Maier ’17: Columbian Exchange Day

Opinions Columnist
Monday, October 5, 2015

Editors’ Note: This column has been removed after it was unintentionally published due to an internal error. The column made a racist argument about how Native Americans should interpret the meaning of Columbus Day and its history. We apologize to our readers for the offensive claims made in the column and for the shortcomings of our editorial process. After initially deciding the column was suitable for publication, a couple of editors read the column late last night and decided not to publish it. We contacted our publisher but were unable to reach them, and they printed the issue with the column inside. The article was also online for about an hour before we took it down. Having said that, we should have identified the issues with the column earlier in the evening and avoided the last-minute change altogether. Because we never intended for the column to be published, we do not think it necessary for the text to remain online. The Herald is committed to an accurate and thoughtful opinions section, and we are taking steps to prevent similar issues in the future. Though we continue to strive to promote a venue for the free exchange of ideas, we do not and will not tolerate racism. We invite readers to send responses to

  • Kenneth Lusk

    Following your logic, I suppose that Jews should celebrate the medical advancements that resulted from the experiments of Josef Mengele, and African Americans should honor the Atlantic triangular slave trade because of the development of textiles and shipping practices that resulted from it. Are you sure you shouldn’t be signing up for a membership over at Stormfront? Your articles give me the sense that your ideas would be very popular over there.

    • logic followed

      Both add more to their respective historical stories

  • Dillon O’Carroll

    Columbus didn’t think he was in India he thought he was in the East Indies which is why we call where he landed the “West Indies.”

    This article assumes that having all of these things (domesticated animals, different crops propping up over the world) is actually a good thing. What about the fact that world trade, agriculture, and domesticated farm animals have caused massive damage to the environment? What about the exchange of diseases that decimated entire peoples? What about the slave trade and the easy transportation of rum causing the proliferation of the disease of alcoholism?

    Don’t just take an opinion cause you you think it’s edgy to be anti-social justice cause you’re “different.” You could actually think, right? That’s why you go to college?

    This is basic.

    • BuddyGuy

      For better or for worse, the introduction of Eurasian crops, technologies, and livestock was, single- handedly, the most important event in the history of North America and the history of the American Indian.

    • Chris Robotham

      I think, as most people of all levels of knowledge do, that the domestication of animals (among other agricultural advancements) and the trade of goods across continents, with the notable exception of slaves, was a fundamentally good thing. It’s possible to arrive at this opinion without attempting to be “edgy”, just as it’s possible to arrive at yours without attempting to earn Brownie points with activists because you are afraid of the implications of openly disagreeing with social justice advocates.

  • Dillon O’Carroll

    It’s like you took one world history course and accepted all of it as fact without ever stopping to question it. This article is cool if you believe in the regurgitation of a single narrative constructed to help one type of people justify the creation of structures to oppress people and destroy entire cultures and the environment and humanity and do it while claiming intellectual superiority to discredit legitimate, opposing claims.

    Golly gee.

  • BDH Scum

    At least we still have free speech and don’t have to worry about the misguided liberal fools from trumping freedom of expression with their obsession with political correctness

  • saddened reader

    I miss the days when the BDH’s can’t-believe-they-published-this opinions were at least well written.

    • TaxiOnna

      Oliver Hudson, ’14 – A Legend in Trolling.

  • phewhomustnotbenamed

    kid luvs his livestock. must be a sheepshagger.

  • Alumni ’08

    I’m disappointed that the Herald chose to hide away this embarrassment. If Maier is as ignorant as the Editor’s Note suggests, this should be obvious to readers. This is part of the marketplace of ideas. Please restore the shoddy column.

    • ‘`*-.,_,-*’`*~-.,.~*’*~ (2014)

      not sure how i feel about this particular case, but two years ago a BDH commenter made me reconsider my opinion about whether it’s necessarily productive to provide a stage for any given viewpoint. i had never thought twice about it – i’d always figured, you know, “the more discourse the better!!”… but maybe not. the comment is here; the article is ‘Ingber ’15: Free speech at Brown?’ (because yes, this comes up about 5x a year, whether it’s in response to a douchey BDH column or a student protest of a campus visitor or panelist). i recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s the first para:

      I think there is an undeniable liberal student attitude on campus but the idea that [the] solution is always presenting a counter position and argument seems woefully inadequate. The article doesn’t address the complications and potential negative effects of the classic journalistic impulse to always present “both sides” of the argument. The best example that comes to mind is with media coverage of climate change debates where scientists against global warming who were widely discredited by the scientific community were presented as having equal authority to their debate opponents. By presenting them as the counter argument it legitimated their arguments and presented them as having equal authority on the topic. This has helped perpetuate the idea in the American public that there is still a debate on the authenticity of climate change within the scientific community despite its almost 100% acceptance of climate change as fact. Presenting this counter argument has been extremely damaging to progress on climate change in ways that will really only become evident as time passes and we began to see the full consequences of inaction.

      of course, we’re brown students and we’re good critical thinkers, blah blah blah, so it’s not like we will blindly subscribe to the opinions of whatever the BDH chooses to publish. but yeah, it might sometimes be the case that journalistic integrity involves using your discretion to prevent someone from standing on their soapbox to propagate harmful ideas.

