In 1492 he sailed the ocean blue...and since the politically correctness movement he has encountered more choppy waters than ever.
I think Columbus was fascinating and incredibly ahead of his time. Think of how hard it was to have to prove that his science and math were right against all around him who based on myth and the all powerful religious establishment (who favors lack of knowledge even to this day) that persecuted him and anyone else who had the nerve to just ask a question. I do not agree with his actions against the natives that he encountered on his travels but I also do not lessen his accomplishments because of those actions. He was a man - a human - with flaws and attributes, he had both more than most of us. I love when people say how they would not have acted as he did - I believe it because am pretty sure they would not have struggled to prove their brilliant hypothesis and they are after all more evolved in their understanding of people (or one would hope). He was typical and atypical of his time...once again he was human.
I am not sure when the politically correct became the gatekeepers of information but they are no better than Columbus's fanatic detractors. Based on their judgement books are banned (because you know if you do not read Tom Sawyer the racist terms used in it ..what never happened?), people are held to some Puritanical outdated notions, and most of all we miss out. It is also banned books month -- really we still ban books - unless they are bomb manuals why do it???
Throughout history great accomplishments and discoveries have been made by incredibly shitty people. Progress is always a vicious victory - and the best we can do is portray it realistically while trying to learn from our history how not to act and what to act upon.
Evolution - you know that thing that scares certain people - is among my favorite concepts. The idea that we can morph from needs to wants to decisions. So with that in my house we will learn about Mark Twain (quite the left wing radical) and about the times when racism was not only around but acceptable..think it is still around but we have made it unacceptable as we should have. I will teach them about evolution and how to understand science to the best of their knowledge (and to look to science and fact rather than rumor and google). I will share with the them who explorers and the natives they encountered. were Most of all I will encourage them to believe in their ideas. That is what I take away from Columbus - he was a bully, bully victim, explorer, conqueror, vicious, beaten man who paved the way for a nation of bullies, victims, explorers, vicious, incredibly kind independent thinkers who push progress and who are not stagnant based on a history that binds them.
In the famous words of Bugs Bunny
"she's a round"..."she's a flat"....."she's a round"!!!!!!!! Science wins