Call it the smirk heard ’round the world.
Images of a young, white man smugly invading the space of a chanting First Nation’s Elder, while trying to goad him into a physical altercation as his friends and guardians egged him on was infuriating to anyone with a modicum of decency or empathy.
It was that much worse, then, to know that Nathan Phillips – Vietnam Vet and Omaha tribal Elder – had received this treatment after interceding with a blessing to keep the peace between the Trump-supporting teens and a group of black protesters who were hurling insults at one another by the Lincoln Memorial.
Videos show an aggressive white teen – who would be called a thug were he black and sporting a hoodie – get closer and closer to Phillips, glaring at him and daring him to engage in any way. Soon his fellow students are mocking Phillips’ ceremonial chant, some of them dancing – all of them laughing.
Phillips was treated to the indignity of having his faith and culture cruelly mocked for his efforts to keep the peace between Trumpers and black protesters. It’s truly mind boggling.
The prep school student and his friends had just come from the ‘March For Life’ along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as part of a sanctioned school field trip from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky. It is unknown if the tax exempt school or diocese provided the MAGA hats that so many of the students were sporting, or if the students bought them as souvenirs of their trip. Regardless of their origin, students of CCH were wearing the caps with the tacit approval of staff and chaperones, who were also happy enough to listen to their charges shout ‘Build that wall!!’ and mock at length a ceremonial Native American chant.
These wankers had just come from a march purportedly celebrating the dignity of human life, and here they were mocking the value of someone else’s religious beliefs.
How these young men came to be cruelty taunting a revered Omaha tribal Elder might best approached by first accepting that this incident did not happen in a vacuum.
Covington Catholic High School has a reputation for racism, homophobia and misogyny, and the school – which is located on Dixie Highway – has an antebellum Colonel for a mascot. Because of course it does.
The school’s mission statement is shockingly sexist, referring to women and girls as not just an afterthought but by that Incel buzzword: Female.
Twitter is chock full complaints about the Bro Culture at the school.
Former CCH student Mac Duckworth details in this twitter thread how he was mercilessly bullied after he came out in 8th grade. He details years of online abuse, in person tormenting, other students refusing to respect personal space and boundaries, and the glee CCH students took in physically threatening him.
CCH students feigned surprise in 2017 when social media called them out for wearing blackface for Halloween, and posting pictures themselves smiling and laughing.
Then there is the scandal of Jake Walter, who was found guilty in his senior year of raping young woman just weeks before his 18th birthday, in 2018. The 7-foot, 300 lb basketball star-player received probation, and registered as a juvenile sex offender for a few weeks, until he became an adult. Seven months later Walter, the son of a former Cincinnati Bengal, was arrested for rape the second time in a year, this time with 2 counts of sodomy. According to court records both women he victimized were hospitalized after he choked and raped them, and laughed as he dismissed their pleas for him to stop.
These incidents all have one thing in common: CCH students sadistically finding humor in other’s pain.
Because cruelty is the point, you see.
Recall, if you will, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony during Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing. Dr. Ford spoke clearly about Kavanaugh and his friend attempting to rape her when they were all in high school, and she was a few years younger than them. Ford spoke with great authority about the incident and what she would remember ever after: “Indelible in the hippocampus was the laughter.”
Cruelty was the point then, too.
You can draw a direct line from the coddled, white, religious prep school students who tried to intimidate a Veteran tribal Elder with smug sneers and viscous laughter all the way to Brett Kavanaugh demanding we not look at how he acted at that age because BOYS WILL BE BOYS!!!
This is the STENCH of moneyed white male privilege.
I see *so much* of Kavanaugh in these entitled, toxic young men from Kentucky.
Kavanaugh was nurtured and encouraged in an exclusionary Catholic school that encourages every one of these men to indulge in ‘Smartest Boy In The Room Syndrome’, where they know they’re better than everyone else by dint of religion, education, genetic, and sexual superiority.
When their self-imagined primacy isn’t enough to keep the insecurity wolves at bay they preen through life with the back-pocket knowledge that Daddy’s money and connections will always save them if their genetic superiority won’t.
It’s not such a surprise that a parochial school trip to advocate for women to lose their self-agency (with nary a vagina betwixt them) should end with the absolute disrespect of our First Nations’ people and their spiritual beliefs.
Don’t forget these insufferable Kavanaughs-in-training KNEW they were being filmed, and still thought this was a good idea to scream ‘BUILD THE WALL’ at an Omaha Elder, proving they’re only motivated by White Supremacy, and not any fear of terrorist illegal immigrants.
Now imagine what they’re capable of doing when they think no-one is watching.