Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Columbus Exposed

If raised in this country, when in grade school, you were taught about Christopher Columbus, the celebrated explorer who "discovered" the great country we call America. At first mention, one may picture Columbus towering over his three famous hsips, compass in hand. Columbus thought he found a route to India, truly stumbled upon America, and as a result, great cultual exchange took place. As you get older and transition into middle school and high school, you may then begin to learn that Columbus slightly exposed Natives, took their land, and caused wide spread disease among them, which lead to their decline.
Now that I am in college, I was exposed to Howard Zinn's "Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress." Zinn attempts to enlighten readers about the WHOLE truth concering Columbus and his voyage by providing primary resources from Columbus' own journal. Zinn himself is well aware of the fact that one rarely ever uncovers the entire story; this is his stab at doing so. Howard Zinn is a very educated man that attended Columbia University. Although he did obtain a Ph.D in history, he knew barely any of the facts that he brought to light before doing intense research for his piece. It is said in "Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress" that Columbus and the Europeans exposed Native Americans to violence, slavery, and even rape. His main motives were greed and he did his best to achieve it at any means.
While not exposing the whole truth, but rather only the optimistic side I understand is more appropriatefor young children however, once middle school is reached, I do think that students should be more exposed to the whole truth about our country and how we came to be. We, as people, are only as smart as what we know. Is concealing a part of out truth restricting us? In my opinion, it is. After reading Howard Zinn's writings, I became even more aware of the power of the media. Not only does it posses the power to expose us, it posses the power to limit us.

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