Let’s find a bet­ter sym­bol of Ital­ian pride than Christo­pher Colum­bus

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

The ef­fort to make Christo­pher Colum­bus a source of pride for Ital­ian Amer­i­cans cul­mi­nated in 1937 when Colum­bus Day was made a na­tional hol­i­day. It’s im­por­tant, though, to rec­og­nize that this — like sim­i­lar work on be­half of other groups — was con­nected to the “melt­ing pot” myth that hailed the as­sim­i­la­tion of immigrants into the gen­eral U.S. pop­u­la­tion with the un­der­stand­ing that the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion ex­cluded African Amer­i­cans (“Bal­ti­more’s Colum­bus mon­u­ments drawn into de­bate as memo­ri­als fall around the country,” June 25).

Colum­bus, more­over, car­ries a bur­den that St. Patrick or Casimir Pu­laski, for ex­am­ple, do not share. That is, Colum­bus ap­pro­pri­ated land from In­dige­nous peo­ple and took part in geno­ci­dal ac­tiv­i­ties and in in­tro­duc­ing race­based slav­ery to the Western Hemi­sphere. Surely there must be a his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter of Ital­ian back­ground more suit­able to memo­ri­al­ize, in whom Ital­ian Amer­i­cans (and the rest of us) can feel some pride. I would sug­gest the Ital­ian im­mi­grant Ar­turo Toscanini who was among the great­est or­ches­tral con­duc­tors of all time, not to men­tion a fore­most anti-fas­cist.

Ed Mor­man, Bal­ti­more

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