I just published the following as a comment to this post and decided to share it with my readers.
In my Hispanic Civilization class, we read A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolome de Las Casas and discussed the atrocities committed by the Spanish conquerors against the indigenous people (or at least I tried to discuss the atrocities). The students, however, were completely stuck on the novel idea that Columbus was not a great hero and a wonderful guy. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t steer the conversation back to the indigenous people. It was all about the students’ disappointment in Columbus.
Forget about all those slaughtered brown folks. A white guy turned out to be not exactly perfect. There is real tragedy for you.
Even as we are sitting in the Americas, I still can’t get this Eurocentric perspective out of the students’ heads.