Taking down the Columbus Statue is an act of racism
Removing the statue of Christopher Columbus us an act of outright racism by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, surrendering to the bullying of a mob of protestors whose members often become violent, looting, burning down stores and destroying vehicles and other property. This column was published in the Southwest News Newspaper group Aug,. 29, 2020
By Ray Hanania
Sure. Leif Erikson discovered America sometime in the 10th Century. Christopher Columbus discovered America in the 15th Century, and Amerigo Vespucci, for whom America is named, discovered it a few years later, too.
But Columbus got the credit because he did a better job of PR. His story was told far more and is even memorialized in a children’s poem that begins, “In fourteen Hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
You want to erect statues of Erickson and Vespucci, go right ahead. I don’t care. But you have no right to tear down statues of Columbus.
Right here in Chicago, the world celebrated the 400 year anniversary of Columbus’ achievement with a World’s Fair. The World Columbian Exposition defined Chicago and it defined America.
You got a problem with all that? Take it up in a public debate and then follow the Rule of Law. Show some respect. How you engage in the debate reflects on your own morality or lack of it.
Last week, Mayor Lightfoot, one of the most offensive and disgusting public officials I have ever seen, removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from Grant Park in order to appease a bunch of bullies.
Those bullies wrapped themselves up in a blanket of “Black Lives Matter morality,” clearly declaring that no other lives matter whatsoever.
Columbus may not have been the perfect historical figure, but who was in the 15th Century? He may have had slaves, but who didn’t back then? Even African leaders had slaves, murdered innocent people and enslaved nations.
Are you telling me Black African leaders at that time were any better than White Europeans?
Yes, Mayor Lightfoot, slavery was an issue. A terrible issue. A painful issues for Africans who were enslaved by European traders and sold on markets to work in a racist system.
But that system was changed. And a lot of White people who you have disrespected by tearing down the Columbus statue fought to change that racist system.
It’s easy to take everything out of context and apply a twisted moral judgment founded on reverse racism and reverse stereotyping. “Black Lives Matter” is just a new form of race hatred.
Yes, Black Lives do matter. But so do White lives. So do Hispanic Lives. So do Asian Lives. So do Arab lives. And so do many other lives.
What does Black Lives Matter really have to do with Christopher Columbus?
You may not like the guy or agree with the fact that the world recognized his achievements. You don’t like Columbus? Fine! Go raise your own money and pay to erect a statue of Leif Erikson or Amerigo Vespucci.
But this isn’t really about Columbus or even Erickson or Vespucci. Vespucci was a slave trader himself making a slave run in the Bahamas and bringing 232 slaves back to Spain. As for Erikson, well, he was a Viking who carried around a huge hatchet that wasn’t used to cut down trees. His father was a brutal warrior, Erik the Red — ergo the name “Eriks-son.” Erik the Red was fearsome. He conquered Greenland. I can only imagine how many people the two butchered in the name of conquest, light, fair and dark skin, too.
If we’re going to judge people and apply that judgment to modern historical edifices, maybe we should rename Malcolm X College, while we are at it. A college named after a Felon an ex-con who is alleged to have advocated violence against White people?
If there is an irresponsible clown in this story it is Lightfoot, a lightweight when it comes to leadership and a champion of hypocrisy. Lightfoot literally urged “civility” in the public discourse this week, right after calling Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara a “cartoon character,” a “clown” and a “total fraud.” No “Mayor Lightweight,” you are the fraud.
NOTE: In a column I wrote back in June, I mixed up the cancellation of a 1970 Grant Park concert by Sly and the Family Stone with Carlos Santana. As a musician who prides himself in playing lead guitar, Jimi Hendrix riffs and who shared a spliff during my sophomore year at Northern Illinois University with Carlos Santana – oh yes I did. I apologize for both.
But an error in music looking back 50 years doesn’t change my Op-Ed argument that Black Lives Matter protest leaders are guilty of failing to denounce the violence, looting and arson by many of their protest followers. On that opinion, I stand firm.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
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