After initial outrage, claims of racism, clearer details of exchange emerge

On Jan. 18, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)On Jan. 18, a teenager wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, center left, stands in front of an elderly Native American singing and playing a drum in Washington. (Survival Media Agency via AP)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An exchange between Catholic high school students and a Native American tribal leader in Washington Jan. 18 was vilified on social media the following day, but the immediate accusations the students showed racist behavior have been stepped back as more details of the entire situation have emerged.

Many say the incident still needs to be investigated or discussed and others have pointed out that what happened can still provide a teaching moment not just about racism but also about news coverage and social media's rapid response.

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The student most prominent in the footage, junior Nick Sandmann of Covington High School in Kentucky, issued a statement Jan. 20 saying he has "received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults" based on reaction across social media. He also said he would cooperate in any investigation church leaders plan to undertake.

The group's chaperones, also criticized on social media, said later the students "were targeted from the get-go.

On Jan. 18, tens of thousands gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life, a march along Constitution Avenue after a rally on the National Mall to the Supreme Court to mark the court's Jan. 22, 1973, decision that legalized abortion.

The march, held a few days before the actual anniversary this year, took place on the same day as the first Indigenous People's March where marchers walked in the other direction on Constitution Avenue to draw attention to injustices against indigenous people.

At the day's end, while students from Covington Catholic High School who had attended the March for Life were waiting for their buses to pick them up near the Lincoln Memorial, they met up with members of the Indigenous People's March, in particular Nathan Phillips, tribal elder for the Omaha Tribe.

In clips from a video that went viral almost immediately, students are shown surrounding the leader, who is chanting and beating a drum. They appear to be mocking him and one student in particular, who is inches away from the drummer and never moves, was accused of flagrant disrespect.

Some students in the crowd were identified by their Covington High School sweatshirts but the attire that drew the most rage was the "Make America Great Again" hats worn by a few in the group. That phrase, which President Donald Trump coined during his successful presidential campaign, has been deemed to be "racist" by his opponents.

The clip caused immediate outrage.

In response to the escalating fury and disgust on social media against these students, Covington High School and the Diocese of Covington issued a joint statement Jan. 19 saying they condemned the students' actions "toward Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general."

"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," it said, adding that the incident was "being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."

The school and diocese also said the event "tainted the entire witness of the March for Life" and they apologized to those who attended and "all those who support the pro-life movement."

March for Life president Jeanne Mancini also issued a statement that day saying the encounter did not represent her organization or "the vast majority of the marchers" and that the students' behavior is not welcome at the march and never will be.

The next day the March for Life said it in a tweet had deleted its original tweet about the students "given recent developments.

"It is clear from new footage and additional accounts that there is more to this story than the original video captured. We will refrain from commenting further until the truth is understood," the tweet said.

The day after the initial clip of the exchange went viral, extended footage of how the situation unfolded appeared on social media, and the students issued their own statements about it, like Sandmann, who was directly in front of the Native American drummer.

Longer videos shown online reveal that another group at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial included members of the Hebrew Israelites, who also were attending the Indigenous People's March to share their own beliefs that African-Americans are God's chosen people and the true Hebrew descendants.

Members of this group, as shown in video footage, taunted the students and some responded back. Phillips, the Native American, walked over to the students and the group, as an intervention, singing and beating a song of prayer.

Sandmann, in a statement, said Phillips "locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face."

"I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protesters. ... I was worried that a situation was getting out of control."

Sandmann said the group started doing school spirit chants to "counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group" and they had asked for chaperone permission to do so.

He said he stayed motionless to help diffuse the situation and also prayed silently that it would not get out of hand.

"During the period of the drumming, a member of the protester's entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we 'stole our land' and that we should 'go back to Europe.' I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protester," an action that can be seen on the video where he motions to the student to stop and points and nods to the tribal leader.

The student said he didn't understand "why either of the two groups of protesters were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting" and that his group was just there to meet a bus, "not become central players in a media spectacle."

"I was not intentionally making faces at the protester. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me -- to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence," he added.

The student said he has been called "every name in the book, including a racist" and has received death threats and hateful insults.

"I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen -- that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African-Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that," he said. His statement was posted on the CNN website, https://cnn.it/2FOLNCC.

A local CBS-affiliate, WKRC in Cincinnati, also received statements from students, some who asked to remain anonymous, also saying they were unfairly portrayed in media coverage of this incident.

Chaperones, also criticized on social media, spoke to the TV station reiterating that the students had been taunted. "They were targeted from the get-go. Immediately, there were people running around filming and this isn't going to be a truthful depiction of what happened," one chaperone said.

