According to multiple eyewitnesses who have gone on the record with their names, last Saturday, January 24, at least one person in a VIP box at a Rapid City Rush hockey game threw racial insults and beer at a group of 57 American Indian students from American Horse School in Allen. The racist bullying was so bad that the American Horse students' parents and chaperones took the kids out of the arena during the third period to protect the children.
Now an anonymous individual who claims to have been in the VIP box but sitting at the bar an not paying much attention to what was happening at the game tries tells the Rapid City Journal that the kids started it by not standing up for the National Anthem.
Notice that this anonymous source does not refute that the racist assault occurred. This anonymous source does not refute that grown-ups bullied children. This anonymous source attacks the victims with a weak charge that other eyewitnesses who use their names say is not true.
But most importantly, even if we took everyone at their word here, let's put the attack in personal context: Anonymous Individual, if your son or daughter did not stand up for the Star-Spangled Banner, would you call your child racist names and pour beer on your child? If you would, stay the heck away from my child. If you wouldn't, then how could you ever reach the conclusion that any adult could justify responding to someone else's anthem-reposed child in such a brutish fashion?
When I'm at public events where participants are invited to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I omit "under God" (as well as all of those ill-placed grade-school commas). Anonymous Individual, if you hear me not uttering those two words, are you going to call me names and throw beverages at me?
Perhaps we need to invoke Charlie Hebdo: the speech acts of others do not justify violence.
We do not need to establish whether or not Anonymous Individual's attack on the American Horse students' patriotism is true; it does not matter in terms of adjudicating the possible hate crime in question. Nothing justifies calling children racist names and dumping alcoholic beverages on them. It matters only in seeing how racists rationalize their attacks on vulnerable children by further insulting those children.