Outside of being broke or not getting enough napkins in the drive thru, one of the worst feelings in the world is when someone blatantly harms or disrespects you and you aren’t in a position to retaliate. For people of color, it’s an all too familiar power dynamic that often defines our experience as American citizens.
Whether it’s the cop who’s hell bent on breaking your will or the boss who berates you will racist innuendo, you’d be hard pressed to find a person of color who hasn’t had to talk themselves out of creating a scene, going to jail, or worse.
Which brings us to this:
In case you were unable to attend, the first Indigenous Peoples March took place on Friday in Washington, D.C. It’s purpose? To unite “Indigenous peoples across the world to stand together to bring awareness to the injustices affecting Indigenous men, women and children”. Sounds pretty noble, right?
Unfortunately for those in attendance, this march also coincided with another march occurring around the same time—the March for Life. Which bills itself as “a peaceful demonstration to share the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand”.
While minding my black ass business last year on my way to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I had the unfortunate luxury of witnessing the March of Life myself. Which essentially amounted to a deluge of MAGA hats and white guys telling women what to do with their bodies.
I would imagine this year wasn’t much different, but what I found alarming was the amount of teenagers and children present as their parents barked on anyone who opposed their views. And I’ll admit, as I braved the crowd on my way to the museum, there were more than a few times I had to talk myself out of throwing hands.
But this year it appears, at least according to their website, students from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School had every intention of invading the nation’s capital to make a statement at the March for Life. But unfortunately, they’ve made the wrong one.
While their website outlines their mission to “embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ in order to educate young men spiritually, academically, physically, and socially”, I don’t know what the fuck that has to do with harassing indigenous elders committed to social justice.
But naturally, people were more than outraged once the clip—in which a MAGA hat-clad teenager stares down an Indigenous Peoples March protester at the behest of his chaperones and classmates—hit the Internet:
In response to the backlash—which has inundated the school with phone calls, emails, and poor reviews—Laura Keener, the communications director with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, released the following statement:
“We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it.”
But considering we’re merely days removed from our Idiot-in-Chief cracking jokes about the Battle of Wounded Knee, one of the deadliest attacks on Indigenous Peoples in American history, I can’t say I’m even remotely surprised.
Update: 1/20/2019, 2:28 p.m. ET:
Because bigots often prove themselves incapable of taking accountability for their behavior, it comes as no surprise that the mother of the offending party removed her Klan hood in order to come to her son’s defense.
“Did you hear the names of the people were calling these boys? It was shameful,” she wrote to Heavy. “Did you witness the black Muslims yelling profanities and video taping to get something to further your narrative of hatred??”
I don’t know what the hell this has to do with a group of MAGA hat-wearing white kids acting a complete ass during this Indigenous Peoples March, but in the interest of providing context to the chaos that ensued, additional videos have since surfaced in which a group of Black Israelites are seen antagonizing the Indigenous Peoples as well:
Here’s the rundown, according to the Independent:
Separate video shared online showed a group of black men standing near the scene of the confrontation, arguing with the Maga hat-wearing Trump supporters. It is unclear to which religious group the men belonged, but they could be heard quoting passages from the Old Testament.
Amid claims online that Mr Phillips had himself participated in harassing the boys, another video shows the moment he arrived at the scene of the confrontation. The 64-year-old can be seen interposing himself between the two groups, ending a few yards away from both, before the students approach him and begin chanting.
The intimidation of Mr Phillips, meanwhile, has prompted a torrent of outrage. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that the footage “brought me to tears”, while actor Chris Evans said the students’ actions were “appalling” and “shameful”.