes From The Right Are Intense
This argument supports a "European" and white man's view of the holiday and American history.
11) "Anti-White Bigotry"
Many of the right's memes talk about anti-white discrimination and pledge to celebrate white culture, heritage, and blood relatives.
12) For When You Can't
Luckily, there's the occasional middle finger in the feed to help get you through it.
13) A Modern View Of Columbus Day
One take on what you might call it.
14) The Ongoing Reminder That He Was Lost
#ColumbusDay? Are we celebrating the mass murderer who discovered America for white people b/c he was too stupid to navigate? Just checking.— Amir (@AmirAminiMD) October 9, 2017
Columbus was looking for Asia, something that many on Twitter have been pointing out as a reason not to celebrate the guy — and definitely not to call him a "skilled navigator," as Trump did.
15) Facts Seem To Be The Strongest Argument
Christopher Columbus spearheaded the atlantic slave trade and began a ruthless cycle of genocide against the Native Americans #ColumbusDay— ♻️ Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) October 9, 2017
For people against the celebration of the day, there doesn't seem to be any stronger argument than sharing facts.
16) Others Took Time To Tease Trump
Christopher Columbus is getting recognized more and more. Found islands. Surrounded by water. Ocean water. Got great reviews!#ColumbusDay— Fake Trump Talk (@faketrumptalk) October 9, 2017
Given Trump's endorsement of the day, this was probably always going to happen.
17) Humor Shows Up Too
There's the occasional great joke out there, too.
18) Just To Put It In Perspective
In celebration of #ColumbusDay, I discovered my neighbor's house. Gave him smallpox, moved him into a vacant lot, invited my family in.— Staring Crocs (@fuzzywuzzy60) October 9, 2017
What the discovery might look like for you!
19) Troublesome "Heritage"
Some people are arguing about the nature of heritage.
20) Another Way To Look At The Same Meme
This seems like fair game if the person who left the lunch has stepped out to watch the Columbus Day parade.
21) Tying It Back To White, Male Privilege
Again. He was lost.
22) Irony, Right?
Anti-immigrant politicians tend to love Columbus Day, it's true.
23) A Whole New Hashtag
For those trying to fight back against Columbus Day, there's a separate hashtag to recognize the day as they would like to see it: Indigenous Peoples' Day.
As you go about your day, the controversy over the holiday is likely to come up at some point, and maybe you'll hear from both sides just like on Twitter. Keep the arguments that you agree with in mind for when you do — or just go start retweeting now.