CNN’s Kirsten Powers: Covington Students Called Classmate ‘N***er’ with Hand Gesture

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Screenshot/CNN, NASA, Edit: BNN
JOSHUA CAPLAN

CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers bizarrely claimed on Monday that Covington Catholic High School students referred to a black classmate as a racial slur with silent hand gestures to their harassers — who were actually saying the word.

The alleged gesture occurred in the lead up to a confrontation between some of the school’s students and a Native American activist on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during Friday’s March for Life event in Washington, D.C.

Initial video of a confrontation between Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann and Native American activist Nathan Phillips created a firestorm of controversy on social media, with both left and right-wing media observers accusing the student of racism. Sandmann, donning a red Make America Great Again baseball cap, is seen smiling as he stands in front of Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe, who is beating a drum close to his face. Some of Sandmann’s classmates were laughing and making hand gestures in what some say were attempts to make fun of Phillips.

However, additional footage paints a more complex picture of the events. In other videos shared to social media, members of the Black Hebrew Israelites — an ethnic-pride religious sect which has run afoul even of the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center — are seen verbally accosting the students, calling them “racist bastards,” “little dirty-ass crackers,” and “child-molesting faggots.”

The Black Hebrew Israelites also compare the students to dogs and hyenas and challenge them to a fight. At one point, as Powers notes,  the harassers shouted at the students: “Ya’ll got one n***er in the crowd!”

The CNN analyst then claims one of the two students who responded to the slur, held up one finger — in her mind, “apparently referring to the one black boy in the group.”

Responding to Powers’ accusation, Reason editor Robby Soave said that while he doesn’t believe the students behaved perfectly throughout the ordeal, it is unfair to condemn the whole based on the actions of a few students onto the entire group. Powers then reiterates the claim that the students were describing a classmate as this particular racist slur by making a hand gesture, asking Soave: “[I]s that what you call referencing a black classmate as N—–? “not reacting perfectly?””

The charge came as several newspapers alleged widespread racism among Covington Catholic High School students, past and present.

As Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak reported:

The UK Daily Mail reported Monday evening that the school has been “called out for allowing other youngsters to wear “blackface” at pep rallies in the last 10 years.” It reprinted screenshots of YouTube videos — since deleted — in which students from Covington Catholic students painted their faces and bodies in black at a basketball game.

The Daily Mail claimed that in one photograph, ostensibly from 2015, “students wore blackface and jeered as an African American player from the school’s opponent stood in front of them.” At no point in the story did the Daily Mail consider the question of whether the paint actually referred to race, or was a demonstration of school spirit.

Two sources at Covington told Breitbart News that the students were not wearing “blackface” but had been participating in “blackout” sporting events several years ago, like other color-themed events for school spirit that had nothing to do with race.

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