The behavior of these high school students is blatantly racist and hateful
In an absolutely vile viral video, a mob of white teen boys — many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats — can be seen harassing a Native American Vietnam War veteran during the first ever Indigenous Peoples March.
The group of boys may face serious consequences from their high school — completely deserved in every way.
The video, posted online, shows the group of boys surrounding Nathan Phillips as he sang the American Indian Movement song on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. According to Indian Country Today, Phillips served in the Vietnam War and is the former director of the Native Youth Alliance.
One boy in particular visibly attempts to intimidate Phillips by distracting him as he performs. At the very least, it’s incredibly unsettling to watch.
That smug, entitled face is now seared into all of our brains for eternity — if you’re ever looking for inspiration while hitting a heavy bag or something, here it is. The laughing, sneering boys in the background aren’t any better.
Prior to the events seen in this video, Phillips tells the Detroit Free Press that the students were harassing a group of Black Hebrew Israelites who were giving speeches and saying things the white students “didn’t agree with.” So Phillips stepped in to diffuse the situation.
“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillip said. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”
The boys are students from Covington Catholic School in Kentucky, apparently in D.C. for the March For Life event — because yeah, sure, a group of Trump-loving teenage boys should definitely add their voices to the army of people against women’s reproductive health.
Many people all over social media reacted viscerally to the viral video, because between the blatant racism and disrespect for other human beings, how could anyone not have a strong reaction?
Lots of people were quick to point out that just because these boys are young, doesn’t mean they didn’t know exactly what they were doing. They were absolutely intentional about every moment of this, and they do not deserve to be let off the hook.
Phillips himself weighed in on what being harassed felt like, and what he thinks about today’s youth.
He tells The Washington Post that he knew things were escalating, but he felt trapped. “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’ ” Phillips says. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”
Instead of showing his frustration, he continued drumming and singing. He says he was thinking of his wife Shoshana, who died of cancer four years ago, and the threats all indigenous communities face around the world.
“I felt like the spirit was talking through me,” Phillips says.
Both the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, Kentucky and Covington Catholic School issued a statement condemning the actions of the boys.
“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person,” the statement reads. “The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”
As for Phillips, he says the boys were shouting things like, “build that wall, build that wall” and other racist remarks that have undoubtedly perked their ears every time Trump sends a racist dog whistle their way.
“This is indigenous land, you’re not supposed to have walls here,” Phillips says, wiping away tears. “We never did for millennia. We never had a prison; we always took care of our elders, took care of our children, always provided for them, taught them right from wrong. I wish I could see that energy …put that energy to making this country really, really great.”
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