Was Columbus White?

On another side of this holiday, we find another lesson: a lesson about whiteness.Columbus Day is often treated, on both sides, as the day that so-called white people discovered/conquered (see my previous post) non-whites.This is mistaken: in 1492 "white people" hadn't been invented yet. The invention of Whiteness didn't happen for several hundred years later.In the British colonies and Whiggish United States, Columbus --- and all of Spanish and Italian culture --- would never … [Read more...]

The Politics of Language on Columbus Day

The two Spanish words that summarize the predominant reading and counter-reading of Columbus Day are descubrimiento and conquista.Descubrimiento refers to that the word 'discovery' points to in English. It emphasizes the subjective experience of Columbus, Spain, and, by extension, Western Europe. Colonialism. When this subjective experience is glorified and placed into a colonial mythology, it becomes Columbus Day as we know it.Conquista refers to what the English word 'conquest' gets … [Read more...]

Evangelizing the Evangelized: A Love Letter

Dearest Church,The Year of Faith is almost right on top of us. Don't you just love these goofy "years" we celebrate and observe together, on the somewhat arbitrary declarations of our popes? I sure do. There is nothing more serious than doing something arbitrarily, which begins to unlock the mad, Augustinian genius of faith: we know because we believe, not the other way around. In the days and months to come, expect lots from me on this Year of Faith stuff.But first, nostalgia:I … [Read more...]