Why Did Minnesota Have a Columbus Statue at the State Capitol?
The story behind the Christopher Columbus statue being erected at the State Capitol grounds is very interesting. I won’t get into the whole thing (read the MPR story here), I’ll just tell you it was because Italian immigrants were being discriminated against.
Another story from MinnPost.com says that the Iron Range area consider Italians, and any person from Southern Europe, as ‘black.’
It's history, and it can be ugly and not always what we thought it was.
A group of people that were being discriminated against decided the best thing to do is put up a statue of a man who enslaved and killed thousands upon thousands of native North Americans. The irony of that does not escape me.
When I hear people say that we should leave some of these statues where they're at, I wonder why? Why would you want a statue that represents a dark stain on our country? Why would you want something that represents a horrible time in our world’s history?
Christopher Columbus is a good example of this. Many of us were taught in school that he discovered America. Then, as we got older, we found out that not only did he not discover America (others were here before) but we learned his personal history was nothing to celebrate.
That is the case with a lot of things. What we were told/taught when we were kids, is not always how it really was. Christopher Columbus was a long time ago. So not knowing everything from back then is understandable. There are recent discoveries in the last century or so that have shown us more about that subject.
The confederate flag is another example. A symbol of rebellion and slavery. But I grew up watching Dukes of Hazard and not even thinking about that as a kid. I was watching these 'dukes', in a sweet car, jumping over shhh...stuff, to get away from the law (more irony btw).
Now that I'm older, I think about what a black person might think when they see that flag. Similar to somebody who is Jewish and how they might react to a Nazi symbol. But I, like most other white people, could never relate to that.
So when I see something like a Columbus statue or a Confederate General statue that was taken down, I say good, it’s about time.
Let me also add that it doesn't mean I think they should be destroyed. No matter what awful part of history they represent, it is still a part of our history. It should not be forgotten. As the saying goes, destroying the past dooms us to repeat it.