The white hood of the K.K.K. is an instantly recognizable symbol of hate, that at one time, up to 8 million Americans aligned themselves with. The Klan at its peak in the 1920’s, saw membership reach numbers that today, we shudder at.
The MAGA hat is also an instantly recognizable symbol, and one that has polarized the nation unlike any political headgear has in decades. Both stand out in a crowd, boldly, brashly, and unapologetically.
Recently, highly respected political pundit and intellectual Alyssa Milano stated during an interview that the Make America Great Again hat was the modern day version of the white hood of the Klan.
A claim that made headlines, and ensured that Alyssa Milano’s name was relevant again for the first time in years.
The MAGA hat has been through the media ringer, and has been used by some media outlets and political ideologies to pinpoint a clear and distinguishable symbol of hatred that exists in America. An America that some say, is more racist, sexist, and backwards than ever.
It makes the “us versus them” of the current political climate instantly distinguishable. The enemy, they say, wears red hats.
They’re racist, they’re homophobic, and they’re proud of it. But all of these assumptions are built around the premise that the hat itself represents evil. A topic that, as we all know, is up to plenty of debate.
The hat has been seen in incident after incident, usually used as an exclamation point during fiascos, to definitively prove that alleged perpetrators of a crime are guilty of all the sin attributed to them.
As a matter of fact, there have already been two incidents that have taken place in 2019 in which the hats have been a focal point of the story.
The MAGA hats at Covington Catholic
The first was the insanity that surrounded the Covington Catholic School boys last month, where Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder, claims he was swarmed by a bunch of rowdy white teens wearing red hats, yelling “build that wall!” and having the absolute gaul to smirk at him, while he pounded away on his hand drum, chanting a traditional song of his people.
The story exploded, and as we can look back and see, the media did a pretty horrible job of accurately reporting the incident. We now know that Phillips was the one who approached the boys, and there was varying degrees of verbal conflict from both parties. The initial outrage was tremendous, as people stormed onto Twitter to let their anger be heard.
Some celebrities were so mad, that they even called for violence against the young men. Wheeler Walker Jr., a comedic country singer whose real name is Ben Hoffman, tweeted that he’d give a signed version of his albums to those who punched the boy in the testicles.
“I know I have fans in Paris Hills, Ky.” Wheeler Walker Jr. said. “If you know this little shit, punch him in the nuts and send me the video of it and I’ll send you all my albums on vinyl, autographed.”
The tweet from Wheeler Walker Jr. and a repost on Instagram immediately went viral themselves, but also stimulated a strong backlash from people concerned that Wheeler Walker Jr. was encouraging violence against a minor.
The post on Instagram was removed by the social media company after complaints, Walker Jr. claimed in a subsequent post later on Saturday, asserting that he was not backing down. However later the second Instagram post was removed, as was the original tweet. Then on January 22nd, both Wheeler Walker Jr.’s Twitter and Instagram accounts appeared to be deleted.
Why? Would there have been this level of outrage had there been no MAGA hats involved? If the political ideologies of these boys were not clearly known? If instead, a Native elder walked into a crowd of boys, and one smirked at him?
MAGA hats at Jussie Smollett’s Apartment
Another incident that has taken place is the alleged hate crime that has taken place against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who claims that people followed him back into his Chicago apartment at 2 a.m., and assaulted him.
There is an ongoing investigation into what exactly is true and untrue about Jussie’s story. I am absolutely not saying that these events did not take place, but questions have arisen due to some of the inconsistencies of the celebrity’s story, and there appears to be more questions arising than answers.
Police are attempting to crack down people of interest. After scouring hours of video, the police have found next to nothing, but have two “possible persons of interest.” There is very little you can take away from the photo provided.
Accurate reporting comes with time, but this did not stop media figureheads from lambasting all Trump supporters, yet again.
The crime sounds like an educated historian painted up the perfect, symbolic hate crime. Jussie, a black gay actor from hit TV series Empire, is assaulted, verbally berated with racial and homophobic slurs, has a noose tied around his neck, and then is doused in bleach, all while they yell “This is MAGA country!” in his face.
It’s a bit odd that at 2 A.M. on a -20 night, Jussie decided to walk to his neighbourhood Subway restaurant instead of getting some UberEats.
While the jury is still out on whether the accuracy of Jussie’s story stands up, we know of a confirmed hate crime that took place in January of a different year.
Four perpetrators, who are black, kidnapped a disabled white victim, who was tied up with tape over his mouth. They cut his hair until is scalp bled, and even threatened to kill him, apparently amused by his confusion and pain.
The four perpetrators were also heard shouting “F*ck Trump” and “F*ck white people” in the video. One of the suspects contacted the victim’s mother and demanded a $300 ransom for the victim’s return.
Anti-Semitism related to MAGA hats
The political ideologies that surround the MAGA hat are also being used to pinpoint the upswing in anti-Semitic sentiment. The Tree of Life shooting that took place in November of 2018 is a perfect example of this.
Various media outlets called the horrendous shooting a reflection of the sad mess that America has become because of President Trump. That Trump’s America is the reason for the ever growing hatred towards races and other groups, like Jews.
But this is just media ignorance. Robert Bowers, the man who entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire on innocent Jewish civilians, despised Donald Trump.
This may make some people’s heads spin, but the fact of the matter is that most neo-Nazi’s hate the President. They believe he is a “shill”, and that he’s a proponent of the Jewish global conspiracy they obsess about.
It appears as though the MAGA hat isn’t so much a modern day equivalent of a white hood, but is instead a “nail in the coffin” that some political enemies of the right are using to prove that someone is guilty of a crime, whether or not they committed the crime in the first place.
Only time will tell how history remembers the MAGA hat. It’s a polarizing symbol that some say is the equivalent of even a Nazi armband. But it’s not so clear cut.
There are people of all creeds and skin tones that proudly wear their red hats that do not have a racist bone in their body.
What do you think? Let us know.