One aspect of the Covington controversy has received very little coverage, let alone condemnation: the outright racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism of the (very small) black-nationalist group confronting the teenagers. If you watch the nearly two-hour YouTube video, filmed by a man who seems to be a member of the Black Israelites, you will see the black men, all adult, hurling insult after insult at the students, for well over an hour. It seems accidental that the students and the black nationalists are at the same spot on the mall — the former waiting for their buses back to Kentucky and the latter staging a small demonstration.
The students are called “hyenas,” “dogs,” “white crackers,” and “faggot.” They are ridiculed for being lice-ridden and told to “go back to Europe where you come from.” One man says he can tell by looking in the students’ eyes that they will be “school shooters.” They are the “product of sodomy.” We hear that black Jesus is coming back to kick the “white crackers’ ass.” This black Christ is not like the image of Jesus the boys supposedly hold — that Jesus is a “faggot child molester.” “Your president is a homosexual!” one man yells. He urges the teenagers to look up a YouTube video of Rudy Giuliani in drag, kissing Donald Trump. (I imagine he is referring to the skit for a charity event in 2000 that featured Giuliani in, yes, a fetching blond wig, dress, and heels.) By “your president,” the black nationalist obviously means Trump, but one student hoists up a campaign poster of Obama, and only about 10 percent of the students are wearing MAGA hats. One boy says that most of the kids in the group aren’t old enough to vote yet.
The students for the most part keep their distance and respond only mildly to these insults, if at all. A few briefly try out a little dialogue. There is no violence or assault of any kind. This all happens before the now-famous Nathan Phillips approaches the student group, beating his drum.
To most in the media, the black nationalists’ words, and their role in the controversy, are apparently like wallpaper, barely worth a mention. But that in itself is a form of disrespect, a soft bigotry of low expectations. Or, are we buying the PC notion that only white people can be bigoted?