Students Villified, And For What?

January 24, 2019

It’s unfortunate on the weekend and day will celebrate the non-violent wisdom and words of Dr. Martin Luther King, that all the national news can seemingly talk about is a confrontation that took place near the Lincoln Memorial involving a group of Catholic students from a suburb of Cincinnati and a group of Native American protestors.

But wait, after being vilified by a national media that jumped to conclusions, we are now being told by those that watched the two-hour version of a video, that the real culprits might have been a half dozen protestors called the Black Hebrew Israelites. This third group, according to the video and eyewitness accounts, slung a variety of racist insults at the white Catholic students, many who donned “Make America Great” apparel.

Mike Wilcox Mike's Musings Columnist

Mike Wilcox
Mike’s Musings Columnist

After hearing several accounts of the incident, and it was only an incident although, many media outlets called it a near-brawl, I could only think of my son, who is the same age of many of those Catholic students, who initially brought the whole matter to my attention when he asked, “Why is the news media picking on these kids?”

At the time I kinda wondered the same thing. As a parent would I want my “baby” being forever labeled a racist simply because, as the school group is waiting for busses to take them back to Kentucky, are caught in the middle of a demonstration, and counter-demonstration? Would I want my child’s name plastered on and in every news outlet across the country, because he and a Native American elder had a stare down?

Of course I wouldn’t and neither would you. But that’s what happened. And now that the full account is out there, I’m hoping these students are treated with a little more decency. Sure they aren’t blameless, but neither are the Native Americans. The video shows the Elder with his drums pushing towards the students, not the other way around as initially reported. And let’s not forget the Hebrew Israelites with doing their best to instigate trouble with their racist chants directed mostly at the students.

Much was made of the “Make America Great” gear, particularly the ball caps that were worn by many of the students. Many say that wearing that type of gear starts trouble. Personally I see it much like wearing a professional team’s gear- instead of supporting the Patriots, or whomever, you are supporting our President. I’m not sure I understand what is wrong with that? I would say the same if it was in support of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.

As a postscript, I now read, the Catholic school was forced to close today (Tuesday). Not because of weather, but because demonstrations were expected and death threats had been received.

I continually preach we need a humungous dose of tolerance in today’s society. AND along with that tolerance those of us who engage in political discourse need an injection of humor. We have to stop taking our political positions so seriously. And we have to realize there are two sides to every story.

The national media, in particular, has been guilty at jumping to conclusions and painting individuals and situations guilty before the full story is told. Unfortunately over the weekend, it was a group of Catholic students, not even old enough to vote or serve in the military, that were on the receiving end of those who consider tolerance a subversive activity.

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