Columbusing: White People ‘Discovering’ Things They Didn’t

September 13, 2014
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From Jazz music to hip hop, and twerking to America these are just a few things that were ‘discovered’ by white people. That’s all be well and good except that these things already existed long before white people became aware of them. Luckily thanks to College Humor this frustrating habit now has a name. Columbusing – when white people ‘discover’ things that already exist.

While I know it’s great that the world is getting smaller, and different cultures all over are celebrated, there is difference between appreciating a culture and claiming you ‘discovered’ something new.

Events like the ancient religious Hindu Festival Holi – which is a festival of colors celebrated in India and Nepal – are now celebrated all over the world, but in many places no mention is made of it’s origin and it is stripped of all religious meaning. Basically it’s just people jumping around throwing color at each other – like they invented a big, funny game.

Or when people thought that all the videos of Brazilian girls twerking were because they were copying Miley Cyrus – whom they thought invented twerking. Twerking has been around in the hip hop scene of New Orleans since the early 90s and many have compared it to traditional African Dances.

These are just some of the things that have been Columbused (and I’m not even gonna mention America!). Well, at least next time when your hipster friend claims he just ‘discovered’ something you know has been around for ages, you know what he is doing – Columbusing!

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