To achieve any goal, progress is an obvious necessity. However, when your goal involves another party (like the Arawaks when trying to enslave them and collect gold), things can get complicated. Culture (more so, cultural differences) plays a big role in this.
While the Europeans have a clear line between rich and poor, wear clothes from head to toe, have gender inequality and are largely influenced by Christianity, the Arawaks were just about the opposite. Whether the Europeans saw this as a chance to achieve power easily, I don’t know, but they did – and the power got to them. The Arawaks hospitality was taken for weakness and Columbus’ group grew more powerful – as well as more conceited, cruel, and entitled. Simple tasks such as walking a small distance required the riding of the Arawaks’ backs or being carried in hammocks, and that is unreasonably conceited.
Killing almost became a form of entertainment and they would end someones life without a second thought. But this, at least to the Europeans, was seen as “progress.” But progress is subjective, and seemed to be an excuse for everything and justified at one’s convenience. And by “one’s,” yeah, I mean the Europeans.
While the Europeans captured more slaves and their progress furthered, the Arawaks societal progress was sent zooming backwards as they grew weak and started dying off rapidly. With that edge of self-righteous superiority, the Europeans did things that were inhumane – things they surely wouldn’t do to another European. The Arawaks saw no need for conflict at all, but the Europeans, growing up where the total need for space and land was a quality everyone had, saw this as something completely foreign to them.
Cultural differences like these make it harder for two civilizations to get along and settle things, especially when their morals are so different. The Europeans showed little care for the inhabitants and its environment while the Arawaks tried to welcome them. The Arawaks just wanted to share but the Europeans wanted riches and riches alone.
Morals are the base of all these decisions, but with different cultures comes different morals. Just like in later times with the Puritans, they used and appealed to the Bible to justify their actions.
Yet all this enslavement and murder is overlooked because in the end, Columbus is considered a hero and celebrated at least in this culture. I think we are almost obligated to take Columbus’ and his successors sides, because their progress led to the becoming of todays Americas, which is where we live so obviously we have a connection. It’s like we’re taking it us “winning” with Columbus, but it is not our own winning. We must not ignore the true events that really occurred, as they provide us with insight and can actually help better the future. We can learn from past mistakes and make sure not to repeat them.
And c’mon, lets be real, who here thinks that Columbus isn’t a hero, but really just
a jerk power-hungry?