A video emerged with students from Covington Catholic High School students wearing Making America Great Again hats making faces and mocking indigenous health. It later emerged that the elder was a Vietnam War veteran by the name of Nathan Phillips. Furthermore, there was also harassment from a group calling themselves “Hebrew Israelites”.
According to CNN, the teens were also shouting “build that wall”, an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the southern border while having Mexico pay for it. The events depicted in the video have since drawn significant backlash against the students.
As the situation developed, many commentators have criticized double standards applied to bad behavior from white youth and that from the youth of color. They claim that had the youth of color been filmed harassing a white man, the mainstream press would not have given them the time to explain their side of the story and would immediately be demonized.
Additionally, they reference the deaths of unarmed black youth who were killed for far less and whose deaths were chalked up by the right-wing media as “self-defense”. Furthermore, other Native Americans have said that the events in the video are the tip of the iceberg involving a long history of harassment and persecution that they have faced in the country, and if we want to prevent such treatment, these root causes must be addressed.