      • Alumni ’08

        Sure, I agree with this. I think there’s a difference between proactively providing a platform to someone and hiding things away after you’ve been made a fool.

        • ‘`*-.,_,-*’`*~-.,.~*’*~ (2014)


  • notyetagm

    By this logic the Jewish people should be happy about the Holocaust because it led to the creation of the modern state of Israel.

    I believe that some American right-wing pastor (Hagee??) has actually made this argument, that Hitler was doing God’s will because his actions led directly to the state of Israel that we know today.

  • Eric Muller

    BDH folks, I think you’ve made a mistake by taking the piece down. I understand that you didn’t intend to publish it, but you did. Mistakenly published or not, the piece has now become a matter of public debate. By taking the piece down you are depriving members of the Brown community (like me, an alum) from knowing what the debate’s about, and you’re guaranteeing that even the discussion taking place on campus will be based on hearsay-based, distorted accounts of what the author actually said.

    Put the piece back up.

    • SonkWaban

      I agree with you entirely. Very well said.

  • Jane Smith

    Here’s the article, if anyone wants to read it:

  • myB

    “…it was unintentionally published due to an error.”

    Ugh, please use the active voice here. This sort of thing really annoys me…

  • laconchetumare

    Spoiled kids you are, Brown faggots. Como to the land of real men, Oregon, you wouldn’t survive one minute. Faggots

  • alum ’15

    To have an unpopular opinion is fine. Brown values those that question the norm; however, this does not apply to those that attempt to oversimplify issues that they know very little about, while silencing those marginalized groups that do have a stake in this issue.”Plotting an ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ demonstration over an egg and bacon breakfast is hypocrisy at its finest.” No. Using your privilege to write something that is so grossly oversimplified and uninformed while sitting on Native land is hypocrisy at its finest.

    • Brunonian

      “Indigenous People’s Day” is oversimplification. There is a lot more, besides rape, murder, and “oppression” that came out of the voyages of Columbus and stands as his legacy. The Columbian Exchange is a testament to that.

      • alum ’15

        Maier please give up lol.

        • Brunonian


      • Johnny


      • SonkWaban

        only because his legacy has been dominated by the so called victor’s voice, “his”story. Imagine what his legacy would have been if he committed those atrocities today. he would have been hunted down like bin laden.

        • BuddyGuy

          and from whence comes that victory?

  • Lilian S

    The authors name is Emma Maier.

  • Steve Mumford

    I thought it was pretty well-written. Insensitive, sure, but hey, you college students are here to have your preconceptions challenged, right?
    Here is a jpg of the original, for those who don’t want their paper censored.
    What amazing cowardice on the part of the Herald’s editors.

  • Peter Mumford

    This article was tone deaf and misguided, but to withdraw it in this abject manner, and then publish a rebuttal (when the original is not longer available) is the stupidest of self-censorship.

  • Alum

    This article was written by Emma Maier of Brown University.

  • SonkWaban

    I sincerely hope The Brown Daily Herald reconsiders the
    removal of M. Dzhali Maier’s commentary from the online edition after it was
    published for the print edition last Tuesday, October 6, 2015. While I agree
    the piece entitled “Columbian Exchange Day” was ill conceived and offensive, I
    believe the lesson you are conveying about censorship is far more damaging.

    Views like those expressed by Maier, a Brown 17’ who I am
    shocked to learn is a science and society major, need to be part of the dialog
    if we are to correct the errors of the past.

    I’m not sure where she got the idea that Columbus Day was
    established or even evolved to celebrate the Columbian Exchange but there is no
    evidence to back that claim other than her own personal experience.

    Meanwhile her column completely ignores the personal
    experience of the 12 million Arawak wiped out as a result of the practices
    established by Columbus who would be tried for war crimes if he were alive

    The atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus are well
    documented and I feel no need to repeat them here. I am however grateful to
    have been among the hundreds who took part in yesterday’s protest hosted by
    Native Americans at Brown (NAB) on the Brown University Green. I also signed
    their online petition to rename the fall weekend holiday that as of this
    morning has nearly 900 signatures. As a socially, culturally and politically active member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe It is my sincere hope that by next year
    Brown University becomes like so many other cities and universities that
    corrects this long standing indignity to Native people and officially
    celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day.

  • browntown

    You’re speaking English. Columbian Exchange game. set. match

  • Catulus

    Columbus was a sailor and in no way responsible
    for any “genocide”. The Spaniards who came after him may or may not have
    caused thousands of deaths of natives, but mostly by contagion of diseases.
    In any case, America would be discovered sooner or later, and populations would eventually mix. In fact now Mexicans (who are basically a mixture of the original natives + the Spaniards), are taking over the USA, or should we be against that too?
    Columbus’ discovery was nothing, a much worse crime is the current genocide of native white Europeans by invading Arabs and Africans. If Columbus discovery was a “genocide”, so is this.

  • shame on you

    Shame on you for pulling this article and thereby shunning conversation on a controversial matter. Maier intended for her article to be provocative, and so it was. But the article also made important points that are worth thinking about. You decided that Brown students couldn’t handle these points, and maybe you’re right. So much the worse for them, and so much the worse for liberal values at Brown.

  • odal14

    Though we continue to strive to promote a venue for the free exchange of ideas

    That’s not true, though. Not from what I’m seeing here.