It no longer seems necessary as my point of view is suddenly becoming generally accepted. But here is an interesting piece on the origins of observance. I don’t think many people appreciate the stigma and discrimination once faced by Italian immigrants in the United States. Like many Irish and people from other parts of southern and eastern Europe, they have not gone “white” for at least a couple of generations. So observance of Columbus Day was important to the Italian-American community as a recognition that they are true Americans.
However, as a federal holiday that carries symbolism for all Americans, it’s a bad choice. It’s actually a bad choice for Italian Americans, since Columbus was a killer idiot. I give you Adam Conover ruining Columbus Day. Furthermore, he was not Italian – Italy did not exist in his life and he did not speak Italian. If I asked him “Are you Italian?” (presumably in Ligurian, which is the language he understood) would have said no (yes, Genoa is in what is now Italy but you would say that Cetshwayo Was he South African?) And he never set foot in North America nor was he aware of the existence of the North American continent, as he thought he was in Asia.
But the deeper problem, of course, is that making Columbus day a federal holiday proclaims that the United States as an entity is defined by European conquest. This is really an essential part of the story, but it’s not the whole story, and it’s not something anyone should be proud of. The party is an insult to the people who were here before Columbus, to the Africans who were kidnapped and brought here in chains as slaves, and to the Asians, who he thought he was killing and enslaving because that was the thing to do. It’s also an insult to anyone who doesn’t admire killer idiots. So let’s not do it anymore.