UPDATED: 9:00 A.M. ET, Oct. 11, 2021 —
A growing number of cities and states are officially recognizing Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an updated federal designation either replacing or being celebrated alongside Columbus Day, an old holiday that honored a slave-owning, racist, disease-spreading Spaniard who is controversially credited with “discovering” land that was already occupied by Native Americans.
The fact that the latest installment of Indigenous Peoples’ Day falls in a year marked by a continued nationwide racial reckoning makes it all the more significant. Especially since right-wing conservatives have been insistent about not recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a legitimate holiday while continuing to boost Columbus Day.
That was true even as think pieces like one published Monday by NBC News are encouraging people in the U.S. (especially Italian Americans) to ditch any Columbus Day festivities in part because Christopher Columbus, the explorer for which the holiday was named, wrote in his journal that the Indigenous people already inhabiting the lans he “discovered” would make “good servants” mining for gold, a task for which any opposition was met with “facing amputation or death if they came up short.”
In other words, Columbus is far from worthy of being honored — unless, of course, you’re in favor of colonizing people through racist brutaity.
The Indigenous People’s Day movement has been a long time in the making, with South Dakota first observing it in 1989. Fast forward 31 years and more than a dozen other states have joined in along with hundreds of cities, including the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
There was even a social media movement last year to “cancel Columbus Day” and allow Election Day to be a federal holiday instead. The calls came as monuments of the colonizer started tumbling across the country.
The fledgling holiday suggests that more people are warming up to the truth that Christopher Columbus was simply one of the countless white people to claim credit for something whose existence is actually owed to Black and/or brown people. But ever since Columbus docked his ships in the Bahamas in 1492, Europeans have been busy “discovering” things that already existed.
Yes, we said the Bahamas, because that’s where he landed, as well as the island later called Hispaniola, The Washington Post explained:
“He also explored the Central and South American coasts. But he didn’t reach North America, which, of course, was already inhabited by Native Americans, and he never thought he had found a new continent. You may also remember that it is believed that Norse explorer Leif Erikson reached Canada perhaps 500 years before Columbus was born, and there are some who believe that Phoenician sailors crossed the Atlantic much earlier than that….
“He committed atrocities against native peoples on the islands and decimated their populations while he also terrorized Spanish colonists, according to the biography ‘Columbus’ by Laurence Bergreen.”
No matter, American history revisionists continue to hail him as a great adventurer who discovered North America.
In honor of what has come to be known as “Columbusing” — or cultural appropriation — keep reading to find nine things that have been co-opted over the years in a dangerous practice that aids in the erasure of whole communities of color and their contributions to society.
Happy Columbusing Day!
1. Black womanhood
A firestorm of controversy erupted in 2015 when former Spokane, Washington, NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal was outed as a White woman after masquerading for years as Black. She argued that she is transracial and identifies as African-American. Sorry, but Black womanhood is not a costume that can be put on and off when it’s convenient. Later for this madness.
2. Big Butts
Kylie Jenner was called out for rocking cornrows like she just discovered them.
Caycee Cunningham, a White Utah teen, complained that she was kicked out of school over religious beliefs after growing dreadlocks. She grew them while studying abroad in Guatemala as part of what she called a spiritual journey in her Hindu beliefs.
5 and 6. Du-Rags and baby hair (Blackfishing)
People have been sporting du-rags to smooth down baby hairs and waves since time immemorial. But in recent years, the Black cultural staples have been adopted by high fashion… and irresponsibly so.
7. Collard Greens
Since Whole Foods named collard greens the new kale in 2015, the vegetable has reached new popularity heights. Never mind that greens have long been a staple on dinner tables in Black households.
Gentrifiers usually try to keep it on the low when they take over communities of color in the controversial process. But not a white man who was caught on video in 2015 berating another white man about his white privilege, declaring that he settled Brooklyn.
Black Twitter was relentless when Slim Jesus, the 18-year-old Ohio rapper, released the video for his single, “Drill Time.” Some Twitter users implored him to take a seat and create some pop music or something other than hip-hop. To say that “Slim Jesus” is not alone would be quite the understatement.
What else has been Columbused?
