- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MSNBC’s Craig Melvin told mulled over the idea on Wednesday that accosted Americans who wear “Make America Great Again” hats may, for all intents and purposes, be asking for it.

The “MSNBC Live” live host used last week’s viral encounter between Hebrew Israelites, Native American Nathan Phillips, and a group of Covington Catholic High School kids in the nation’s capital as a springboard for the discussion.

“That hat has become symbolic of a lot of things in this country,” Mr. Melvin told Princeton professor Eddie Glaude. “To some, it is merely a hat that dons a political slogan that the president popularized. For others, it has become an invitation for confrontation. Some people referred to the hat as a modern-day version of the Confederate battle flag. Do we think that the same reaction would have been had on both sides if he weren’t wearing that hat?”

Mr. Glaude said it was tough to tell, although he echoed celebrity activist Alyssa Milano’s and the Hebrew Israelites’ stated positions that MAGA hats are “no better than Klan hoods.”

“There was a sense in which the hat announced a certain set of political commitments,” the professor said. “Alyssa Milano the actress I think described the hat as a modern day white sheet. I think that’s how she described it. The hat is in some ways for many of us a kind of racial animus. Make America great again is a kind of nostalgic longing for the 1950s, which black people were to stay in their place, where browns were to stay in their place, and white people were to be treated differently and valued according to the color of their skin.”

“Yes, I think if the hats weren’t involved, it might not have been as intense,” he continued, the media watchdog NewsBusters reported. “But there were also words. … There’s so much there that we need to unpack.”

A man identified as “General Mahayaman” of the Hebrew Israelites told the Philadelphia Inquirer that, in addition to wearing a de facto “Klan hood,” the Covington Catholic students epitomized “pure hatred.”

“There was the American Indian demonstrator who attempted to sing in the face of great hatred,” he said of Mr. Phillips. “What we learned in the Israelite School is that you can’t sing in the face of hatred. You’re going to have to speak up and talk back, and our street speaking is how you talk back.”

The teenagers, who were in the city for the annual March for Life in support of pro-life causes, were called “cracker” and the products of incest prior to their now famous run-in with Mr. Phillips and his drum.

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