Don’t Celebrate a Genocidal Rapist

(Our regularly scheduled programming (regarding all of the lawsuits against Trump for discrimination) will return later this week.)

 Happy Monday!  Happy We-Survived-That-Debate Day!  Happy Anything-Other-Than-Columbus-Day!

Whatever you want to call today, you shouldn’t call it Columbus Day.  Because you shouldn’t show any kind of honor to a genocidal rapist like Christopher Columbus. He was if not literally the worst, very high on the list.

Like another person making the news lately for bragging about sexual assault, Columbus, too, bragged about his atrocities. For example

Yup.  That’s Columbus, bragging about selling 9 and 10-year-old girls into slavery.  To be sex slaves.


No feminist, no thinking compassionate person, should celebrate him or honor him. Also, he didn’t discover the Americas, but he did start a brutal slave trade.

So, what should feminist, thinking, compassionate people like our readers do on a day like today?  There’s lots you can do:

  1. Counter the misinformation.  Use your own networks, online and in person, to spread the truth.  Use this blog, or any of the other links above, or write something yourself.  If you want to learn more, I suggest Howard Zinn’s superb A People’s History of the United States.
  2. Support changing this national holiday.  In some cities around the country, communities have successfully changed the day to Native American Day or Indigenous People’s Day.  Work to make that change locally and nationally.
  3. Use it as an opportunity to talk to your kids.  About real stuff.  Because they can actually handle it.  Maybe not the full on rape and torture stuff, depending on their age.  But about how sometimes people we were taught were heroes weren’t.  And how there are things that are just plain wrong.  And about how this country has some pretty ugly chapters in our history having to do with slavery and Native Americans that we still need to deal with.
  4. Celebrate indigenous people who are (s)heros.  Like Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected chief of the Cherokee nation.  Or any of these important women.  Or, the amazing women who have played a crucial part in the Dakota Pipeline protests.

Katherine Kimpel

Kate Kimpel is the Senior Editor of Shattering the Ceiling and is also an accomplished civil rights lawyer. She represents women and people of color in discrimination cases (and other kinds of employment and civil rights matters).  When not lawyering, she likely is bragging about her hound dog Ulysses, inventing cocktails to serve at her next dinner party, or convincing her husband to watch reruns of a Joss Whedon television show (any of them will do). 

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