Part of a series on Cultural Appropriation. [View Related Entries]

Updated Dec 17, 2017 at 02:13AM EST by Y F.

Added Jul 08, 2014 at 01:02PM EDT by Don.

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Columbusing is an Internet slang term used to describe the act of white people appropriating non-white culture for themselves without recognizing its true origins. The term is named after the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who was credited with discovering the Americas while it was already inhabited by indigenous people.


The earliest definition of the neologism "columbusing" was submitted by Urban Dictionary user Harunei on January 26th, 2013 (shown below).

urban dictionary definition of Columbusing

However, the term didn't receive mass exposure online until June 23rd, 2014, when CollegeHumor[1] released a sketch comedy film titled "Colmbusing: Discovering Things for White People" (shown below).


The day after the release of the CollegeHumor comedy sketch, it was highlighted on The Huffington Post,[3] where it received over 40,000 Facebook likes in the next two weeks. On June 25th, the women's interest site Jezebel[5] published an article praising the video for calling out cultural appropriation. On July 6th, NPR[2] published an article titled "Columbusing: The Art of Discovering Something That is Not New," which cited a BuzzFeed[6] article referring to empanada baked pastries as "hand pies" as an example of Columbusing. On July 7th, the Internet news site UpRoxx[4] highlighted the CollegeHumor video.

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