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Bye Bye, Columbus Day

Brown University is the latest example of political correctness trumping America's heritage.

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April 22, 2009 - 12:30 am
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Several weeks ago the Brown University faculty ratified a student petition demanding that the university abandon its recognition of Columbus Day. The directive was enacted by Brown’s Native American student group, whose spokesmen defend their activism by pointing out the atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus and his men upon the indigenous people of the newly discovered continent. Some have suggested that the holiday be renamed Indigenous Day, but for now Brown has decided to settle for Fall Weekend — a weekend in which Brown students and professors will still enjoy a Monday off from work.

Now that Brown University has set new moral standards for preserving traditional namesakes, some are wondering if Brown students will petition to scratch the name of a slave-trading family from the face of their university.

Or will they look into the misdeeds of Martin Luther King Jr. in an attempt to save the nation from commemorating anyone who may have blemishes on his moral record? Will there now be an academic investigation into the countless atrocities committed by Native Americans, prompting the removal of tribal names from casinos and other landmarks?

Probably not. But nobody expects consistency from liberals anymore anyway.

Of course, academic effort to clarify history is a laudable activity, which is exactly the sort of innocence Brown activists are currently shrouding themselves in. We are merely correcting the record and then asking if it is appropriate to hold Christopher Columbus in such high esteem.

Fine. But more bothersome than whether or not Columbus’ name deserves enshrinement is the driving force behind liberals’ odd propensity to obsess over the transgressions of America’s traditional heroes.

Vilifying the American heritage is what passes as “progressive” and “enlightened” at Brown because it is an intellectual stance that stems from the university’s multicultural lesson — the politically correct teaching that commands students to recognize the worth of every society except their own, to honor and respect people of every race and creed except for whites and conservatism.

As the Brown Daily Herald recently editorialized, “White people, ranging from European colonizers to the government of the United States, have committed innumerable brutal offenses against Native Americans over the past 500 years. Honoring Columbus with a holiday glosses over a racist, blood-stained facet of our history and glamorizes the past as victorious manifest destiny.”

The Brown Daily Herald did not print this passage to be inflammatory. This is commonplace at Brown. This is Tuesday.

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