Earlier this month, a video of a confrontation between a student at Covington Catholic High School, Nick Sandmann, and a Native American activist, Nathan Phillips, went viral.
The interaction, which took place at an anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C., involved Phillips beating a drum and chanting while Sandmann, wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, stood in front of him smirking.
Reverend Irene Monroe and Reverend Emmett Price discussed the controversy on the latest installment of "All Revved Up." Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, and Price is a professor and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
"I think it's a classic case of what white male entitlement looks like," said Price.
He contrasted the media's coverage of the white, male Covington Catholic students with the treatment of four black girls in Binghamton, New York, who were allegedly interrogated and strip searched by school officials after they were suspected of possessing drugs. The school has denied that the strip search took place.
"This whole notion of whether there was a smirk or a smile or a stare-down — I'm reminded of last week that there were four black girls from East Middle School in Binghamton who were strip searched ... because the nurse and the assistant principal thought they were on drugs because they were giddy [and] hyper," Price added.
"The optics really just don't look right," Monroe said.
Monroe pointed out that the image of Sandmann staring down Phillips was a fitting representation of the state of public discourse today.
"I thought it was also a metaphor that the boy was up in Nathan Phillips' face, in the way that everybody is these days. Because of the way civil discourse has evolved, we're all up in everybody's face," she said.