I posted earlier this week about Boston Mayor Kim Janey’s disgraceful decision to stomp on Christopher Columbus and Italian-Americans, but after reading some of Janey’s additional comments on that decision, I have more thoughts to share.
In response to criticism by City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Janey replied, “Italian-Americans have a rich history in the city of Boston and certainly in our nation. We should celebrate all cultures, and I want to remind everyone here: Justice is not a zero-sum game. We can lift up the experiences of indigenous peoples, and we can also respect Italian-Americans.” (source: Stop Anti-Italianism)
I agree with this statement. But the problem is that Janey’s executive order obliterating Columbus Day goes completely counter to her words.
If Janey actually believed that we should celebrate all cultures, she would not have gotten rid of Columbus Day. You cannot truly celebrate Italian culture without celebrating the very first Italian-American, Christopher Columbus.
If Janey actually wanted to respect both indigenous peoples and Italian-Americans, she would have created an Indigenous Peoples Day on a different date. Taking away Columbus Day inherently disrespects Italian-Americans.
Janey says that justice is not a zero-sum game, but her decision to obliterate Columbus Day makes justice exactly that. Needlessly, she took a holiday away from one group of people in order to create a new holiday for another group. She lifted up the experiences of indigenous peoples at Italian-Americans’ expense.
Janey’s statement makes absolutely no sense given her actions with respect to Columbus Day. If she actually believed her own words, she would not have done what she did. There is indeed a way to lift up indigenous people while also respecting Italian-Americans, but obliterating Columbus Day is not it.