So, I want to admit that I was wrong about the boys at the March for Life rally.
Here's the breakdown to what we now know:
The racist group known as the Black Hebrew Israelite's harassed a whole bunch of high school kids, calling them racial slurs (specifically the African American boys and Native American activists) and homophobic slurs.
Nathan Phillips went up to the Covington High School kids and began playing a drum/singing a song, seemingly to keep the peace.
An out of context video put into the world, appearing that the boys had surrounded Phillips, chanting racist things, etc.
Phillips gave an interview telling his side of the story, and everyone was outraged, myself included.
It's a mess.
Here's my genuine reaction to it now.
I have had many direct interactions with the Black Hebrew Israelite's, as their home base is literally a few blocks from my apartment in Harlem. They're awful, and I would love more media attention to be focused on them in general. Like most radical racist groups, they sprinkle tiny bits of truisms in to push their awful separatism agenda, and clearly have hints of violence within their message. Literally, they were harassing High School kids with racial and homophobic slurs. These guys are super gross.I genuinely believe Nathan Phillips account of what happened. I don't think it's fair when people are calling him a liar. He definitely DID put himself directly in contact with the Covington kids, but I don't think he meant agitation. This is all speculation based on my experience studying psychology, military training, and experience being directly involved in protests where people whom I am horrendously opposed to are present. I like to call it 'a really educated gut feeling'.
Now, on the kids.They're kids.I don't blame them for acting the way they were. They were chanting things that are generally associated with modern day sports (which I do consider these chants to be horrendously racist, but that's another debate entirely). The 'smirking kid' was reacting as any awkward teenager would act in a circumstance that they were feeling uncomfortable in.I still stand by my initial reaction to the adults in charge. This should be used as a learning experience. If one is willing to attend an obviously heated protest, wearing gear that is obviously politically charged. Please don't pretend that wearing a MAGA hat doesn't attract negative attention. There's a reason I don't wear political gear. It brings attention to the person wearing it and brings people who don't know you to make automatic assumptions about you.
What these kids can learn from this is... If you go to a political protest wearing gear that shows direct support for a controversial politician, you are setting yourself up for backlash. Backlash is okay. It happens in the real world everyday. The question to ask is this..."Am I willing to deal with the backlash I could potentially bring upon myself?"
I know this was a rambling post, but I wanted to apologize for putting more outrage out into the world. I'm currently working on a follow up email to send to Covington High School's principal to clarify my initial email I sent him yesterday.
Below are some links that helped me navigate through this ridiculousness.
This is my email I just wrote to Principal Rowe at Covington Catholic High School due to his students conduct towards an indigenous veteran. For more information, read this story HERE.
His contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Principal Rowe,
I hope this email finds you well.
First and foremost, I am writing you to tell you that I am a full supporter of free speech, even when it it something I disagree with on a principled level.
Secondly, I am writing you to let you know that I am utilizing my free speech to discuss the disgust I felt watching your students harass, mock, and intimidate a Vietnam veteran and indigenous citizen of the United States this Saturday at the March for Life.
I currently serve in the Army National Guard and to be completely upfront, watching a brother in arms get harassed by children was infuriating. I am not saying that they are not allowed to speak up for what they believe in. I am not saying that they should get 'in trouble' for their beliefs.
I AM saying that all actions face consequences, and that their actions came off as entitled bigotry, enraging a large portion of the country, myself included.
I know you will do the right thing. This should not be a moment of punishment, but a moment of teaching and learning, as well as accountability.
Because they are children, I put much more accountability on the adults in their lives, including you.
All the best,