Monday, October 13, 2008

A Day that Lives in Infamy

My son says he's out of school because they're celebrating Columbus Day.

To which his droll ass mama says, "I don't know about anybody else at that school, but you are mostly certainly not celebrating Columbus Day."

Or, what Nezua and La Mala said.

ETA: If I ever teach the first half of the U.S. survey again, maybe I'll walk into my Texas or Louisiana (summer school) classroom and begin with this:
Every inch of North America is Aboriginal land which was stolen at the point of a gun, starvation, and the intentional introduction of disease.
I'm totally prepared to fight my way out.


Kimberly said...

My kid is in school today. But my husband and I both said something close to the same thing this morning on the phone when I explained todays relative lack of traffic to Columbus Day.

We won't be celebrating either!

Kismet Nuñez said...

"I'll walk into my Texas or Louisiana (summer school) classroom and begin with this:

Every inch of North America is Aboriginal land which was stolen at the point of a gun, starvation, and the intentional introduction of disease."

**shotgun in hand, looking around the room and at elle's back as we fight our way out**

I love it. Rock on.

At a doctoral student sister circle I went to recently, one of the grads said she starts class with: "Just so you know, everything we discuss will be about race. Everything I do or think about I do or think about through the lens of race, gender and class. And I expect you to." That's more of a rough than exact quote, but that was the idea.

Now, she does English not History, so maybe it is easier. But probably not.

Anonymous said...

my kids had no school today too. wtf. Is it a texas thing?

elle said...

Hi, Kim!

Kismet, with you at my back, I'm fearless, girl!

Noemi--if Kim's kid is in school, it's not all of Texas, but I'm sure it's a significant portion. And (to you too Kim) do your kids have to recite a TX pledge? My son has always had to in TX schools and that floored BFP and JustMe.

What floored me is that, in the year that we left, apparently they changed the pledge to include the line "one state, under God."

Giftie Etcetera said...

Have you read, "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" by Orson Scott Card? You should. It is a science fiction/alternate history novel set in the future where history researchers go into the past and attempt to stop Columbus from landing in the Americas. Your son would probably like it, too, and it's a good discussion starting point. Warning, it does contain a rape scene, so read it first before offering it to your son.

mrs. o said...

I agree Elle. We had to work today, but our students got out at 12:30. No one even stated it was because of Columbus Day.(My students would have wanted to know if that was a new rapper if I had mentioned it.) We scheduled parent/teacher conferences from 12:30-3:00. So no I did not celebrate Columbus and his cronies coming to America stealing land AND THEN going to another country to STEAL PEOPLE to bring back to work their stolen land.

Renee said...

Up north (Canada) it is Thanksgiving. I wrote a post about the link between Columbus day and Thanksgiving day today. We did the Turkey thing with the kids but we observed a moment of silence and I explained to them what this day symbolizes across North and South America. As they get older our conversations will get more in depth but I think that it is important that this is not a day of celebration but a day of remembrance.

k8 said...

FYI: Orson Scott Card is a homophobic hatemonger. Just so you know. For more info, just google his name + homophobia. A lot of people were really upset when he recently received an award from Young Adult Library Services Association. I was not a proud member at that moment in time.

While not as scandalous as The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter - in reality, Asa Earl Carter, speechwriter for George Wallace - it is still bad. (Carter wrote that "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" line. He managed to pass off Little Tree as a real memoir until 1991)

Really, Texas has it's own pledge? The Texas Declaration of Independence is scary enough for me. Nothing quite like a making the case for colonialism. I sometimes use it when we do rhetorical analyses in class.

Courtney said...

My kids were out for "teacher conferences" -- but I was working. I give pretty much the same line as you, Elle. Luckily, I have a receptive audience (and a few Native American students!) who are so glad I bring this up!

Had to correct my daughter though when she came home from Kindergarten and told me that Columbus discovered America. No, honey, he didn't.

Kimberly said...

I haven't heard a Texas Pledge yet. I sure hope I don't!

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...