Make America Gracious Again

Ella Sinciline, Reporter

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You’ve seen the video: a teenage boy standing face to face with a Native American man holding a drum. The teenager is wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat; the old man is standing very close to the boy; and the teenager appears to have a devilish smirk on his face.

When this picture first surfaced, immediate assumptions were drawn by left wing and purportedly neutral media sources in defense of the Native American man. It seemed to be evident that he was being taunted, as the hat worn by the boy has widely become a symbol of discrimination. And, yes, I know that some people may disagree with that statement, and I fully acknowledge that it may not be the opinion held by everyone, but these assumptions would not have been made if it were not true for a lot of people. Anyway, it only seemed this way.

Within the week following the release of this video, though, clearer light has been shed. A Native American group was marching through the area, led by the man who can be seen holding the drum. The boys, a group from Kentucky who was in DC for the March for Life, had been standing, clustered together as the other group approached. In the video, before the boy and the man even come face to face, the group of boys can be seen giggling, clapping, and in my opinion, mocking the group. They do not look sincerely engaged and are turning around and laughing with each other after the man turns away from each boy.

This situation is a clear mark of what America has become. Neither side budges”

It later surfaced that a group known as the “Black Hebrew Israelites” was also present. And apparently the boys were fighting with the Israelites initially. The boys and the Israelites were reportedly using slurs and escalating tension with each other. In an interview, the Native American man expressed that he and his group then decided to exit the escalating situation. As the man continues to lead the group, the boys begin to step out of the way. The man also expressed in an interview that it was of high importance of him and his people to finish their song at the Lincoln Memorial.

The man then approaches the boy, and here is where the situation gets complicated. The boy is within his rights to stand still, to smile, and to obstruct the group’s route. However, in an interview, the boy expressed that he felt “threatened,” but still chose to stand there. If he was truly in danger, would he have stood there? And as I see it, although he was within his rights not to move, that does not mean that he was functioning under a good moral compass.

I would hate to live in a world where legality equated to morality. The only reason I say that this is an immoral act is that this was evidently a cultural song, but the boy decided to stand still to prove some obscure point rather than respect the group and their destination. Again, I do not believe people should simply succumb to the wishes of others, but in this scenario, the most respectful decision would have been to step away.

On the other hand, the Native American man should not have been that close to the boy. This was a clear invasion of space and I also see that as disrespectful.

This situation is a clear mark of what America has become. Neither side budges, because they each view the other as being wrong or in some way lesser. And while I do side with the Native Americans on this one, I can see that this was in fact a two-sided scenario. I think it is wrong for the teenager to be receiving death threats and harassment, but I do believe that he had every opportunity to step away. I think that the story would be very different if the boy had upheld the respect that people who wear that hat claim to have for others.