NEW YORK, Aug. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The rush to judgment against Christopher Columbus by some in New York City's government recalls the worst aspects of the bigotry and hatred Italian Americans and other immigrants once had to face in New York, where Catholic immigration was, in effect, banned by the state's first constitution written by John Jay.
Those undertaking this ill-conceived attempt to rewrite history should consider the following:
- Modern biographers, including Stanford University professor emerita Carol Delaney, have shown that Columbus was a decent man who is improperly blamed for everything that went wrong after 1492.
- Columbus has been a target of white supremacists since the 1920s, when a resurgent Ku Klux Klan attacked monuments and celebrations of Columbus from coast to coast. They hated that he was Mediterranean not Anglo, that he sailed for Spain, not England, that he was popular in the immigrant community, and most of all, that he was Catholic. (Catholics, along with African Americans and Jews, were regular targets of the Klan).
- The current caricature of Columbus now being peddled by some politicians and activists comes from the likes of Ward Churchill, the disgraced professor infamous for calling New York victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns." The fact that his outlandish claims in a 1992 article on Columbus – published by Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed – now pass for political discourse in the city is not worthy of New York.
- The disparagement of Columbus today has its roots in a centuries-old habit of painting Italian and Hispanic immigrants in this country as cruel, violent, sexually aggressive, and untrustworthy. In the context of Spanish exploration, this is known as the "Black Legend" – based on propaganda peddled about Spain dating from the 16th century, which continues to be the grist for racially tinged comments about Hispanics and Italians to this day.
SOURCE National Christopher Columbus Association