This morning someone posted a video showing a man with a sledgehammer vandalizing a monument to Christopher Columbus in Baltimore as he rants about “genocidal terrorists like Christopher Columbus and George Washington.” The Baltimore Brew reports the 225-year-old monument to Columbus is the oldest one still standing in the United States.
The two-minute video also features a monologue that lists capitalism among Columbus’ worst sins. “Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere,” the narrator says. He continues, “Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas.”
“The culture of white supremacy preceded the United States. It’s at the foundation of U.S. culture, business, bureaucracies, and psychology. Observe how vehemently Republican and Democratic misleaders defend genocidal terrorists like Christopher Columbus and George Washington.”
Christopher Columbus has become an increasingly polarizing figure over the last two decades. Those who think his history deserves more criticism and less celebration have the right to make that case. In the past few years, a growing number of cities have renamed Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day so it’s not as if there has been no movement on this issue.
Just yesterday a handful of people in Columbus, Ohio gathered to demand the removal of a Columbus statue at city hall. That’s how this ought to work. You get like-minded people together and make your case to your elected representatives. Smashing things with a sledgehammer in the middle of the night is not what democracy looks like.