Out There

outrage for everyone!

Posted in politics, Uncategorized by Pete on January 25, 2019

I found myself entangled in one of those discussions on facebook recently:

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I have a lot of respect for the original poster. But as I say in my LOOOONG comment below, I don’t understand why people are dialing back on the outrage. I’m not going to link to all of the different videos and articles and the boy’s statement and everything else. Google if you need it. If there is a single, definitive repository for all of that stuff I’ll link it later. I will comment here and there in red.

Here are the facebook comments from the above post, with numbers for names:

1- Best line: ‘Take away Twitter and Facebook and explain why total strangers care so much about people they don’t know in a confrontation they didn’t witness. Why are we all so primed for outrage, and what if the thousands of words and countless hours spent on this had been directed toward something consequential?’

I can’t really articulate why, but I’ve been up thinking and writing about this for 4 hours, and it feels really important. I get the spirit of the comment and agree there is so. much. wasted. time and energy on social media and there are trolls and endless horrible rants and arguments. But to me this was like, I have to stand up and be counted, against this thing, whether anyone else I know does or not.

2-The public relations team the kids parents hired is top notch!
Really did a good job making blatant racism look like something debatable.
It’s saddening to watch more and more evidence of the true nature of Covington come out while the public discussion dwindles into the centrist myth of “they were both bad”

3-do you have video of what you are talking about? The only video I saw was blatantly racist, but these kids weren’t the one who were saying or doing anything racist, it was a third group.

2-we’ve all seen the videos, the 3rd group is irrelevant to the actions of the boys toward Nathan Philips. A bit of history: Cw sexual violence, brutality.

2-don’t forget, outrage is the product of centuries of colonization and brutally forced assimilation. You can’t observe this action in a vacuum removed from historical context.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

2-but don’t worry Covington doest have a history of blatant racism or anything
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c472a2de4b0a8dbe1752db5

3-we have not all seen the videos. I have seen one video; in which the same person spouting hate also targeted these young people. When I am no longer at work I will watch the video you shared.

2-I didn’t share a video just two articles, one explaining the historical significance of the song Philips sang and the second further demonstration of the wholesome nature of Covington catholic

2-I’ll explain my stance more clearly: whether or not the boys were provoked is irrelevant.
their actions speak volumes.
Philips claims to have approached the groups in order to diffuse, and was met with blatant racism by the Covington Catholic group.

I believe we should provoke racists. We should bring them to the light then chase them back into their holes.

I’m curious how many more angles we will need for white moderates to call a spade a spade:
“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice” Martin Luther King Jr

3-The video that I saw did not show the youths doing or saying anything at all. In what way did they display racism? Do you have a video of that?

2-https://youtu.be/sIG5ZB0fw1k

3-I agree with your statement about positive and negative peace. That is why I defend the NFL players who sit or kneel during the National Anthem. I am just very cautious to call anyone racist without proof, since it is such a nasty thing, and I have not seen that proof. Again, I have seen very little on the event in question.

2-Mockingly chanting and pretending to throw a tomahawk may not seem absurdly racist due to mainstream sports appropriation of native culture, but it is. Also, further context would be that until the passing of the American Indian religious freedom act in 1978 it was illegal for native to practice their culture. Children were forced via violence to assimilate. And if you haven’t take a look at the article about the Covington Catholic basketball games, they are no strangers to provocation.

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3-No, I agree that that would be offensive, but I don’t clearly see that happening. (I am baffled how anyone is okay with the Washington football teams name and emblem. It is totally unacceptable.) The young man directly in front of Mr. Phillips does nothing to either provoke or backdown.

As I mention further down, the fact that #3 can’t even see what is obvious to #2…that feels like a big deal. And they are really trying, sincerely. It isn’t *super obvious* in the video, but it also isn’t hard to see the chopping here and there especially in the beginning and to hear the “oooooohh, ooohhh” song, both popularized by Atlanta Braves fans in the 1990s.

2-You don’t hear the mocking chant or see the jeers and hand gestures? Of course he didn’t do anything he is the product of a society that has taught him to see himself as superior. Like with any situation it is easier to boil it down to individuals than address a problem as a systemic failure.
Also I should clarify: this situation to me is more important because of the reaction we are witnessing simultaneously, anattempt to say that the Covington group did nothing wrong and also say they were provoked. So which is it? To top that off, I think most people who are calling this racist aren’t upset at the kids themselves, we are the products of our environment, we are mad because we see racism being played down because it is children that are perpetuating it. And you better bet it is because they are white and from wealthier (than most) families.

