Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…” Given today’s story regarding the group of students who taunted and threatened a Native American leader peacefully singing to close out the Indigenous People’s March, our future is looking rather bleak. If this is what we are teaching them, we need to take a good hard look in the mirror.
I can’t say I blame the children, although certainly high school kids should be held accountable for their behavior. I blame the parents and the school who molded them into people who feel it is OK to mock, hate, and threaten another human being solely based on their race. They did not know Nathan Phillips. All they knew was that he was a Native American. They saw him beating on a drum and chanting at the end of the march and they thought it was OK to go up and threaten him. They should have been taught better. And where were the adults while this was going on? Were they silently condoning the behavior or were they just oblivious? Either way, they are partly responsible.
The school these kids attended has indicated that they take this incident seriously and will take appropriate action – even expelling students. To me this is closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Why weren’t these kids taught to respect all people? In fact, as a Catholic school one would think that these students were being held to a higher standard. Isn’t that one of the reasons parents send their kids to parochial school?
If we really want a better future, we need to find a way to come together and respect people who are different than us. “Teach your children well.”