Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Juan Cole's Rush to Judgement

University of Michigan professor Juan Cole has joined the mainstream media in a rush to judgment against the high school students from Covington Catholic HS in Kentucky who were involved in an incident this week in the nation's capital. Cole's language is much worse-hysterical, in fact- than that of the media. On January 20, two days after the incident at the March for Life event in Washington DC, Cole posted this in his blog, "Informed Comment" How uninformed he turned out to be.

(Under the category of "Donald Trump", no less)

Since Cole's column was posted January 20, it may well be that he was relying on the reporting from the media before additional information came out that contradicted the original narrative. Yet, as of this writing, there is no update from Cole.

On January 21, I posted this on the incident:

As to Cole's report, he does not have any mention of the video showing a group of Black Israelites, a fringe group of African-Americans, people much older than the teenagers, berating them with racist language. That video can be viewed in my post linked above.

But let us give the "informed" professor the benefit of the doubt and assume he was unaware of that particular video. Let us examine Cole's posting using his own supporting video. Here it is:

"Vietnam Vet Nathan Phillips saw a mean crowd of white teens in Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” caps harassing four African American young men. He was beating his drum and chanting, and came forward, drawing the attention of the young thugs, realizing the danger, he said."

First of all, do these high schoolers really look "mean" in that video? And where does it show them "harassing" four young African-American men"? In contrast the video we posted clearly shows the so-called Black Israelites abusing the kids in the vilest and most racist manner. And what is the "danger" that Nathan Phillips realized? Do you see him in danger in this video? Or any other video? In addition, Phillips is not a Vietnam vet, he is a Vietnam era vet. That was a point that was incorrectly reported by the media.

"They then mocked and taunted him, doing a bad sing-along of his chant, and then one of the teens, an unbearably smug look on his face, planted himself in Phillips’s way and trapped him in the ugly crown of Mean Boys. They were chanting “Build the Wall.”

The boy in question, Nick Sandmann, did not plant himself in Phillips' way. Cole's own video shows that. He merely stood his ground as Phillips approached the boys and stood in the boy's face banging his drum and chanting. Sandmann maintains that he purposely kept a smile on his face to try and show he was no threat. Nowhere does Cole's video show Sandmann saying anything to Phillips or making any hostile or threatening move. Nothing in Cole's video shows Phillips being "trapped by the Mean Boys". 

Were they chanting, "Build the Wall"? There are several videos of that day going around, and I don't want to say categorically that nobody ever did. In the video Cole posted as well as the accompanying CNN report, I don't hear it clearly. It may have been said at the 12 second and 1:20 marks, but I cannot say for sure. Several things some of the boys said are hard to make out because of the noise being produced by Phillips. Are they mocking Phillips or joining in the festivities? I did see a couple of boys do the "tomahawk chop" and use that dopey chant you hear at Atlanta Braves' games. In another video I previously posted, one of the boys is heard to say, "......all the way back to Africa" Whatever the context of that was, I don't like it. I don't agree with any of the above, but to characterize the behavior of the kids, immature at moments to be sure, as threatening or angry is absurd.

"The teen’s smug look no doubt was worn by those thugs who ordered the Trail of Tears, when Native Americans were expelled from the Southeast."

That statement is pure hysteria and unworthy of a university professor, as is the below statement from Cole:

"Hannah Arendt spoke of the banality of evil, of the way in which boring routine bureaucracy had been deployed by the Nazis to commit unspeakable crimes against humanity.
What struck me from looking at those young men was that she could have perhaps even more usefully spoken of the stupidity of evil."

Cole continues:

"How stupid do you have to be to insist on a fetus’s right to life but to endanger the life of an elderly Vet by putting him into a bottleneck in the midst of an angry mob?"

Angry? Where in the video does these kids look angry? They are smiling and laughing. Where in this video does it appear that Phillips' life is in danger. What hyperbole!

And of course, it is all the fault of-you guessed it- President Trump. 

"He is too polite to blame Trump for our collective national two minutes hate, but I’m not. This incident was Trump’s fault."

This article is just as bad or worse than what we saw reported on CNN and MSNBC. Cole could have rectified it by posting an update which gave another side to the story. He could have posted the vile video with the Black Israelites verbally abusing the kids. He has chosen not to do that. Instead "Mr. Informed Comment"  goes with the initial media reports and uses absurd hyperbole to compare these kids to Nazis and those who waged war against indigenous tribes. The Trail of Tears. Really?

What's really scary here is that this character is a college professor. This is what is teaching our kids. 


Siarlys Jenkins said...

I've had too much fun with this at another blog, and I'm not going to type it all again. But those kids probably bought the MAGA hats at a tourist trinket wagon on the mall as a souvenir of their visit to DC. And the Black Hebrews were originally there to excoriate the Native Americans for their idolatry and abandonment of the "true and living God."

Gary Fouse said...

Amazing how the media gave a free pass to the Black Israelites, who were screaming epithets at the kids.