Yep, see here we are. So today I got out and did another (and a different) 10 miles. My schedule was rearranged at work, so I’m not sure if I can do ten tomorrow, it depends on when I wake up. So we will see. The run itself today was fairly uneventful, which is great! It was the same pace as yesterday, even though it was an admittedly easier route. But 10 miles is 10 miles either way. I was a little tired, and a little more sore, and I band-aided the nips.
So it’s impossible to shake my confidence in the things I know I know. Meaning, if I know that something is true, you have to move heaven and earth to get me to believe it to be not true. Basically, I need to see the evidence, not just someone saying there’s evidence, I need to look at the reports, the raw data from the studies, I really need to see the information right in front of my face. I want to make sure someone isn’t fudging the numbers to make their point seem valid. It’s the skeptic in me.
But the things I really know, are very very few. Most things I have no more idea about than anyone else. Because in all honesty, the things humanity truly know are very few when we take in the enormity of existence. So I don’t know why so many people are so fervent about what they “know” but whatever. But it’s very easy to shake my confidence in the things I’m not sure about. I have lots of doubts, and I don’t trust my own judgment most of the time. It makes me good at learning things, because I’m usually pretty sure I don’t know what’s best. But I can also be a bit fragile. I get that people generally only say something when they want to complain, but I really do need some positivity, else I just think I’m crap at whatever I’m doing. It really is both a blessing and a curse. Particularly professionally.
But then with something I know today, someone was complaining that the attacks on Columbus Day were leaving them feeling like they would have nothing left to celebrate their “Italian-American identity”. I tried very nicely to explain that there is no such thing as an “Italian” and Columbus certainly wouldn’t have identified as such. That people from the South shouldn’t look to Columbus, the Medici, DaVinci, or any of those Renaissance figures. That it is a form of erasure of a culture, which was, and in ways still is different. But of one that is being lost, and needs to be brought back from the watered down dishes and mobster movies (which was NOT part of the South until after unification, brought about as crowd control by the North).
Now, I know I am coming from a place of knowledge about these things, I’ve been reading on it extensively. I am trying to improve, not just my Italian but, my dialect as well. When I go shopping I look at the labels on my foods to see if they were grown and produced in the South. If I can help it of course. If the government in Rome isn’t going to spend money here, if they’re not going to send an equal share of the grant monies coming from the EU down here, then I should work hard to keep my money down here. The point is, here we are over 150 years since “unification” and yet there is still horrible inequity. Our grandparents and great-grandparents went to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Brasil, Argentina, Chile because they were being hunted down and murdered because they refused to submit to the new king. Why do I want to identify with people from those lands? Now this particular person admitted that Columbus was pretty crappy, but it wasn’t about him, it was about their identity and the treatment of Italians when they arrived in the New World.
Even that isn’t a good argument though. So you are going to support a holiday celebrating someone who was as problematic as the people your ancestors were escaping in the Old World? Someone who, if the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies wasn’t so strong back then, would have been treating the citizens of that country as badly as he was treating the peoples of the Caribbean. Not to mention the day was never intended to be about Italian identity, it was about Catholic identity. The Catholics who founded the organization which ultimately lobbied for the holiday were not Italian. It was about a well-known Catholic with a tie to the New World, that was all. So basically, in no way is Columbus Day a good stand in for “Italian-American Day”. This was the only point I was making, but the person got very angry with me. I suggested that given that many of the peoples who today call themselves “Italian-American” have family roots in the Napoli area, that using San Gennaro as their day for identity was a better choice. San Gennaro being the main patron saint of Napoli. There’s already a big festival in “Little Italys” all over the US for San Gennaro, particularly in the most famous Little Italy in New York City.
I have put lots of thought into all this. I have considered it for a very long time. Because something should be done. Regardless of how people viewed him in the past, he did so much damage to the people of the Caribbean. I get it, the organization which bears his name shouldn’t have to change their name. Honestly, it kind of makes sense. They came here, he came here, he did bring Catholicism here, right or wrong. So that’s that. But beyond that, celebrating him regardless of your intent, is horribly insensitive toward indigenous peoples, particularly Taino and other peoples of the Caribbean. That was my point, it was a lost point. But celebrating Columbus is no different than celebrating Jefferson Davis. To some people they only represent oppression.
(Yep, used the same band twice even! Same Album different cuts even!)
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!
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