Why it’s not enough to just drop Columbus Day

To the Editor: The bias mentioned in the commentary on Christopher Columbus’ anti-Muslim animus is not limited to any one group in American history.

While rejecting Columbus Day and renaming it something that honors oppressed peoples is laudable, just focusing on one injustice is not enough to acknowledge all of the injustices that have been perpetrated against many different groups throughout U.S. history .

American history is full of such injustices, from the original sins against Native Americans to slavery, violence against immigrants, lynchings, the internment of Japanese Americans, the rejection of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, anti-Asian violence in the pandemic era, Discrimination against the LGBTQ community and more.

So it would make more sense to have an October vacation that gives us the opportunity to ponder all of the injustices in US history, not just one. Perhaps such a holiday should be called “Acknowledgment Day” to be a day of atonement for transgressions against all people wronged in American history.

Mark Henderson, Dana Point


To the editor: Yale historian Alan Mikhail could have added the fact that the men of Hernán Cortés, veterans of the recent conquest of Spain from the Moors, shouted “Santiago Matamoros” as they went to fight indigenous forces in the what would become moved in to New Spain.

St. James was the patron saint of the Spaniards. “Santiago Matamoros” referred to St. James, the “Murderer of the Moors,” and Matamoros became the improbable name of several cities in Mexico.

Michael Hittleman, Los Angeles


To the Editor: By translating Mikhail Columbus’ life and time into our 21st century perspectives,

The Spanish language has been enriched by seven centuries of Muslim interaction in the Iberian Peninsula. This has left its mark on thousands of words.

Look in every Spanish-language dictionary: Around alfanje – the scimitar that is mentioned in the article – I counted more than 30 from Arabic with the prefix “al”: alcoba, alcohol, alfil, alfombra, alforja, algebra, aljibe, almacén, almohada, Alcaucil and Alcalde.

Columbus used the words of his time – Italian and Spanish – to describe new things. And Moro (Moor) was and is not a pejorative noun.

Maria Elena de las Carreras, Northridge

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