It’s Sunday, in a few minutes “True Detective” will be on with Mahershala Ali and that mesmerizing mouth of his (there is just something about his mouth that does it for me). I’m getting my turmeric green tea together to add my fiber into cause I’m old as hell, when someone shares with me a link with the headline “HATE HOAX: Native American Activist Approached Chanting Covington Catholic Teens, Got In Their Face Native American man told media that teen ‘just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat’”. It’s from, Information Liberation, a suspect “news” source at best (check how they self-identify in their About Us section).
By now, we’ve all heard about and seen the video of the Covington Catholic High School students in MAGA hats, appearing to taunt and mock Native Americans as they sing chants and beat drums in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It sparked massive backlash everywhere as folks relentlessly castigated them. The video was reposted and retweeted thousands of times and soon images of the students and contact information for the school emerged in hopes that we’d collectively “hold these folks accountable!” Cause, like, that’s what we do as a society now. The fury had reached such a high decibel level that by noon, all the major news carriers were covering it.
About the time I was pouring stevia into my hopefully, cell-saving elixir, is when I see the aforementioned headline about it all being a “hoax”. I looked at it and upon further research, discovered an extended video of said incident.
Apparently, this is how it went down…
The Lincoln Memorial was ironically a hot spot for the convergence of several groups and marches. The CCHS kids were meeting there after the March for Life rally and the Native American group had just finished the Indigenous Peoples March. The Black Hebrew Israelites were also there, which I have no idea why other than to do their best Westboro Baptist Church impression and piss off everybody. Anyway, the Black Hebrews — whom one of the CCHS student’s mother called “The Black Muslims”, which I found to be hilarious for some unbeknownst reason — were, particularly in high spirits. They apparently went back and forth with the CCHS kids in the MAGA hats AND they had words for the Indigenous group (really) proclaiming that they weren’t serving the “true god” (insert a long ass sigh here). According to the story, tempers were getting heated between the Black Hebrews and the CCHS kids. This is when Native American elder and veteran, Nathan Phillips brought his crew through in what was actually an attempt to tame the mood between the Lindsey G
Now with this new info, we all have a better context for what went down. However, to frame it as some “hoax” as the Information Liberation headline attempts to infer is also disingenuous. A hoax is an intentional deception, a practical joke, a magic trick. The initial video wasn’t a hoax. Woody Harrelson wasn’t there teleporting in fake Native Americans and hypnotizing young innocent boys in MAGA hats like they were under duress from the whole Lakota Nation. David Blaine wasn’t
Anyway, no one made them engage in that manner at all. The full video doesn’t exonerate the CCHS kids of wrongdoing as many will attempt to persuade you that it does now. It still shows an insane level of disrespect to a group who they admit, weren’t the original cause of the confrontation, to begin with. Like, I don’t know how Mr. Phillips came up, but Kentucky is in the south. And down here, smirking in an older person’s face for any reason would’ve gotten me “these hands” by my mom even if I didn’t agree with that older person. You just gracefully bow out, and get “big mama” to handle your lightweight, especially if there was no aggression, not even words spoken; a non-threat, simply chanting and drumbeating.
So why toss that disrespect towards the group that was trying to play referee between some adolescents and the “Wokalites”? I’ll tell you why, because hundreds of years of taught American history, films and marketing told them they could. It told them that, that culture and any non-Western European culture is something that isn’t to be taken seriously. Those “other” cultures are at best to be tolerated and fodder for mockery at any moment. Because a U.S. representative for years and just last week, has been telling them no one else really matters. And so even if one’s intention isn’t to be bigoted and racist, you’ve been pumped full of enough anti-Native American rhetoric, that you can just easily dismiss a tribe elder and laugh at the culture and its leaders and not realize what you’re doing is contributing to the environment that has them out there marching for more visibility, justice and equality in the first place.
But hey… the “Black Muslims started it”.