Jesuit Father Jim Martin, an author and editor of America magazine, who was critical of the students' behavior on Twitter Jan. 19, said in a tweet the following day that he would be "happy to apologize for condemning the actions of the students if it turns out that they were somehow acting as good and moral Christians. The last thing I want is to see Catholic schools and Catholic students held in any disrepute."

He also tweeted: "We may never know exactly what happened and the various 'sides' may continue to disagree and condemn one another. But I hope the truth emerges."

He said the situation can provide a teachable moment with "important lessons about racism and marginalization, about dialogue and encounter, and about truth and reconciliation, during this coming week, which is, believe it or not, Catholic Schools Week."

Eileen Marx, a religion teacher at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, who also is the faculty moderator of the school's diversity club, told Catholic News Service Jan. 21 that she certainly planned to discuss this incident with her classes this week in light of Catholic social teaching which "so clearly states that we are meant to live in relationship with one another, not as enemies. We are all part of the human family."

She also acknowledged that there is more to discuss now as more details of what happened after the march are emerging.

As this story continues to be sorted out, she said, she also will bring up the role of social media with her students and its power to "build up and to knock down individuals."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Vince Killoran
9 months 3 weeks ago

This is a major flaw in social media, i.e., uncorroborated stories are shared and opinions proclaimed before a detail assessment can be conducted. This leads to heaps of cynicism.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 3 weeks ago

Vince - you are the only one in the comments below so far who calls out social media, which is certainly the reason the kids lives and bodies have been threatened out of all proportion to the event. At least the walk-back by the media was rather swift, if self-protective (Fr. Martin should have already apologized profusely, and not provisionally, for getting this so wrong). But, there is also a lesson on racism here - our general society, mostly progressives but also moderates, reflexively believes that straight white men are guilty for existing. They just needed an excuse, and the MAGA hats and the pro-life presence was enough to assume the worst and pillory them. When I see the full video, I think the boys were amazingly tolerant, and restrained, given the abject horror of the taunts from the black supremacists (statements like "white pale face crackers," "child-molesting f****ts," "incest babies") for nearly an hour. They even make the Westboro Baptist folks seem moderate! Philips lied about the whole situation. He was the aggressor with his drum in the face of a kid, who didn't know what to do to avoid being hurt. How many of us would think a drum-in-the-face was being civil, unless one's mind was completely enslaved to identity politics?

Baron Corvo
9 months 3 weeks ago

Here's your privileged white boys exposed for all to witness, O'Leary.
https://crooksandliars.com/2019/01/details-emerge-covington-catholic-kids?utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_content=9097&fbclid=IwAR08StFn8Y6ldmhMrpjP7d_EkE319eqDhDeuzrFI780CtymcdRYQXzrlCz4

Tim O'Leary
9 months 3 weeks ago

Corvo - your link only confirms my point. It calls the boys privileged and at fault just for attending a pro-life march. Below, you call this "fetus worship," so you are in the same intolerant boat. The March-for-Life was well over, the boys were waiting in the pre-arranged place for their bus home, not advancing toward anyone and not taunting anyone, singing school chants to drown out the racism. The hour-long despicable taunts from the black supremacists included calling them cowards for being afraid to respond in kind to just 4 black men. The 4 "indigenous" people were the aggressors, walking right into the crowd of kids, banging a drum in their faces, telling the Americans to "go back to Europe" etc. Imagine what would have happened if they had banged the drum into the face of the Hebrew Israelites. If the positions of races and ages were reversed, we would be calling this aggression worse than Charlottesville. The defense-by-omission of the black supremacists proves the complete enslavement of progressives to their prejudices.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 3 weeks ago

Vince - glad to see CBS news this am highlight the problem in Twitter. This fake news story is getting even faker - the twitter account that started all this (just taken down) had a fake name, fake photo and fake teacher; Nathan Phillips never served in Vietnam; and the so-called indigenous "peacekeepers" tried to disrupt Mass at both the Catholic National Shrine and the Covington Catholic Church. It's like the Kavanaugh lies all over again. And still, there are progressives online in denial, trying to shut down the negative newsflow to their false grievances. Police now have to protect the high school kids from the peaceful progressives. Still no progressive condemnation of the black supremacists. Even CBS referred to them as just "activists."

Andrew Strada
9 months 3 weeks ago

So Fr. Martin is helping to prepare the fallback position for the progressive Catholic element:

1. "We may never know exactly what happened and the various 'sides' may continue to disagree and condemn one another. But I hope the truth emerges." This strongly suggests that Fr. Martin no longer believes the original charges.

