Cancel Culture vs Christopher Columbus, an interview with Robert Ferrito, National President of the OSDIA Commission for Social Justice

By Mary Kovach, Ph.D.
Graphic designed by Frank Cruz

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. He lived his life promoting Christianity and holding true to his values. He made four voyages in rough conditions to the New World, initially believing he was going to meet the Grand Khan and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the intention of converting the local people to Christianity. Columbus dressed as a Franciscan monk, brought gifts to the natives, and made his men pray hourly. He forbade his men to cause harm to the locals. He defended local tribes. He befriended Chief Guacanagarí. This is all documented prior to the American revisionism and the cancel culture movement. Columbus is celebrated twice annually in Puerto Rico.

It’s not feasible that Columbus committed genocide. It's unfortunate that the legacy of Christopher Columbus, a man who discovered the Americas and promoted Christianity through his actions and words, has been distorted and twisted into a villainous historical character, ultimately segregating ethnic groups and causing unnecessary and unwarranted conflict. Revisionism isn't fair to future generations and must stop.

In this interview with Robert Ferrito, National President of the Commission for Social Justice, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, he clarifies the importance of Columbus to Italians and Italian Americans, identifies the source of how the good name of Columbus was tarnished, addresses the renaming/replacing of Columbus Day, and provides a go-forward path.

Why is Columbus so important to Italian Americans?

Columbus has been the symbol through which Italian -Americans have celebrated their ethnicity. Columbus Day was first proclaimed a national celebration by president Benjamin Harrison in response to the 11 Italian immigrants lynched in New Orleans in 1891, which by the way was the largest lynching in United States history, and half a century later the United States government chose Columbus Day of 1942 as the day to formally remove the “enemy alien” designation that was applied to Italian immigrants during World War II.

Why was Columbus so revered for centuries and in the last few decades, his good name turned into a historical villain?

Columbus has been revered as a hero. Let’s face it, he did discover a route to the new world. His good name was turned into a historic villain by a person named Howard Zinn, a proclaimed Marxist, who hated the United States of America. Zinn took excerpts of Columbus’ writings and tailored them to suit his own Marxist views of the United States. The shame of it all is that he turned an entire generation against Christopher Columbus, and he skewed everything that was correct about Christopher Columbus. Zinn’s book is being used in the education system, and this false narrative is being used to corrupt the education of our children in school. What a disgrace - that educators are uneducated.

Why is it imperative that we continue to celebrate Columbus both as Americans and Italian Americans?

It is extremely important that we continue to celebrate Columbus Day not only as Italian Americans, but as Americans. Aside from his navigational skills, what happened after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World is where the truth lies. European settlers with skills (for example, mathematicians, teachers, scientists, doctors, and builders) followed making this country what it is today. This is history. You cannot change what came after his discovery of this new world. We as a country learn from our history. We try not to make the same mistakes, but no matter what, it is still history that cannot be erased, which is being attempted in this country today.

How are these local municipalities able to substitute Columbus for other ethnic heritages without regard to the local community? Do they understand this inherently causes conflict between groups rather than promoting inclusion and celebrating our diversity?

There are local municipalities that are substituting Columbus Day with Indigenous day with no input or regard for the Italian-American community. The decisions are made unfortunately, through their ignorance of the historical facts; their ignorance is exacerbated by their unwillingness to listen to the facts, and by ignoring the rule of law. They try to appease the indigenous population by insulting another ethnic group. I believe these people are part of the cancel culture, buying into this critical race theory that is looking to erase the history of how America came to be. I believe these actions are their rebellion against colonialism, and their attempt to change America. I find this very shameful because they are dividing all the ethnic groups pitting one against another. Diversity is celebrated by addition, not by substitution or subtraction.

How do you recommend we move forward as Italian Americans?

We as Italian Americans have to continue through our Italian American organizations throughout the entire country, to educate every single person on the true facts about Christopher Columbus. We cannot falter. People must know the truth about Christopher Columbus. We must dispel the false rumors. Our elected officials must stop the pandering to the cancel culture in this country and must take the time to educate themselves. We the Italian-American community must make that happen. We are the only ethnic group where ridicule, discrimination, and being portrayed as gangsters is tolerated, and allowed by the politically correct in this country. Discrimination against the Italian – American community cannot be accepted any longer.
The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America joined together with other Italian – American Organizations throughout the country to defend our heritage, our culture and to protect the good name of Christopher Columbus.

For more information on the true history of Columbus and to clarify any mistruths, please read Dr. Carol Delaney’s book “Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem,” Dr. Mary Grabar’s book “Debunking Howard Zinn,” and Rafael Ortiz’s book “Christopher Columbus the Hero: Defending Columbus from Modern Day Revisionism.”


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