Many people are going to observe Columbus Day tomorrow, October 8th. However, Christopher Columbus did not "discover" America. There were Native peoples in America, some with quite advanced and thriving civilizations. As a result of Christopher Columbus' so-called "discovery" of the Americas, there was an instittionalization of racial hegemony i.e. the establishment that one race was deemed to be superior while another race was deemed to be inferior thus deserving of being conquered and enslaved or worse yet to be exterminated.
Before the advent of Christopher Columbus, race was totally inconsequential regarding conquering and enslaving people. Conquered and enslaved people were of various races-it was the fact that they were conquered and enslaved which denoted their "inferior" status. Of course, the old standbys of socioeconomic class and religious affiliations added to that precarious mix.
However, that concept changed in the pivotal year of 1492. After that time and the so-called conquest of the Americas, race become an extremely crucial element in the interfacings between the conqueror and the conquered and consequentially, the enslaver and the enslaved. RACE was NOW the determining factor regarding who was the conqueror/conquered, the enslaver/enslaved. In the Americas as opposed to Europe, one could easily tell who was on top and who was at the bottom. Sadly, the psychological legacy of this racist thinking still resonates to this period! Let's discuss this!
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