If you haven’t seen the news about the “smug” MAGA hat-wearing teen at the Women’s March on Saturday, then, I envy the hell out of you. In short, a video reached the very edges of the Internet this weekend. In it, a teenager wearing a MAGA hat and smiling is nose to nose with a Native American man who is chanting and beating a drum.
Upon first glance of the video, people were immediately jumping down the kid’s throat, calling him racist, a punk, insensitive and accused him of having a “punchable face.”
“Exactly. These sh*tcake kids r the same type to wear a MAGA hat to the African American museum. The same douche-bag kids who do a Nazi salute in a class picture them claim it was a joke. F*ck EM.
It wasn’t just Twitter going crazy, either. The Washington Post immediately jumped to interview the Native American man. According to him, the teens were antagonizing him, mocking his chant and surrounding him. In the article, it is needlessly mentioned that this man lost his wife to cancer and served in the Vietnam War (which isn’t likely given his age). Another individual who claimed to be present told the Washington Post that the teens were also chanting, “Build the wall” (Washington Post, 2019).
Reddit also went a little insane. A post titled “What’s going on with the Native American and the kid in the MAGA hat” received comments such as:
“Pretty sure this kid was trying to intimidate the Native American, who is also a Vietnam vet. Typical entitlement of the MAGA-crowd.
“What I would give to wipe that stupid smirk off his face.
“They’re wearing MAGA HATS. Are you fucking stupid? Do you also believe that kids wearing swastikas aren’t racist but just ‘doing their thing’?
While these comments have since been removed, the thread still stands.
I was so surprised to see so many people assuming the motivations of a group of teens for a simple fashion choice. Yes, I know Donald Trump wears a MAGA hat and some people equate that with racism, but that doesn’t mean everyone thinks the same as you. Even I had some trouble on Twitter, trying to be diplomatic.
Of course, not even eighteen hours later, an entire two hour video had been uploaded from another point of view. Tim Pool breaks it down quite succinctly. To make a long story longer, a group of Black Israelites were hurling homophobic slurs at the teens, then the Native American man came between them to beat his drum. The teens began dancing along – seemingly happy – and it must’ve been taken as an insult by the crowd.
Many of those who tweeted terrible things about the kids immediately deleted anything inflammatory. News outlets updated and changed their articles (except WaPo, who still hasn’t made an update*). People seemed to change their tune.
But only some of them. There are still some individuals accusing the teens of racism and bigotry.
But I think the most egregious piece of this is those who wish to doxx and bully these poor teens. We’re adults. They’re teens. Even after the boy in the video made a statement refuting ever inciting anything, there are many who don’t believe him. If we are required to “believe all women,” then why are we not required to believe all children? Whatever negative emotions it invoked, we believed the kids who were present at the Parkland school shooting.
Kathy Griffin called for the teen to be named, shamed and “taken care of.” Does that sound peaceful to anyone?
Just because someone is different than you are, doesn’t make them a terrible person.
*Correction: WaPo has now corrected their article stating that the Native American man never served in Vietnam.
ColonelCupcake5. (January 19, 2019). What’s going on with the MAGA kid and the native American?. Message posted to https://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/ahw8sa/whats_going_on_with_the_maga_kid_and_the_native/
Grinberg, E., & Williams, D. (January 21, 2019). Teen in confrontation with Native American elder says he was trying to defuse the situation. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/19/us/teens-mock-native-elder-trnd/index.html
Heim, J., Olivo, A., & Wootson Jr., C. (January 20, 2019). ‘It was getting ugly’: Native American drummer speaks on his encounter with MAGA-hat-wearing teens. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/20/it-was-getting-ugly-native-american-drummer-speaks-maga-hat-wearing-teens-who-surrounded-him/?utm_term=.ee601e183780
Pool, T. [Tim Pool]. (Jan 20, 2019). The Truth About “MAGA Kids” And The Native Americans [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZTDIoywwGk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZTDIoywwGk
Twitter. (January 21, 2019). http://www.twitter.com