2-https://www.theroot.com/an-open-apology-to-the-covington-catholic-maga-hat-hara-1831957176?fbclid=IwAR0QXqo57FrXevBa8wpzL4CYEgRTQFo6Fhk-BexZXnoz8gMt961Aq6TdnUc

ME-Hi ____ (I’m not naming them here). I avoided getting into this on my own profile, but then it was hard because some people (not you) said some hurtful things, the worst of which I deleted tonight. I will make a long comment here and maybe I will paste it on the profile on my page as well, I don’t know. I hope I don’t come across as hurtful or like I’m “going after you.” I saw your comment on my profile, and wanted to respond, and I know that you aren’t wanting to get into an ugly troll-exchange on facebook, something I try very hard to avoid. : – ) So all that said, I don’t really understand why everyone has been walking back their outrage. I have watched 3 or 4 different videos and read several articles. I freely admit that my perspective is very shaped by living among and identifying with native americans for the last 15+ years. As Evan stated above, the CONTEXT is so huge for something like this. For an idea of the history and depth of feelings that go into it, the “counterpunch” article he linked to above works well, but you probably already have the general idea as far as literal genocide. If Mr Phillips and his group were white, then I would just say the boys were being really loud and disrespectful by not listening to his song, and why didn’t they just move away from him or whatever. It wouldn’t be nearly as disturbing to me. You mentioned that the boy in front of Mr Phillips does nothing to provoke or back down. And I can see where you’re coming from. He doesn’t appear to move to block Mr Phillips’ path, for example. In the video Evan links to above, you can see the boy in question laughing with his friends before Mr Phillips goes in front of him. But not much else, unless you count the smirk on his face for much of the song, which maybe was him just trying to be strong or save face or not knowing what to do because he is a normal insecure high school kid. I think that might be the one area for me that softened somewhat, is letting go of some of my previous conviction that he was smirking at Mr Phillips and mocking him. Now I’m unsure. But I can’t see how some people are sure that he had pure motives. And I agree with Evan that the student’s statement reeked of the PR firm that handled it and the language did not remotely resemble genuine teen-speak. But most of my outrage wasn’t just for that one boy anyway, it was more for the spirit of the whole scene. The Atlanta Braves style singing is mocking that man’s song and completely disrespectful to the entire native group. It’s bad on TV and in the stadium, but it’s a completely different level when it’s drowning out an elder’s song who is singing a sacred song right in front of you. A song that allegedly includes “We pray you give us peace with these people who only want war and to kill our Nations/Peoples.” The hatchet chops are mocking them as well. (I think you said you didn’t see those in the video? I can kind of see how you missed that – my dad did too. They are more toward the beginning of the video above, and I’ve seen it in a few different videos. They aren’t all doing it together or anything, but several kids are doing it, it’s not ambiguous if you’ve seen it before. It’s the same hatchet chop often seen at Atlanta Braves games in the 90s) All the derisive laughter, the obvious enjoyment of the mockery and the mean-spirited cultural denigration… Isn’t that racism? I always wondered why people liked to go to hangings or lynchings or whatever, and it felt like that to me in my spirit. Add in the real, beyond debate, genocide of the past, and ongoing marginalization and neglect, and you get bitterness for a lot of people, and yes outrage from watching the video. Maybe that is really subjective, but I’m just explaining my feelings of outrage, since that is the whole subject of the article that Josh linked to for this post. I’ve thought about it, and I really haven’t grown less outraged with time as apparently so many others have. Again I agree with Evan’s comment above with the MLK quote about the “white moderates.” And I say this as a lifelong people pleaser – but this to me was on a level where it has to be called out. I know that cultural ignorance is a contributing factor, and a lot of those boys just thought it was all in fun and no big deal. Because they are lacking the contextual knowledge as I mentioned before. I was cringing because I knew that the song was probably sacred to the ones singing it (Imagine a white crowd singing in an exaggerated, mocking “black gospel” way, with mocking hand gestures and laughing their heads off with their 200 white friends toward a small black group in peaceful protest singing Amazing Grace or We Shall Overcome), and that this man is an ELDER, yet they were laughing, yelling, singing over him, “chopping” the air… In my village, if an elder says something (from up front or just 1 to 1) that is just clearly factually wrong, no one corrects them. You might think that is crazy or dumb. It’s certainly a distinctive cultural difference. I was shocked when I first experienced it. I bring it up only to underscore the level of authority and respect that is customary. Going back to the boy – eye contact. Young people, at least in the culture where we live now, are to look down and away, never in the eye, and DEFINITELY never to maintain eye contact like that. Even adults avoid eye contact and never sustain it unless close friends or something. And if an elder walks toward where you are, as he does, then you get out of the way. Move to the side, anywhere to get out of the way. So I just wanted to give some native cultural context in response to what you said about how he didn’t do anything to provoke or back down. I can see from a native perspective that by not moving, by sustaining eye contact, and by smirking during his song…I can see why people are upset with that kid. Not that it would justify death threats or anything like that, that’s terrible. And again, I was a lot more upset with the whole crowd, the disturbing carnival-esque group racism (mob) vibe that was going on. I don’t know what Mr Phillips’ motivation was – it is odd to me that after kind of weaving through the crowd, he just went right up to the boy and played so close to him. What did he hope for? For the boy to move? To stop smirking? I don’t know why he didn’t walk around him if his goal was to sing his song from the top of the monument, as I think he claimed. Or why didn’t he say, “Can I pass by?” But I know a lot of natives would say that the boy should move, automatically and without even thinking, out of the way of the elder. And that an elder shouldn’t have to ask him to move in that situation. But that’s the cultural differences / misunderstanding / ignorance side of things again. I know that was really long. You don’t need to agree. I think I was so bothered by what someone posted on my profile, but didn’t want to respond because I think it would not have been productive in this person’s case, but I was driven to get out what was on my mind somewhere. Thanks for listening if you made it this far.