2. In his infinite mercy, Fr. Martin is prepared to "apologize for condemning the actions of the students if it turns out that they were somehow acting as good and moral Christians". One might think that withdrawing a condemnation only required proof that the students had not done what they were accused of doing. A very jesuitical distinction, Father.

3. Regardless of what actually did or did not happen, there are " important lessons about racism and marginalization, about dialogue and encounter, and about truth and reconciliation". Please don't let the facts interfere with my narrative. My worldview is impervious to falsification by either empirical data or logic.

Renee Jimenez
9 months 3 weeks ago

I agree with you completely. After reading many articles today it is plain to me that the students were the only victims here. They were not only condemned by both social and mainstream media, but by their own Church. If only the Catholic Church leaders were so quick to condemn those with evil actions and intents within their own ranks. But no, that should take decades of time and consideration. This incident adds further frustration and embarrassment for Catholics like myself. I feel so sorry for the students and I'm appalled by the actions of "adults", especially the leaders in the Catholic Church.

Lisa M
9 months 3 weeks ago

Andrew Strada- I read that, unbelievable. The kids must behave perfectly or else no apology. Sounds reasonable to me. I might try that the next time I lose my cool and owe one of my kids an apology. Another great example of leadership.

JR Cosgrove
9 months 3 weeks ago

Interesting they have no link to the original article. Most articles in America, the magazine, have links to related articles. At the same time they publish Amy Lu’s article on conservative racism.

Scott Burdette
9 months 3 weeks ago

Father James Marquette built bridges between French explorers and natives. Yet to many Catholics have dropped his legacy.

What action could these students do to the small group of natives or the small group of israeli's to build bridges?

MAGA and President Trump gear. Not a single one of these minors is responsible for Donald Trump's election. Not one. Young people can be difficult to handle, MAGA gear is not the worst way teens can rebel.

James Schwarzwalder
9 months 3 weeks ago

Well, Father James Martin wins the quick draw contest getting his original tweet out. It seems like this happened on another controversy not too long ago. Meanwhile on the McCarrick front, don't hold your breath awaiting resolution. Yeah, blame the young kid first. Is Jesuit vocations week just around the corner?

Paul Grajnert
9 months 3 weeks ago

After careful review the central issue is not one Catholic kid, or this or that politician. It is the originalist interpretation of the Constitution. A white supremacist and misogynistic interpretation that is the fundamental ideology of the modern republican party.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

You are so right! The modern Republican Party made those Black Hebrew and Indian activists assault the innocent Catholic school boys. Thanks for making it clear what you believe. You must be a scholar of sociology, or something.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Only our racist narrative and system allows the transformation of a 64 year old Native American man, drumming and chanting traditional songs as he approaches a group of young men at the Lincoln Memorial, into a threat who must be managed by a beatific white Catholic boy.

This statement "from" the Catholic student was released and distributed by ------- and, thus, crafted by ------ a Louisville public relations firm. Public relations firms sell their expertise in shaping a client's preferred image to fit the client's goals; in understanding the culture, dynamics and vulnerabilities of the client's preferred target audience; and then in exploiting that understanding to manipulate the target audience into believing and DOING what the client wants his target audience to believe and do.

Again, only our racist narrative, history and system allows the transformation of a Native American elder into a threat to be managed by a beatific white Catholic boy.

In several of the videos the boy is visibly relaxed and laughing with his friends seconds before he refuses to defer to his elder by stepping aside respectfully.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

That "elder" is an activist who has perpetrated a fraud against college boys several years ago with a similar lie in the Midwest. But you see the Catholic school boys as the aggressors. Sad.
The Black Hebrews and the Indians attacked the boys and the boys are the racists to you! Shocking.
WATCH THIS : https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=UQyBHTTqb38 and then come back and tell us the boys were wrong and racist. The video is the full video of the incident.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry -- I have seen the entire video. Lots of complicated stuff going on.

What is not complicated is the behavior of the kid who refused to defer to an older Native American man.

Let's have those boys pull that kid's move ------ staring down an adult, with smirks on their faces, refusing to move their bodies out of the way, in front of 40 classmates ----- with their priests, teachers, coaches, fathers, friends' fathers, Eagle Scout leaders back in Kentucky.

And what we will have is a bunch of Catholic school boys in Kentucky and across the river in Cincinnati in detention, suspended from games, thrown out of the Scouts, grounded and some number of them knocked physically to the ground. (If they are black kids, they may get arrested.)

And every adult posting here knows it. Every parent here knows it. And those kids know it. That kid knows it. That kid's parents know it The PR firm that is coaching that kid knows it.

