South Park Threw Shade At Columbus This Week, And They’re Not Wrong

South Park has never been shy when it comes to incorporating real life into its script. This week, the Comedy Central classic took on a controversial topic that hit close to home: Columbus.

Although the majority of the episode is about Christopher Columbus, South Park didn’t pass up the opportunity to call Columbus, Ohio out.

Columbus in this week's South Park Episode

Throughout the episode, called “Holiday Special”, Randy is on a quest to eradicate all things related to Christopher Columbus, even though he had previously supported the explorer. “It was a different time then,” Randy says, offering an explanation for his previous years of dressing up like Christopher Columbus for various events.

The kids of South Park are outraged. Through Randy’s campaign to get rid of Christopher Columbus, he gets Columbus Day canceled at South Park Elementary. The students don’t care who Christopher Columbus was or what he did. They just want their day off of school. At one point, Cartman even says, “In 1492, Columbus got us a day off skewl”.

South Park has always had a way of zeroing in on popular culture, of getting to the core of issues with humor and brutal honesty. Of course, not everyone in Columbus is a racist as Randy claims. But the truth we cannot ignore is that our city is named after a man who had a massively negative impact on the people who were already living in North America.

There are 20 places in the United States called Columbus. Our Columbus is the largest city on the list, which is likely why South Park decided to single it out. There are countless statues, memorials, and territories all around the world that are dedicated to Christopher Columbus. So how do you change something so widespread?

If we can’t change the name, perhaps we should change the meaning. We should teach in schools what Christopher Columbus’ impact on indigenous peoples was. We shouldn’t glorify exploration at the expense of the people who lost their lives due to it.

People have been asking themselves for a while now what we can do to solve this problem.

I have to say, I do think that Cumulonimbus has a pretty nice ring to it. But I may have a better idea.

We can keep the name Columbus. It can still be in honor of Christoper Columbus. Just not the one you’re thinking of. Instead of statues dedicated to the explorer, we’ll put up statues dedicated to the filmmaker Chris Columbus. Can’t you just picture Harry Potter and Home Alone memorabilia throughout our fair city?

In all seriousness, this is an issue we as a community need to address. If we’re going to keep our name, we should consider a way to honor the indigenous people of this land. We shouldn’t hold Christopher Columbus in high esteem for accidentally discovering the North American continent.

Columbus treated the indigenous people he encountered as problems to be solved rather than people with rights to their own land, bodies, and cultures.

Columbus and his men used violence and slavery to further their goals of exploration. They forced native peoples to abandon their culture and convert to Christianity. They also introduced new diseases that had catastrophic and fatal impacts on the native people in the Americas, wiping out entire civilizations.

We should call our city Columbus, not because of him, but in spite of him. Let us be reminded of the fact that there were entire civilizations here before Europeans arrived, and that modern society was built on the graves of those who died for their homeland.

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