Italian culture has relevance at Columbia (commentary)

Nov 08, 2018 372

BY: Christina A. McGrath

A recent commentary published on SILive by a disgruntled Italian American indicts Columbia University for its lack of acknowledgment of Christopher Columbus and, more broadly, the Italian American community. As a native Staten Islander currently pursuing her doctorate in Italian studies at Columbia, I felt the need to respond to this very passionate – and tragically misinformed – opinion piece.

I’d like to respond to several claims from the previous article. Firstly, the author states that Columbus is persona non grata at Columbia -- this is one of the piece’s few true statements. While he was a bold explorer, Columbus was also an extremely problematic figure. He did not, as was believed, discover America -- historical records actually show that he did not even step foot on the North American continent. His voyages to modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic culminated in mass rape, enslavement and murder. For this reason, he is no longer celebrated in many communities, including Columbia’s.

Read more


You may be interested