I feel like everyone had the same sentiments in wanting to punch the smirking Covington High kid when the video arose on Twitter. I was also among the many constantly retweeting and liking photos of this issue, and honestly just being vehemently furious about it.
The thing that really irked me though was the number of people defending him. Many expressed their confusion as to why people were so upset with this teen-- he was just standing there, he wasn't saying anything, he wasn't participating in a violent protest. Especially after other videos surfaced that led to this viral confrontation, and the teen's testimony on the events, even more individuals began to defend him. Saying that the Hebrew Israelites began this confrontation by calling the high school students derogatory terms.
And what I have to say to that, especially with the Covington students being confronted with hate and resistance: what do you expect?
Seriously, even if you take into account Sandman's (the teen's) angle that he was merely trying to deescalate the situation, how does that add up to any of the actions displayed in the video? How is standing in the middle, in front of the crowd of his peers and in front of the Native American elder, smirking, unmoving-- how is that in anyway deescalating the situation. You could have simply stepped away, ignored the derogatory terms that people were yelling at you.
Many may argue that these students were simply standing up to the hate aimed at them-- chanting, etc., but for what are they standing up to? To be allowed to peacefully wear their MAGA hat without any consequences? Please.
Okay, let's say that this teen and his peers weren't white or wearing MAGA hats, how would this have been viewed? Let's say it was a POC, wearing that same smirk and seemingly in the way of Nathan Philips. If this was the case, I honestly think it would be the same, if not worse. America is racist. If a Black teen was seen doing the same thing, I can guarantee that he would have been hit so much harder than Noah Sandman was, especially by conservative media. If this was in an alternative universe, I can practically hear Trump crafting a tweet about this if this was the situation. And of course, this hypothetical teen would have been slammed by liberal media. If you don't believe this alternative, keep in mind what happened to Black teens when they supposedly looked at an officer in a supposed disrespectful way. They were killed.
Okay let's say it's the same white teen, but with no MAGA gear. Honestly, it probably wouldn't have escalated to the infamous event. No matter for what these teens were protesting, they more than likely would have gotten on their bus with no incident. They would have been essentially invisible to the Hebrew Israelites group.
Wearing a MAGA hat is a symbol of disrespect. It is a symbol of Trumpism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, classism, etc. It is the personification of white supremacy, of white nationalism-- a signal from the white population who are wearing this hat that they do see themselves as the superior race. And if you're one of those people wearing those hats, you honestly shouldn't be wallowing about receiving hate by wearing it, because just by wearing that apparel you are emanating far worse than whatever they are telling you.
Also to Noah Sandman who has been featured on the TODAY show to talk about this incident, has never remotely issued an apology, and instead has defended himself of having every right to have stood there. And, of course, anyone has every right to do so. The issue is that these individuals won't acknowledge that what they did was remotely wrong, and that's the scariest and most disappointing part of this case.