During this MLK weekend, a great march was held in Washington D.C., the Indigenous Peoples march as well as a March for Life. I wish it was as simple as that, but of course, in the America we live in, nothing is that simple. A viral video had surfaced on Twitter and other social media platforms depicting a group of white male students from a Catholic school in Covington, KY seemingly berating a native american man, and Vietnam veteran by the name of Nathan Phillips. The video was brief, but showed Phillips beating a drum while the group of Covington children stood, smirking, and making tomahawk chopping motions all while sporting their little red and white “Make America Great Again” hats. Per usual, Twitter and other social media users took to the internet and feverishly sought to teach these kids a lesson by doxxing them, as well as seeking to get them expelled. I can’t say I disagree with their sentiments on this, upon my initial viewing of the video, I was enraged, I thought about all the preppy, white kids donning MAGA hats I see on a daily basis insulting and racially discriminating. That being said, we’ve reached a point as a society where we tend to handle all matters upon social media, and that breeds a level of conflict that’s more palatable through the internet rather than face to face.
As the story progressed, we started to see a much fuller picture of the incident through extended videos and various interviews with people involved. Upon seeing the interviews and videos, it became clear the children were in an argumentative stand-off with a group of Hebrew Israelites. Apparently, Nathan Phillips had stepped in between the Convington students and the Hebrew Israelites, trying to diffuse the situation. Sandmann, one of the students shown in the video can be seen smirking and smiling as Philips speaks, all of this culminating into one seriously offensive looking picture.
Many people have come to the defense of the students as well, saying they did nothing wrong and avoided violent conflict, including President Donald Trump, who will no doubt be using this to continue his fake news narrative. Regardless of how many people defend these kids, or how much these kids deny trying to coax reactions out of this man, or how they made racist remarks and gestures, there is something very interesting at play here.
In the fulcrum of this situation we are seeing three groups, privileged white children, A Native American veteran, and a group of marginalized black men, known as the Black Israelites. This situation can honestly be seen as a representation of American History and where we are currently at. Yes, there were people calling for the immediate defense of Phillips, but as footage came out, and the conflict grew wider, support for these kids grew larger and larger, that’s America in a nutshell. America historically values white Catholic males above all. These kids may have not gotten violent, and may have not even said what we think they said, but the hats and the expressions say it all. For you, a group of privileged white kids to attend a march for a a movement representative of respect and non-violence, while wearing a MAGA hat, an article of clothing that we all know represents a person and a party that seeks the oppression of minorities in America. I wonder if these kids took a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture while wearing those hats.
I’m not blaming these kids, I’m blaming the parents and the president. Where were the chaperones of this trip? Most likely joining in with the children, the same chaperones who are probably representative of many of these kids parents, who all most likely taught them to believe these things and to act this way. There is a lack of respect for the struggles of minorities and indigenous people in this country and it comes from a serious lack of education and understanding of American history, and I’m not gonna make a blanket statement about Kentucky, but I have a good feeling they aren’t teaching too much about the the history of Indigenous people or the history of civil rights.
“The only solution to pollution is a people’s humane revolution!” – Bobby Seale