Further down in the comments…

2-Also to address why people are concerned about this situation: you are witnessing in real time the repetition of history in which the dominant white culture observes an act of racism and says “you provoked us” while marginalized groups are labeled violent for inciting white violence.
We are watching a repeat of the same rhetoric used during the civil rights movement

4-First, this wouldn’t even have been an issue if the liberal media wasn’t pushing their hate Trump agenda. And people wonder why they’re called fake news. Can you imagine what this country would look like if the media outlets were unbiased and spoke truth? These KIDS were targeted because of their hats, that was it. Freedom of speech only exists if you’re a leftist. Any other form of speech is labeled racist or homophobic or whatever other term you want to use. This country is teetering on a civil war and I can guarantee you one thing, it won’t be the socialists/communists who win. Likely the shortest war to ever be fought.

5-They were at the pro life march… I believe these two events were on the same day…these kids were targeted because of the hats they were wearing…and now that more video footage has been released you can see Mr Phillips engaged them..not the other way around….more proof of our liberal fake news media doing what they do best..lie and deceive….you know they are decent people when they are protesting the murder of the unborn…..

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There were several more comments on the thread that are not as germane to the topic, like about the language used in the original post. There were also comments on my own facebook profile, as I mention in the titanic post above. One of those comments was really bad, to the point I deleted it tonight. I felt like engaging the person who left it would not be productive. I’ve had heated debates centered on race with this person in the past and it was quickly apparent that it wouldn’t be productive. They carry wounds and prejudices from a life full of experiences and any healing needs to happen from the ones he feels wounded by. Anyway, in his comment among other things he praised the boys for their restraint. Thinking about it now, he probably specifically meant the boy in the staredown with Mr Phillips, surely not the jeering crowd. He said boys (plural) so it hadn’t occurred to me until now that he was thinking of the one stoic boy. I just couldn’t imagine where he was coming from with that observation. Also, note the bold text in comments above, where one person clearly sees racism and the other agrees it would be bad if those things were happening, but they didn’t see it in the video. Here we have numerous videos of the events, yet the whole country is divided about what it means. How can that be?  I think this whole thing is a remarkable example of how people see what they want to see, and I’m sure I’m not immune from it myself. 

Another comment from my profile:  This boy is the one being attacked by the Native American man. Have you seen the full footage? This story has been taken completely out of context. There were two sets of adult groups harassing these kids, who responded positively and with great restraint. There should be libel suits coming and the news outlets should be held responsible for their bad and biased reporting.

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Responding to that last comment, after watching it again, I do think Mr Phillips was strangely aggressive with this kid. As I say in the comment above, I don’t know why. And I don’t know what the kid’s motives were or if he was trying to mock, impede, or just didn’t know what else to do. But I would stop short of saying the boy was “attacked.” And it certainly doesn’t excuse the overall mob-like behavior of the crowd. I think user #2 above, his comment fits here:

you are witnessing in real time the repetition of history in which the dominant white culture observes an act of racism and says “you provoked us” while marginalized groups are labeled violent for inciting white violence.
We are watching a repeat of the same rhetoric used during the civil rights movement

Scary! Or am I just being self-righteous and “morally superior” and getting outraged about something inconsequential? I really don’t think so. But I sincerely welcome your (constructive, thoughtful) input.