Here is another contender for the most offensive tweet ever written. Earlier I wrote about the fact that people (and I use that term loosely) were offended by the existence of the Nao Santa Maria, a replica of the flagship of Christopher Columbus that travels around the world to educate people about history and sailing. In response to a completely innocuous tweet by the ship’s Twitter account, a despicable individual called Trevanion Grenfell wrote the following reply:
I don’t even know where to begin when explaining how offensive this is and how unacceptable it is that someone would think or write it.
First of all, Columbus was neither genocidal nor a rapist.
Second, the Nao Santa Maria is neither horrible, nor a glorification of genocide. It is a beautiful replica of a historical ship, which took immense skill, craftsmanship, and hard work to build. Its presence makes the world a better place.
Third, to suggest that a beautiful replica of a historical ship should be burned is utterly appalling and despicable. It is sickening, heartbreaking, and infuriating that a human being could see something so beautiful and good and want it to be destroyed.
Fourth, the Nao Santa Maria does not constitute “rape-apologizing, genocide-excusing, whitewashing colonial bullshit.” It is a ship replica, and literally none of those terms accurately describe it. The ship has nothing to do with rape, as Columbus did not rape anyone. Nor does it excuse genocide, as Columbus did not commit genocide.
But more importantly, even if Columbus had committed rape and genocide, that still would not make a replica of his ship bad in any way. People have a right to admire, honor, glorify, and commemorate any historical figures they want to. Every historical figure, every culture, every civilization has good points and bad points. People weigh and evaluate factors differently in determining which historical figures they deem worthy of honor and commemoration. Yet Grenfell is presuming that his opinions about which historical figures are honorable are the only opinions that should ever be taken into account. To him, the feelings, ideas, and viewpoints of others do not matter. Anything that he personally dislikes, he argues, should not be allowed to exist. What right does he have to say that a ship is not welcome in the state where he lives?
The Nao Santa Maria presents a mostly positive depiction of Columbus and his crew. That is not “whitewashing,” nor is it “bullshit.” It is a version of history different from the version that prevails in today’s society. This is something that the world needs more of, not less.
Fifth, the use of the term “sic semper tyrannis” is nonsensical and bizarre. This Latin phrase, made famous as the Virginia state motto and also by John Wilkes Booth, means “thus always to tyrants.” But neither a replica of a historical ship, nor the organization that created it, are tyrants. Grenfell and those who share his ideology are the real tyrants here, as they are the ones who are attempting to obliterate all cultures and perspectives other than their own.
Other than all that, this tweet makes perfect sense.
In conclusion, Grenfell is the one who is truly horrible in this situation. He is an intolerant bigot and a cruel, vicious bully who deserves to be expelled from planet earth. It is heartbreaking that a beautiful, educational ship replica is not allowed to exist in our society without being subjected to this type of cruel, evil, racist abuse.
Ironically, Grenfell claims in his Twitter biography to be a “supporter of… wellness for all people.” This is obviously false. If he cared one iota about the wellness of people of European descent, he would not advocate for their culture and history to be erased. If he cared one iota about the wellness of people such as myself, who love Columbus, he would not advocate for everything that makes us happy to be obliterated from the world. Like so many people in today’s society, Grenfell cares only about the well-being of people like him. So much for diversity and inclusion.