Remember Columbus Day; remember we are all immigrants



By the Editorial Board

This Columbus Day, let us as a campus community work to end the national immigration divide by focusing on our roots. No matter how long our families have been in this country, nearly every American has one thing in common: immigration.

A lot of people around the world celebrate Columbus Day, and for Americans it’s Oct. 8. On this day, we acknowledge Christopher Columbus’s landing in the Americas in 1492, a feat many once incorrectly dubbed “discovery.” What we like to ignore as a nation is the fact that this country was inhabited already, and because of that, many argue that we should not celebrate this day. The waves of Europeans who came over after the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria set sail did not settle this country. It was already settled and belonged to many tribes of Native Americans. Everything we call our own about this country was stolen, and in order to move forward in a healthy way, we have to admit this to ourselves.

As many of us know, Columbus arrived in South America in what is now Venezuela, incorrectly assuming he had arrived in India. To this day, many people refer to Native Americans as “Indians,” an insulting title at best. European introduction to America set into motion what would lay the foundation for the American Dream: genocide, persecution and theft. Though this language seems harsh, it is important to remind ourselves of these truths, especially as our country faces controversial discussions on immigration again. We cannot talk about the immigration issues facing our country now without acknowledging these historical facts.

There has been a divide in our country lately over what it means to be an American and who all should be able to claim that title. We at the Kernel would like to use this holiday to remind our campus community that we all started out as immigrants, and discrimination against current immigrants is hypocrisy.

Beginning in June of 2018, perhaps one of the most controversial immigration issues of our lifetime arose: Family separation at the southern U.S. border following several new immigration tactics from the Trump administration. We all remember the weeks following. Pictures flooded the internet of crying children, distraught parents and angry politicians. Then came the reuniting phase. According to AP News on Jul. 27, 1,820 children had been reunited with their families.

People both supporting and vehemently opposing the zero-tolerance policy that separated so many families took to social media to express their views, and there was a common phrase in the arguments of the people who supported the separations: “send them back where they belong,” a phrase that suggests a lack of empathy and understanding of this nation’s history.

Part of the beauty of America is that anyone can belong here. It is part of the miracle of adoption. Diversity of backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and races is what separates our country from others. At the heart of who we are meant to be, we are meant to advocate for adoption. This country doesn’t rightly belong to any one set of people. Many have used the argument that we have to protect our borders. This is in many ways a separate discussion, but we will say that opening our doors and hearts to people in need is one of the most patriotic things we can do as Americans.

This Columbus Day, let’s all focus on what binds us. This country has done many things that none of us are proud of. Let’s not repeat history. Let’s not lose our humanity over greed, a sense of border privilege or misplaced nationalism. The beauty that is America is that we invite all people with open arms and that everyone has an equal chance to succeed.