EAST TEXAS, TX (KLTV) - The video exchange between a group of Catholic school students and a Native American that has gone viral is disturbing. Actually, the disturbing part is how it obviously only showed a portion of a very complicated exchange involving 3 parties – the students, the Native American and a third group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites.
Most everyone has seen the close-up encounter that shows student Nick Sandmann inches away from Native American Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The first time you see the video, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that Sandmann and the group of students amassed around him must have approached the elder Phillips beating the drum. When in actuality, the opposite happened - Phillips approached the student.
He says it was to diffuse a shouting match between the students and the other group. But even that is not fully accurate. While it is true the Black Hebrew Israelites were shouting racial slurs and taunts at the students – captured on video, the students got permission to start doing some school cheers – also caught on video.
So, every position in our divided country was honored in this encounter and it is wrong – wrong to jump to conclusions without demanding more information, wrong for taking the bait on social media from sources of questionable origin, and wrong to takes sides and create yet another wall between valid debate and discussion – discussion without division. It is an equation missing in today’s America and getting it back will not be easy – but we must try and that will make for a Better East Texas.