In recent years, a number of cities and states have opted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The logic behind this is twofold. Not only does it honor and celebrate the history and culture of Native American people, but honoring Christopher Columbus is said to have the effect of whitewashing the mistreatment of indigenous Americans that dates to the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
The move toward celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day has really gained momentum in the 2010s, with states as diverse as navy-blue Vermont and beet-red Louisiana making the switch. Ironically, the first state to make the switch was a red state, South Dakota.
When black conservative pastor Jesse Lee Peterson noticed this trend, he hit the ceiling.
Peterson was speaking in code. He frequently calls liberals “children of the lie,” or pawns of the devil. So when Peterson went on this 280-character tirade on Monday morning, he was effectively saying that supporting Indigenous Peoples’ Day amounts to supporting a demonic trick.
Really, Jesse? How is it demonic to honor the people who really did discover America? Native Americans were on both continents for centuries long before Columbus tried to go east by sailing west.
Peterson tried to answer that question on the Monday edition of his show. Watch here.
Peterson brought on his producer, James Hake, for a discussion on why people at universities near his home base in Los Angeles are against celebrating Columbus Day. It was obvious where this was going when Peterson asked Hake why whites were joining “coloreds” in opposing Columbus Day. After all, Peterson argued, it’s obvious that the opponents of Columbus Day “hate white people,” and it didn’t make sense to him that whites were “helping their enemies to destroy them.”
Hake thought part of the problem was “brainwashing.” He claimed that whites in America don’t know that people of color are out to reduce them to servitude, as has supposedly been the case in South Africa since the end of apartheid. He peddled a longstanding white nationalist shibboleth that whites are being butchered in South Africa–a claim that has reached as far as the White House. Hake believes there’s something else at play–a lot of white intellectuals are trying to falsely smear Columbus as a rapist and murderer.
Peterson wondered if whites know that they’re joining hands with people of color who secretly hate them. Hake believed that most of these whites live in highly educated areas and “uppity suburbs,” where they associate with blacks who are nice to them.
Well, that’s interesting. So when whites support efforts to honor Native Americans and other people of color, they’re effectively selling the rope to their own hangmen? Gee, I thought they were simply trying to right a terrible wrong.
If you thought Peterson and Hake’s colloquy sounded like something you’d hear from a white nationalist podcast, it’s no accident. Peterson has had few qualms about schmoozing with white nationalists. Last year, for instance, he actually appeared on one of the more notorious white nationalist podcasts, The Daily Shoah. He advised host Mike Peinovich–better known as Mike Enoch–to couch his message in love rather than hate.
A few months before that, he actually invited the nation’s most notorious neo-Nazi in a suit, Richard Spencer, on his show. Watch here.
If Spencer or any other white conservative or alt-righter were to claim that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is “demonic” or a backdoor effort to destroy white people, that person would get ratioed into oblivion. But when someone like Peterson spews this, it gets scarcely a ripple.
That doesn’t make it any less outrageous. When a supposed man of God claims that you’re being played by the devil if you want to honor Native Americans rather than Columbus, one has to wonder if he’s listening to someone other than the man upstairs.
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