But a native American elder? Not a man with any authority in that boy's life.

Terry, the details of who Mr Phillips may or may not be are immaterial.

This kid didn't know anything about Mr Phillips when he defied his authority as an adult.

This kid didn't NEED to know anything about Mr Phillips.

He simply needed to respond to Mr Phillips with the same respect and deference and obedience with which he would respond to any other man in his life.

But he didn't. He acted the part of an arrogant thug when approached by a Native American elder drumming and singing traditional songs. That choice to behave in such a wildly disrespectful way to a Native American elder --- when common sense and knowledge of the conduct expected in Catholic schools assure us this kid has almost certainly never behaved that way with a white man ------ cannot be separated from the history of white American men disrespecting and humiliating and slaughtering Native American men because they were not considered men.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J - You seem to have the ability to know what is in another's mind. You claim the child should respect "his authority as an adult" when the adult is banging a drum within inches of the child's ear and chanting. This is bizarre. What would you have the boy do to show respect? Standing silently and smiling after being assaulted by a band of black Hebrews for quite some time shows to me that the kid was showing more respect than the "elder" deserved.
Of course, the boy did not need to now anything about the adult. Here was an older man acting in a fashion which does not indicate any common sense; he was behaving in a manner that was not consistent with the situation. Approaching a large group of high school students and chanting in a language not familiar to the kids and banging a drum so close to one member serves no positive purpose. The child showed restraint and should be applauded, yet you would have, "Catholic school boys in Kentucky and across the river in Cincinnati in detention, suspended from games, thrown out of the Scouts, grounded and some number of them knocked physically to the ground." You believe they should have gotten out of the way of "elder" when he chose to go into the heart of the group when we cannot discern the "way" the "elder" was intended to go. He may have wanted to confront the boy right where he was.
"And every adult posting here knows it. Every parent here knows it. And those kids know it. That kid knows it. That kid's parents know it The PR firm that is coaching that kid knows it." Speak for yourself! I am a parent, coach and an adult teacher for over 40 years and I do not know what you claim. I believe you saw what you wanted to see after being exposed to the media's interpretation of this situation. I hope that had you seen the entire video before any other exposure, you would perceive the would thing differently.
The boy is not responsible for historic events and is only responsible for his own - innocent - actions. Smiling and not speaking is not disrespectful nor is it arrogant and thuggish. To expect a child to be affected by your concept of white American men and Indians in the past is expecting too much. Mr. Phillips was acting in a manner which is incomprehensible and not pushing him away or yelling at him shows great restraint, and neither his race not unkempt appearance matter. The student should be supported, not condemned.
However, you would have violence applied to the youngster because he was not omniscient. Sad

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry, I did not recommend the boy be punished with violence.

I meant that the boy's behavior was insolent and would, in any other circumstance, be punished as such.

On the court, with a ref, it is called a technical foul. In schools, defying authority, threatening a teacher, etc.

In black communities, with a cop or a white authority figure, it is variously called resisting arrest, menacing --- or let's shortcut right to *orobable cause for arrest" with some physical contact by the cop in the process.

And in some places (say, that black community, however inappropriately, a male adoloscdnt physically and insolently challenging/referring to defer to an older man would result in physical punishment.

The behavior is not tolerated, Terry. Period. It is not news. Kentucky's all-male Catholic schools are no exception. That is the point.

Finally, if an older Native American man walking slowly, playing a hand drum and chanting traditional songs at a ceremonial location in a public place is "bizarre" and "a language unfamiliar" to American students, you made my point. We have a VERY serious problem indeed: we have a racist narrative, history, education and system.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J -
This seems to be a plea for violence: "And what we will have is a bunch of Catholic school boys in Kentucky and across the river in Cincinnati in detention, suspended from games, thrown out of the Scouts, grounded and some number of them knocked physically to the ground." I guess being physically knocked to the ground isn't really violence to you.
You seem to know a lot about the black community and how people should behave in many different circumstances. Good for you!
You do not consider the behavior of that liar, Nathan Phillips, to be bizarre? How can anyone think that this man's actions are not bizarre? To walk over to a group of boys who were being verbally assaulted by a bunch of black Hebrews spewing vulgar anti-homosexual, anti-white, anti-American taunts and playing a drum while chanting in a language neither you nor I can recognize is not normal behavior. To see that depiction as racist is in itself bizarre.
You claim that, "we have a racist narrative, history, education and system." That is not a valid point, it is a liberal talking point which is backed up only by revisionist history (Noam Chomsky-like history).
You can blame America and its society for all the world's problems to avoid the problems obvious to anyone who desires to see - there is none so blind as he who will not see.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry --- you are correct: knocking someone to the ground is violence. I did not advocate it. I said that insolent behavior of an adolescent boy defying the authority of an older man is, across the board, not tolerated in American culture, to the extent that the behavior elicits a range of censure that, in environments where violence is a form of discipline, adolescent male insolence toward adult males is sometimes responded to in that way. Again, the broader point is this: the behavior of the Covington Catholic High student wearing a political cap on a Catholic school-sponsored trip to a political rally refused to defer to the culturally normative authority of an older man who walked slowly toward him in a ceremonial and public location while that man played a hand drum and chanted tradional songs.

