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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Should we sink Columbus Day?

    You may not have known, because UA doesn’t observe Columbus Day, but the annual holiday celebrating the famous navigator was Monday. However, the holiday gets more controversial every year. In Denver, 83 protestors were arrested after pouring buckets of blood and dismembered baby dolls along the annual Columbus Day parade route, arguing that Christopher Columbus was less a heroic explorer than an oppressor who launched centuries of genocide against indigenous people.

    While the objections to Columbus Day, emphasizing the racist and exploitative actions of Columbus, are important history to understand, attempts to stop the Columbus Day parade reflect an ignorance of the democratic principles that make the United States unique. We are a nation where, regardless of background or credence, citizens must respect the right of all people to express an opinion or belief. Attempting to stop the parade, stifling the expression of a particular view, is a mob rush onto a slippery slope of suppression.

    However, this protest highlights the strange paradox politicians find themselves in today: While holidays strive to celebrate the values and national characteristics that unite us a country, in an age of increasingly disparate views on religion, history and the role of state, the opportunities for collective celebrations are diminishing. Columbus Day has clearly become a Rorschach ink-blot test of national heritage, a time to celebrate Italian heritage, indigenous rights or, as the president delicately chose, the generally shared importance of the adventurous spirit. Columbus Day should be a time to focus on the values we share rather than the history that divides us.

    -Matt Rolland is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.

    Why get rid of Columbus Day? Every truly patriotic, red-white-and-blue-blooded, liberty-lovin’ American knows the story behind our great holiday. In 1776, Christopher Columbus, fed up with outrageous British taxes on his tea, set sail for the New World with a fleet of three ships – the Maine, the Mayflower and Ol’ Ironsides. After landing at Jamestown, a noble Indian guide named Sacagawea led him to Plymouth Rock, where Columbus met with the Pilgrims and signed the Constitution, establishing the great American nation we know and love today. How can anyone seriously suggest that we callously jettison such a historic part of our national heritage?

    A look at other nations shows that eliminating Columbus Day is just another way to revile everything that makes our nation great. Down south in “”other America,”” the dastardly Hugo Chávez was the most recent to rename Columbus Day. In 2002, he rechristened it “”Día de la Resistencia Indígena.”” I don’t know much Spanish – I prefer speaking American – but I’m pretty sure that translates to “”I hate your freedom and everything America stands for.”” Listen up, Columbus-haters: if you don’t like our hallowed American mythos, you can get out!

    -Connor Mendenhall is a sophomore majoring in economics and international studies and is the opinions editor for the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

    Slam-dunk damages for Browne

    Last week, a federal jury found that New York Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas sexually harassed Anucha Browne Sanders, a former team executive, and ordered him to pay $11.6 million in damages. Descending the courthouse steps, Browne Sanders exclaimed, “”What I did here, I did for every working woman in America.””

    While Browne Sanders high idealism is laudable, it is in no way congruent with the outcome of the actual case. The defendant, Thomas, came out of the trial unscathed and hopped in his private jet to continue his job as head coach. Meanwhile, Browne Sanders will never again be subjected to corporate trash-talking and unwanted come-ons, not because misogyny has been ejected from the office, but because she’ll never have to work again. This verdict will not deter any future sexual harassers and does nothing for women in the workplace.

    Thomas proves this point when he belied his former on-court dribbling prowess, tactlessly concluding that blacks and whites are somehow held to different standards in referring to women as “”bitches.”” This nonchalance doesn’t convince me that he, or others like him, will change their macho ways. Until a robust and independent mechanism for complaining about sexual harassment – before one is fired – is instituted, certain spheres of the corporate world will remain rife with misogyny. Jordan played above the rim. Thomas plays above the law.

    -Eric Reichenbacher is a junior majoring in economics and international studies.

    There is no way of knowing if Browne Sanders did it for the money or for “”every working woman in America.”” But sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t something we should turn our backs on. As far as sending a message or improving the situation for women in the workplace, it absolutely sends a message – an $11.6 million message to corporate America. And yes, the court requires payment in exuberant amounts, but regardless of the dollar amount, every case won and every voice raised is progress. What else could she have done? Kept her mouth shut and taken no action, for one. That is far more damaging to the cause than the transfer of money. Like any cause, no single case or situation will change anything. But refusing to let it slide, and refusing to stay quiet, will change everything over time.

    -Chelsea Jo Simpson is a journalism junior.

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