As Columbus Statue in SF Defaced, Professor Issel Comments on Evolving Perspectives of History

Monday, June 15, 2020
Photo by Chris Devers

KCBS-AM (SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco State University History Professor Emeritus Bill Issel told KCBS Radio that cultural perspective today is influenced by awareness.

“The horrible history we have of particular ethnic groups trying to wipe out groups that they consider the undesirable other,” Issel said.

Columbus had been embraced as a hero by Italian Americans facing discrimination and violence in the 19th and 20th centuries, but history has been amended in recent decades as the explorer and his men also enslaved indigenous people in the Caribbean and brought widespread disease to the New World.

“We are very much in a world shaped by the aftermath of the horrible ethnic and territory-grabbing mentality,” Issel said.