Native American drum-playing and chanting are widely recognized as Native American and are widely appropriately understood as spiritual and/or celebratory peaceful behaviors. If that is bizarre and unfamiliar to you, Terry, your education and life experience has been extraordinarily limited by even the most "Eurocentric" standards . (I have to admit: you, this studentvand the PR firm who wrote his statement are the only persons I have ever encountered in real life who find it threatening.)

Terry, the difference in cultural and systemic responses to the behavior of black youth and white youth in this this country is widely documented. I do have a lot of experience living and working in the black community, and I know that the defiant response of this student to an authority figure would, if the students had been black and the adult had been white, would have placed that black insolent student at great risk. He would most likely have been described as threatening and not just insolent.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J -
You claim that, "Native American drum-playing and chanting are widely recognized as Native American and are widely appropriately understood as spiritual and/or celebratory peaceful behaviors." Was that bizarre behavior recognized that weekend when he and his posse tried to disrupt a mass at the National Cathedral? Is that bizarre behavior recognized as celebratory peaceful when done inches away from the face of a child?
I, too, have had many years of, "working in the community" and I realize that bad behavior is bad behavior and should not be explained away because of the bigotry of low expectations; when in Rome, do as the Romans do is a phrase which has to be recognized in a civil society. These guys were in the capital city of the USA, not in a reservation and acceptable behavior should be exercised depending on the setting. That older man did not have authority over the students just because of his age. Bernie Madoff is older than I am, yet I would not allow his misbehavior to continue in my presence because of his age.
As I said before, bad behavior is bad behavior. Should the young girls molested by Harvey Weinstein allow his abhorrent behavior because of his elder status? One should not make allowances for inappropriate behavior because of the race of the perpetrator, especially when the person is old enough to know better.
Some of us here seem obsessed with race even when race is not the issue.
This Indian has a history of bad behavior - he lied about this incident repeatedly by giving several different versions of what occurred. He made a similar claim about a fraternity at EMU a decade ago. He lied about his military service (false claim of Vietnam service). He lied about a number of things in order to obtain money involved in the making of a documentary film. You can excuse him once or twice, but there has to be a limit.
These boys did nothing wrong, but the black Hebrews and Indians are the offenders here.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Oh Lord, Terry. Will there never be an end to the self-centered worldview of white Christians? Are you really asking people to be outraged that Native Americans, descendents of Wounded Knee and a thousand other Christian killing grounds, dared to disrupt your ritual, your sacred space, for a peaceful protest?

I, for one, am not outraged. I, for one, am surprised it didn't happen a long long long long time ago. I, for one, think it is actually a pretty darn good idea. Maybe they should start arriving right before we pray the Penitential Rite.

Terry, Madoff stole millions and millions of dollars. Weinstein raped women.

Nathan Phillips is a frail, older Native American man who walked slowly through a crowd in a public ceremonial location playing a hand drum and chanting.

Those kids knew nothing about him, except that he was older, obviously physically frail, Native American, engaged in a tradional ritual which is almost always spiritual in nature. (And if they didn't know that, their parents need to demand their spendy tuition back).

A 16 or 17 year old student saw an older Native American man and knew, apparently, that a whole lot of American Catholic adults would not expect him to respond with the same respect he would offer any other adult man in his life. Pretty savvy kid, I guess. A smart ass but savvy.

Terry, an older Native American man in a ceremonial location in a public place, playing a hand drum and chanting, walking slowly through a crowd is not behaving badly.

PS I am the child of a Vietnam Veteran who was on the ground in 1972. Any Native American who served in the Marines in 1972-1976 is an extraordinary man given the increased awareness and activism in the Native community about the crimes committed against them by the US government. I cannot imagine the pressure on him from all sides. So I have no problem with him, and I imagine my father would not either. A very very small number of living Americans have served in the military in any capacity. Nathan Phillips had a lot of reasons NOT to serve in the military which is the descendents of the military that slaughtered his ancestors. A complicated story, no? But he signed up at one of THE hardest times in US history for anyone to serve.

