One of the biggest stories from over the weekend, other than the NFL championship games, is the Covington Catholic male high school group that was perceived to be harassing a Native American gentlemen at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The first narrative being pushed was that the high schools boys approached this Native American male who was engaging in the indigenous people's march in D.C. over the weekend and started cheering and mocking the guy. Pictures were taken, videos were shot, and they were shown all over the internet with this narrative that this was an example of white male privilege and look how horribly they're treating this Native American male trying to proudly show his heritage. We all (well a lot of us) fell into the trap of believing this ,that these young men were harassing this poor Native American before the other videos and statements started coming out, showcasing the other side of the story. I'm ashamed to say I fell victim into believing this story that was first being pushed too and should have realized there was more to the story. This is a lesson to learn for all of us that even if we don't see another side to the story yet, there is one and it's easy to fall into the trap.
I watched the minute something video with one angle showing this male high schooler and the Native American man, believing he was just acting like a punk. It's not what I wanted to believe but here it was in my face being pushed, asking for me to believe it and presenting it in a way that was easy for me to. Now I will admit when I was wrong and I might have judged too quickly based on this isolated boy's facial expression and the narrative that was being pushed.
We have since learned that these high schoolers were set to meet their school's bus at the Lincoln Memorial (that was their meeting spot) since they were on a school trip, and they came across these African American protesters there at the Memorial. What we did not know is that these protesters started shouting explicit terms at the boys because some of them were wearing MAGA hats and engaging in their own cheering and shouts among themselves to occupy time. They were not harassing or engaging with anyone else nor were they saying anything inappropriate or starting with anyone there, the Native American male or otherwise. In addition, the Native American man entered the male students circle of where they were waiting and started playing his drum in their faces. We did not see this other video where it was actually the African American protesters who started with the high school students...of course this one did not go viral, the one showing the facts...
The scary part of this, is that this one sided narrative is so often pushed to make us see only that side that we, like myself, sadly only see what they want us to see because it's all we can see! How do we change it? We need to consciously keep remembering that there are two sides to every story and we can't be too quick to pass judgement. We need to also hold each other accountable. This is a lesson for me, a lesson for you, and a lesson for society.
In addition, the High School Junior shown in this viral video and photo, Nick Sandmann put out a full statement of the event that transpired. You can read his statement from a local newspaper in his home state, HERE.