Covington Catholic incident creates uncertainty


Jim Grey

SHOWDOWN AT LINCOLN MEMORIAL. Phillips watched Sandmann’s statement on NBC but felt that it lacked sincerity. “I find myself that even though I’m angry I still have that forgiveness in my heart for those students,” Phillips said to NBC. Sandmann, as well as Phillips, have been receiving death threats from the outcome of this incident.

Outrage is a word that comes in mind when describing the Covington Catholic incident. On one side, social media users are furious at the boy who sported a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and smirked at a Native American man’s song.

On the other, conservative outlets are pushing back, angered that the media has misrepresented the scene.

While it is unclear who instigated the situation, tensions arose between the Black Hebrew Israelites and the CCHS teenagers, with shouting on both sides. A now-deleted video posted by member Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan confirms that the Black Hebrew Israelites hurdled insults and racist jeers at the group.

Junior Nick Sandmann, who was in the middle of the conflict, claimed that the students were screaming their school cheers “to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at [the] group” in his statement to CNN.

However, Nathan Phillips, the Native American man who had approached Sandmann, said he heard the students chant ‘build the wall.’

“You know, this is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here — we never did for millennia, before anybody else came here,” Phillips said on an Instagram video.

Phillips marched between the two groups up to Sandmann, drumming and singing a song of unity. Videos show Sandmann smiling and other students dancing to the beat, much to the dismay of viewers online.

Though many have interpreted his expression as a smirk, Sandmann denies it being so and thinks some viewers were too quick to judge.

“I see it as a smile saying that this is the best you’re going to get out of me. You won’t get any further reaction of aggression, and I’m willing to stand here as long as you want to hit this drum in my face,” Sandmann said on an NBC interview.