Again, Lord, when we will EVER reach the bottom of American white Christian outrage on our own behalf?

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J
Nathan Phillips is a liar - that may not even be his name. He enlisted under a different name. Spend 8 min watching this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIXIzvyAlLA. This frail elder was locked out of the National Cathedral with his posse of activists this weekend when they tried to interrupt a mass and storm the church. How can you twist that action into "a tradional [sic] ritual which is almost always spiritual in nature" action?
He has tried this poor-me-I'm-an-Indian routine at EMU several years ago when he tried to get a fraternity in trouble. He has a history of fraud. Assaulting a young student, "in a ceremonial location in a public place, playing a hand drum and chanting, walking slowly" is assault (a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm).
The disdain you have for the American white Christian is shocking. You live in the greatest nation on earth with the most opportunities for everyone who chooses to participate, but because it is not Utopia, you find it appalling. This suggestion might apply to somebody in your home "And if they didn't know that, their parents need to demand their spendy tuition back". One wonders if your Viet Vet dad's money was well spent, if after your education, you lack the ability to see how great our nation is now.
Further in the postings is one which has more information on this fraudulent Indian which you might want to view before you continue to defend this spiritual, frail elder. He is a self-serving liar and he has committed slander against these high school kids.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry, if Phillips had assaulted the student, he would be under arrest. And rightly, justly so. It is hard, as I can see from your responses , to encounter white Christian Americans who see our profound faults as a nation, as a culture and as a people. We hold the greater power and privilege and, thus, we also have a profound responsibility to be honest about our faults and our history and its impact on American peoples and American persons with less power and privilege and to intervene in repetitions and continuations whenever possible because this country belongs to every American. That is the education my parents wanted for me and provided for me. Good patriots, good Catholics. Be well, Terry.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J
You have confused assault with battery. Arrests do not just happen on their own - someone must press charges. After the doxxing and death threats, one cannot expect young Mr. Sandmann to report the assault to the police. Surely you know that many crimes are committed and no report filed.
As you should have learned in school, America is a nation of individuals. You are responsible for your actions only, not those of your ancestors. It seems to me that someone once said that we are not at fault for the sins of the father, perhaps you have heard that, too. However, you think that Nick Sandmann should acquiesce to some psycho activist because of something which was done by others in the past and accept the notion that because generations ago someone did some bad things for which he now must bear the blame. That is an unAmerican concept. Nick is responsible for Nick's actions and Nathan AKA Nathaniel is responsible for his. Good patriots, good Catholics should know that and act accordingly.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry, fact: the entire exchange was filmed. Fact: No legal offense was committed in the filmed events - by anyone.

A 16 or 17 year old white, wealthy, male, elite Catholic school student on a Catholic school trip wearing a political cap with his Catholic school.uniform in the presence of at least one Catholic priest following a political rally disrespected an older Native American man slowly walking through the cried playing a hand drum and chanting. Nothing else about Mr. Phillips' identity was known to those students at that time.

Fact: the student's wealthy parents sought out a powerful Republican public relations firm and purchased from the public relations strategy and narrative you are now telling.

Only our racist national and Catholic narrative, culture, history and education system allows the transformation of that man at that moment in that place into a threat.

A gut-wrenching irony: Mr Phillips' peaceful drumming and chanting is integral to the culture of the first American alumni of Catholic schools.
Those first American alumni of the Catholic school system were the Native children who were taken by force to Catholic boarding schools after their communities were slaughtered, starved, beaten, raped, humiliated, culturally stripped and economically devastated by white Christians.

And, yet, as you insist, the peaceful, commonplace rituals of the descendents of those first Anerican Catholic school alumni are unknown and frightening to these boys. As I said, a racist education......

The boy's parents purchased a story from a powerful Republican PR firm to tell the story you are telling.

The insolent, disrespectful behavior of that student IS his responsibility. The racism that encouraged his disrespect is the responsibity of his parents, his Catholic school, his Catholic church, his American culture, history and system. And adults like you.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