'Karens' Gone Wild: Videos Show Privileged White Women Can't Stop Trying To Police Black People
1. ‘Stay In Your Hood’: Dog Park ‘Karen’
Source:@FredTJoseph/twitter 1 of 35
At the dog park in Brooklyn with my fiancé and this white woman was threatening to call police and told us to “stay in our hood” because she had our dog confused with another dog who had been barking loudly. So, I started recording and she tried to slap the phone out my hand. pic.twitter.com/9MXwMiU3Qb— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) September 26, 2021
2. School Committee ‘Karen’
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3. Tigger flag Karen
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Nosy woman complains about a flag pic.twitter.com/srQk12YmW9— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) August 9, 2021
4. Victoria's Secret Karen
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Karen charges at a black woman and then turns on white woman tears when she realizes she’s being recorded. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/9gzksgorLN— chris evans (@chris_notcapn) July 12, 2021
5. Mailbox Karen
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I wish a Karen would roll up and call herself taking a package from my house because she suspects “something is going on in there.”— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) July 7, 2021
What is wrong with these white women? pic.twitter.com/ROX3zLPcTY
6. Karen goes shopping at Ross
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This happened at a Ross Dress for Less…— Michael Harriot (@michaelharriot) June 13, 2021
Told you. pic.twitter.com/FkSLsgxPUc
7. Karen Defaces Monument To Only Black Member Of Lewis And Clark Expedition7 of 35
8. Judith Ann Black, racist Burger King Whopper KarenSource:Sumter County Sheriff’s Office 8 of 35
9. Stephanie Denaro, AKA "Bagel Karen"
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RACIST Anti-Masker Karen Calls Black Bakery worker B**** Ass N-word for denying service. pic.twitter.com/nRsF95RFmK— Karen (@crazykarens) March 24, 2021
10. Courtside Karen
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PRAY FOR LEBRON pic.twitter.com/Z8oAhl2kqf— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 2, 2021
11. Arlo SoHo Karen
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Wow! This woman made baseless claims against @keyonharrold and his 14yo son at @arlohotels Arlo SoHo — then assaulted them, scratching Keyon & tackling his boy. Worse, the hotel manager defended & empowered her actions, and refused to apologize after her claims were proven wrong! pic.twitter.com/LqHboiAEd6— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) December 27, 2020
12. Trader Joe's 'Karen'
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This is a Trader Joe’s today. In Los Angeles. Cases are through the roof in California. Is there any way to reach these people?— Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (@JoshuaPotash) June 27, 2020
13. 'Karen' the angry neighbor
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hey guys!! this is my new neighbor!! pic.twitter.com/yZxsQD1daS— bailey (@bailey3jenkins) June 27, 2020
14. ‘Karen’ Pulls Gun On Black Woman And Daughter After Chipotle Argument14 of 35
15. Nurse ‘Karen’ Fired
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Caron Jones — that’s Caron with a “K” as in “Karen” 👩🏼⚕️ — also called the Black Lives Matter movement a "ploy" for Black votes before the North Carolina nurse got fired for her racist social media posts.https://t.co/WQn68gNToF— NewsOne (@newsone) July 1, 2020
16. St. Louis 'Karen'16 of 35
17. ‘Karen’s Husband’ Investigated After Calling Cops On Black Men17 of 35
18. Convenience Store ‘Karen’
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It was the I’m the wrong nigga for me 😭 pic.twitter.com/2Rv33NNn2k— HEAVYY ON IT 🗣💕 (@HeavyyCampp) June 25, 2020
19. Nurse ‘Karen’ Loses Her Job For ‘Black Privilege’ Video19 of 35
20. Seattle ‘Karen’ Has A Total Meltdown After Black Driver Records Her ‘White Tears’
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"I HAVE A BLACK HUSBAND!"— NewsOne (@newsone) June 23, 2020
A "Karen" in Seattle identified as Leah completely lost it when Karlos Dillard, a Black man, confronted and recorded her after he says he was the victim of her racist road rage.
The video has gone viral as Karening gets worse.https://t.co/X5ryYpQlhF
21. Officer ‘Karen’ Is Slammed For Crying White Tears Over McDonald’s Wait21 of 35
22. Kroger ‘Karen’ Blocks Black Mother From Pulling Out Of Parking Lot Over ‘Gatorade’22 of 35
23. San Francisco ‘Karen’ Who Called Cops Over ‘BLM’ Art
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A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stencilling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall. “Karen” lies and says she knows that I don’t live in my own house, because she knows the person who lives here. #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/rOpHvKVwgP— James Juanillo (@jaimetoons) June 12, 2020
24. Karen the "Shorewood Spitter"24 of 35
25. Karen's husband
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26. Karen's other husband26 of 35
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Racism rots your brain pic.twitter.com/OuzPmyRN6d— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) May 17, 2020
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On the next episode of “are white people ok? 👀”.... meet Red Lobster Karen 🦞 pic.twitter.com/ElgRipPyrU— Lives in a Police State. ✊🏽🦺🌈 (@angel_felixv) May 13, 2020
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I can’t believe this is real. This lady went out to video shame everyone who dared to have fun in the sun at the beach and then she yelled at a Trader Joe’s worker over social distancing.— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 18, 2020
Karen needs to just stay home and leave the rest of us alone... 🙄🤦🏻♂️pic.twitter.com/QUeZkRSudW
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K*ren: "Arrest me"— Scottie PIPM (@scottiepipm) April 23, 2020
K*ren: 😲 pic.twitter.com/5NJnPsSj8k
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I’m baffled. Just saw this on the news. Woman who drove 1.5 hours to go to the beach with her family complains about other people at the beach who have done the same as her. Does she not see she’s part of the problem #StayAtHomeSaveLives #COVIDIDIOTS pic.twitter.com/iowllyZEk2— Colm McAfee (@mcafee77) May 17, 2020
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Happy Indigenous People’s Day! 9 Things White People Have ‘Columbused’ was originally published on newsone.com