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Cancel Columbus from Catholic High School? Cancel Columbus. A group presenting themselves as former students, was allowed to publish an anonymous revisionist guest editorial in the Waterloo-Cedar …More
Cancel Columbus from Catholic High School?

Cancel Columbus.
A group presenting themselves as former students, was allowed to publish an anonymous revisionist guest editorial in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, advocating for changing the name of the big Columbus Catholic High School in Waterloo, Iowa, which belongs to Dubuque Archdiocese. It presents Christopher Columbus, the famous Italian explorer and navigator, who gave his name to the school as a terrible villain. Historical revisionism is an attempt to re-write history to make it fit one’s own ideology.

Colonisation. The group claims that “if what we now know about Christopher Columbus was widely known when our school was founded, it would never have been named for him.” However, since the school’s foundation in 1959, no substantially new information about Columbus was uncovered. They complain that “our teachers taught that Columbus discovered the ‘New World’ ignoring other Europeans there first, and more importantly, the people who already lived there.” Yet, it was Columbus who opened the way for the widespread European colonisation of the Americas. If the former students of the High don’t like this, they should try to move back to Europe from where their ancestors came.

Re-Name America? The former students complain that Columbus was involved in the enslavement, mutilation, sexual abuse, and killing of natives – an accusation that can be made against almost all imperialist state actors, including the present American government. What matter is that Columbus was not a saint, but he is a historical fact that cannot be undone by cancelling it. Amerigo Vespucci was another Italian explorer from whose name the term “America” is derived. Vespucci engaged in wars against natives in today’s America. Therefore, according to the logic of the anti-Columbus worries, America should be re-named.

Cancel Un-Culture. The High School board and the archdiocese have so far declined the request to remove the name “Columbus” from the high school. The anti-Columbus group insists that cancelling Columbus’ name is not “cancel culture.” The group insists that – quote – “our high school deserves a name which reflects its Christian values.” Here, they have a point. Independently of the historical valuation of Christopher Columbus one may wonder why the school’s founders named the school after a secular explorer and not after a saint. Nonetheless, in times of a cancel un-culture, changing the school’s name now would convey a wrong message.

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