Monday, October 11, 2004

Not Having Been Discovered Yet Day

The headline comes from an ancient Flip Wilson routine (of course, it's not as though there are any new Flip Wilson routines, Mr. Wilson having slipped the surly bonds of Earth six years ago) in which Christopher Columbus makes landfall in the Americas on a local holiday by that name, and proceeds to ruin everything for the preexisting residents for centuries to come.

The highlight of the bit is a Native American Princess — inexplicably but hilariously speaking in Geraldine's soulful screech — telling the European explorer, "We don't wanna be discovered. You can't discover nobody if they don't wanna be discovered. You better discover your [anatomical reference deleted] away from here."

I feel certain that many Native Americans would share that sentiment still today.

Of course, in Flip's less sensitive heyday, we weren't using the term "Native Americans" yet. We still referred to indigenous North Americans as "Indians," perpetuating our cultural Eurocentricity. On the other hand, the title of the Flip Wilson album on which the Columbus routine appears is Cowboys and Colored People, the latter of which no one uses anymore except the National Association for the Advancement thereof.

Times change. Now, no one gets Having Been Discovered Yet Day off except the folks at the bank and the Post Office.

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