Catholic Boys Chanting, Smirking at Native American Were Absolutely Wrong (Opinion)
Those Catholic High School kids from Park Hill, Kentucky chanting with and staring down a Native American protester in Washington over the weekend were absolutely in the wrong.
I realize we've deemed this story, courtesy of a Presidential Tweet, as another anti-Trump fake news story, and while some of that might be true, we've completely missed the point. These kids, especially the one made famous in the stare-down photo with the Native American protester, were sarcastic and disrespectful. They should have removed themselves from the situation and furthermore, a decent minded adult chaperone should have been there to correctly guide them away.
Instead, the students engaged with the protesters, especially the Native American Group. They jumped up and down and chanted to the beat of the drum, including a traditional 'sports-like' tomahawk chop and what seemed like singing that mocked the Native American song. And then, there's the photo of the young guy staring down the Native American activist, Nathan Phillips. I can't help but find the behavior of the students as disrespectful and that of the chaperones and the school totally irresponsible. This whole thing really could have ended badly.
The students from the Covington Catholic High School were there on a field trip to participate in a Pro Life demonstration. They were in that area waiting for their bus pick-up. The entire event involving the students seemed to go on for just over 60 minutes, based on a 90-minute video taken by the Black Hebrew Israelite group.
And just to be clear, I do understand the facts of what really unfolded, despite what people told me from this morning's radio show:
•The story was initially reported incorrectly by the media, probably because the Native American, Nathan Phillips (a known activist) was allowed by some lazy reporters to set the narrative.
•Radical fringe members of the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) were protesting at the Capitol and were shouting indecent, racist vulgarities to the group of students (and anyone else nearby that didn't fit their agenda).
•Phillips (the Native American) is a professional protester who marches against what he believes is wrongful treatment of Native Americans from our history and discrimination that he believes still exists today. He did, while banging his drum, come in between the students and the Black Hebrew Israelites. (He claims he was trying to de-escalate the situation)
I think the things being yelled by the Black Hebrew Israelites were horribly racist and abhorrent and Phillips was probably wrongfully taking advantage of a group of immature teenagers; but, that doesn't make the way these kids behaved a good thing.
In the world I was brought up in, a teenager offers his elders respect (sometimes even when they're not worthy of it). A good example is in sports where if the referee is wrong you still respect the call; or, no matter how much you hate your math teacher, you still offer up respect because they're an adult. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should raise a bunch of submissive wimps who allow adults to roll them over; but, there was no place in the extended video in D.C. that I watched where these kids needed to defend themselves from Phillips. In fact, it seemed like they were enjoying the chaos and the crazy back and forth, something I guess I would expect most teenage boys to do. I believe they were unsupervised and these boys failed to act like young gentlemen.
And, to address the fact that this story has become a political issue of Trump vs. anti-Trump; just for entertainment purposes, switch the politics around. Put the MAGA hat on the Native American and put the students in Washington for a march to support Roe v. Wade. Would your opinion of this incident change? For some it would; but, for me, I'd still be stubbornly hyper-focused on a group of kids who were disrespectful to their elders.
Watch the extended video. Warning: contains obscenities (not work friendly)