Separating Reality from Myth
Even though Ms. Julianne Malveaux in her article “Fall Follies, Myths and Statues” (see Black Issues, Oct. 28, 1999), ignores the positive in the achievement of Columbus, can one really state that the world is a worse place for his discovery? Has not America evolved into the model against which individual rights all over the world are measured?
“The fact that our slave labor has been the foundation of this country [and] is unrecognized” just isn’t so. This is not to deny or diminish the contribution of the suffering. What counts are not myths and statues.
Opportunity is what America offers. And opportunity for all is greater in 1999 than it was in 1492 or at any other date since. Columbus may have inadvertently discovered the Western Hemisphere, but we can do better. America must deliberately insure that opportunity exists for all Americans — in fact, not in myth.
This requires work, not talk; statesmen, not viragoes. Commitment to the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence offers hope and will inspire future achievement, not the self-serving rewriting of history. Cooperation and joint effort must underpin a better America, a land of equal opportunity.
To denigrate individual contribution so as to elevate those of merit who may not be universally known is not constructive to closing the gap between the reality and the myth and the mystique of America.
Dr. Richard D. Wellbrock
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