Weekend Racism In DC Shows The Nation Has A Long Way To Go On This MLK Day

[Editor’s Note: The following letter came from a Commoner Call reader who asked for anonymity. The letter is appropriate to what this nation should stand for on this Martin Luther King Day. — Mark L. Taylor]


“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m not going to say much but rather allow the videos below to speak for themselves. I woke up this morning to the NPR news at seven (sleeping in for me) and heard a story about boys from a Catholic school in Covington, Kentucky who were harassing some Native American singers/drummers. The boys were in Washington Saturday for a pro-life/antiabortion rally and the drummers were in Washington the same day to participate in the Indigenous Peoples March.

As a former Cub Scout leader, and Boy Scout Scoutmaster, and someone who endured my fair share of bullying as a schoolboy, it’s always been obvious that boys want to feel “a part of something.” Sadly, where families struggle, that’s one of the attractions to gangs in the intercity.  In Scouting we try to channel that into working together, and gaining leadership skills, and recognizing the good we can do in society. It comes at a challenging time in a boy’s life (9-through the teen years) where they are finding themselves.

Impressionable boys

All too often, as in this case, or the case of the high school kids from Baraboo, Wisconsin using the Nazi salute, individuals, especially young impressionable boys/men, act inappropriately because they are backed up by “a mob” (insecure and seeking recognition/acceptance). Or, to a greater sense, today the political jingoism that has permeated our body politic and has made this public display more widely acceptable (hate has always been with us but it isn’t always socially acceptable to be on display).

I doubt if that sweet looking kid, that got right in the face of elder Nathan Phillips, is truly evil. But if he is, he sure as hell wasn’t born that way.

  • Video Shows MAGA-Clad Teenagers Harassing, Mocking Native American Vietnam Vet — Shocking video that has quickly sparked outrage online shows how a group of teenagers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats mocked and harassed a Native American elder at the Indigenous Peoples March in D.C. on Friday. The videos posted online show how the teenagers surrounded and proceeded to ridicule Nathan Phillips as he sang the American Indian Movement Song at the Lincoln Memorial. In a particularly galling moment of the video, a boy stands right in front of Phillips with a smug grin plastered on his face while others behind him clap and jeer as they cheer him on. Phillips is a Native American elder of the Omaha tribe and a Vietnam veteran, according to Indian Country Today. … Link to Story and 3+-Minute Video


  • Interview with Native American elder Nathan Phillips: Link to Video