J
Assault: intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Physical injury is not required. Lie-awatha Phillips assaulted Nick Sandmann.
No matter who paid "a powerful Republican PR firm" for a statement, the full video tells the story.
You can defend the lying Indian all you want and talk about the Catholic/American torment of Indian's existence, but that has no bearing on the present day situation. The English mistreated the Irish, so should the Brits learn Gaelic and genuflect every time the IRA blows up a British royal? NO! Should Latin America attack Spain because of the past horrors committed there? Should the Comanche apologize and make amends for the past torture ritual inflicted on other tribes? This could go on for eternity if this concept were to be followed because probably every group has done things in the past for which present day members of that group could never atone The sins of the father do not pass down, and if someone claims that past misbehavior justifies misbehavior in the present that person is being unreasonable.
The relative wealth of the high school student is of no import in the incident in DC. Unless the rich, privileged parents paid the powerful Republican PR firm to reconfigure the video to show the events were just as Nick said and totally unlike the way the elder told it, then what they spent has no effect on the reality of the "confrontation." All can see that the boys were innocent and the Indian was in the wrong.
"The insolent, disrespectful behavior of that student IS his responsibility. The racism that encouraged his disrespect is the responsibility of his parents, his Catholic school, his Catholic church, his American culture, history and system. And adults like you."
That last paragraph illustrates the truism I posted earlier - there is none so blind as he who will not see.
I cannot continue to correspond with someone whose mind is closed and apparently poisoned by miseducation which has led to self-hate and outwardly directed hate. I will honestly pray for your becoming aware of reality.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Terry, It is clearly painful for you to encounter white Catholic Americans who are comfortable speaking a more complete and complex teuth about our race, our Church and our country.

I am proud to be a white Catholic American, child of a Vietnam War Veteran, who understands that a great Church and a great Nation are those which commit to embracing responsibility for their whole legacy and whole impact, however painful and inconsistent with the ideals and promises of that Church and Nation.

Be well, Terry.

Bev Ceccanti
9 months 3 weeks ago

Brookbank: You're exposed as a 'Catholic' impostor. ...When referring to Phillips' disruption of Mass at the Cathedral, you say........."Oh Lord, Terry. Will there never be an end to the self-centered worldview of white Christians? Are you really asking people to be outraged that Native Americans, descendants of Wounded Knee and a thousand other Christian killing grounds, dared to disrupt your ritual.....?"..... You're obviously unaware the 'ritual' is the actual changing of bread and wine into the Real Presence of God ,...and you refer to the Eucharist with a pejorative attitude....the Eucharist St. Oscar Romero was martyred for when he tried to protect It in a Salvadorian church. This not language a Catholic would use.

J Jones
9 months 2 weeks ago

Bev, 1) that is the wildest misrepresentation of Oscar Romero's life and death I have heard since the days when conservative Catholics dismissed him as a socialist sympathizer who disobeyed the Vatican. 2) Oh Lord, will there never be an end to the self-centered worldview of white Christians and their inability to hold in mind our destruction of and violence against the sacred lives of Native Americans?

PS your misrepresentation of Romero's death is a fascinating piece of hagiography. Romero died as he turned from his homily to prepare to serve the Eucharist not because he was protecting the Eucharist, Bev; he died because he was protecting the Salvadoran people.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

Which PR firm crafted the "statement 'from' the Catholic student"? We certainly cannot believe anything written by a PR firm! Why are they paid so well to be in business if they cannot compose a well written statement when an emotionally upset high school junior can do just as good a job?

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

RunSwitch PR in Louisville.

Here is a Courier Journal about it. The firm told the paper that the kid's family contracted the firm.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.courier-journal.com/amp/2638400002

Here is the website. https://www.runswitchpr.com

Andrew Strada
9 months 3 weeks ago

And you think the bishop of Covington, the mayor of Covington and the president of the high school all personally crafted their fatwas?

Colin Jory
9 months 3 weeks ago

The most disturbing aspect of this affair is that the administration of a Catholic school, Covington High, condemned its own students and gave public assurances that they would be severely disciplined without even having questioned them to get their side of the story. Similarly contemptible is the condemnation of the students by the administration of their own diocese, again without any investigation. In both cases public relations and virtue-posturing totally eclipsed any concern for justice. Certainly there should be disciplinary action, but against those in the school administration and the diocesan administration responsible for the vilification of the students.

Lisa M
9 months 3 weeks ago

They must have already been told there was more to the story by a chaperone. I understand they needed to put something out, but it should not have included any presumption of guilt or misbehaviour. I wish so much, for once, to hear we were wrong, WITHOUT any excuses, just "we, in the Kentucky diocese regret that we wrongfully.....As adult Catholics we should have........"

Bev Ceccanti
9 months 3 weeks ago

I hope the school and the archdiocese get sued big time for their quick vilification of the students . I would rather have a few Church leaders with courage than the many salt-less sops I've recently observed. It's heartbreaking.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

^5!

Ellen B
9 months 3 weeks ago

I've thought from the first & my opinion hasn't changed... the chaperones are at fault. They should have removed the students from the situation. As in, moved away. Move 10 yards away, 20 yards away. Have half of the chaperones move the kids to the other side of the memorial if need be & have someone stay behind to direct the buses or have the kids return once the buses have come back. Almost everyone has a cell phone & can text today. Show some common sense people!

Claire Brainard
9 months 3 weeks ago

I agree. The chaperones are at fault. I've chaperoned many times and am a seasoned activist. I would never have put the highschoolers I'm in charge of in the situation that these chaperones did. They should have thought about their students' safety first. I also beleive the chaperones need to learn how to properly dissengage their students and themselves from like situations. Every rally attendee, protestor and activist should know how to do this.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Agreed. Thanks

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

The only ones at fault here are the Black Hebrews and the Indians, along with the media and fools on Twitter and other social media.
The kids were to wait at the Lincoln Memorial for the bus to take them back to KY.
You should be praising the kids for their standing their ground instead of running away while maintaining their cool.

Ellen B
9 months 3 weeks ago

Interesting word choice there Terry, "stand your ground" since it's associated with the right to kill someone when the students were there for a Right to Life March. But regardless, you are wrong. The sole function of a chaperone is to keep your charges safe. The chaperones did not do this. There was NO reason to let a situation escalate. It has placed these students in the public eye in a negative way. There is no upside to allowing children to be abused. It's taken the focus away from the Right to Life march and placed it on the childrens behavior. Fact is, never should have come up. No one won in this confrontation. And an adult recognizes this and walks their charges away. Shame on the chaperones.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

Ellen - So the phrase "stand your ground" is illustrative to you? You say, "it's associated with the right to kill someone." Actually , stand your ground only means that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Killing has nothing to do with it unless you choose ascribe other meanings to it.
America First also has been co-opted to mean that which it does not actually mean. I do not doubt that you have chosen to perceive it as some sort of racist mantra, just as Chris Matthews has. (Chris does not remember that his hero President Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Sargent Shriver, a future Supreme Court Justice and a future pres. of Yale were also members of that organization prior to WWII).
The chaperones told the boys they could perform school cheers to take attention away from the racist, anti-American black Hebrews' screams. The youngsters were not in physical danger and were well-behaved throughout. The chaperones would have had to intercede with the Indian mob which approached the students - then many would have called the chaperones racist. There is no way to please some people!
The boys did nothing wrong. The Indians and the black Hebrews were the only bad guys here.

Bev Ceccanti
9 months 3 weeks ago

I stand right there with him. I'm not inclined to allow the bearing walls of my Constitutional rights to be knocked down without a fight.

Maryanne Braverman
9 months 3 weeks ago

Wearing MAGA hats indicates support for Donald Trump. President Trump lies, commits fraud, insults every kind of person, denigrates women and shows no respect for himself or others. I am having a hard time believing much of what Nick Sandmann says in his statement.

J Jones
9 months 3 weeks ago

Agreed.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

Should we tar and feather them also? Why not let the media and social media folks just destroy their school, their lives and their families' lives?
How dare they support the President of the United States of America??!!!
Who can believe the words of a Trump supporter?
You certainly are open minded - such a good Catholic!

lisa connolley
9 months 3 weeks ago

One of the unfortunate realities in our country is the constant division and polarization emphasized in media as well as unfortunately in Tweets and publicity from our president. His unapologetic constant drip, drip, drip of veiled racist and misogynistic rhetoric have made a simple statement of "Make America Great Again" a slur. For these poor students not to have been educated in this before representing Catholics at a rally is a disservice to them, and to the Catholic Church. It may be even more inviting to consider how the Right to Life movement should invite the men to talk to those promoting war, police brutality and domestic violence against women. We need more strong voices to these end from men, and women can best dialog with women on issues such a reproduction. Wouldn't our world and country benefit more from dialog and those with strongest ability to make changes talking with one another. Also to enable these young men to use their gifts more toward a healing use of their energy for Right to Life.

rose-ellen caminer
9 months 3 weeks ago

What the bleep are they teaching in Catholic schools?Why is a Catholic school allowing kids to go to a pro life rally wearing MAGA hats?Because only American babies matter? Because Jesus came to "Make America Great Again"? I feel sorry for the kids; they are too young and innocent to be real racists and were themselves confronted by real racists;the Black Hebrews who said truly racist and hateful things to them. Wearing MAGA hats will get you taunts. Justifiably and understandably.I blame their teachers.

Terry Kane
9 months 3 weeks ago

You are so right - how dare those young racists support the President of the United States!
Students do not have the right to wear clothes of their own choice; only teachers can make fashion choices for teenagers, everyone knows that!
Maybe you should blame the parents.

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