Is the MAGA hat the new KKK white hood? A few college students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) seem to think so.
In a series of man-on-the-street interviews by Cabot Phillips of Campus Reform and YouTuber Mike Ayetiwa, students at UNLV were asked if the red “Make America Great Again” hat is a hateful symbol that strikes the same fear in the hearts of people as the KKK hood would. Take a look:
The video begins with Ayetiwa and Phillips showing several students photos of the KKK hood, asking them to describe the type of feelings it stirs within them. The answers: fear, repulsion, anger, racism, hate, etc. Later, when the hosts present a red MAGA hat and ask the students if it bears any relationship with the KKK hood, the answers are somewhat surprising.
“When you see that, what comes to mind?” Phillips asks an African American female student.
“The same thing,” she anxiously replies. “I’m not gonna lie … In some ways. Maybe in their morality basis.”
When Ayetiwa shows the red MAGA hat to a trio of black female students, they immediately declare it “the modern-day hoodie.”
“People have said the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat is the new KKK hood. Do you agree with that?” asks Ayetiwa.
“I think so,” replies one of the girls. “It’s like the same thing. They’re representing the same thing, just a different color and shape.”
“If you look at our president and what he’s doing, you can definitely tell,” replies another girl.
One black male student is more nuanced, stating, “it doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s what you’re doing.” Later, he says that people wearing MAGA hats should not be harassed.
One white male student says that people who wear the MAGA hat are “stupid” in a political sense, and that includes black Americans and Hispanic Americans.
Not all the students interviewed believed that the MAGA hats are the new white hoods. While some acknowledge that racists might support Trump, they maintain it is extreme to brand half the country with the label of racism. One student openly supports the MAGA hat and says it is a patriotic symbol, denouncing its haters as ignorant.
The MAGA hat being the new KKK hood was promoted by actress Alyssa Milano during the Covington Catholic school controversy. “The red MAGA hat is the new white hood,” she said in a tweet. “Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”
Milano later doubled-down on her stance in an op-ed for TheWrap. “Let me be clear: I’m not saying everyone who voted for Trump is a racist. I’m saying that everyone who proudly wears the red hat identifies with an ideology of white supremacy and misogyny,” she wrote. “Everyone who proudly wears those hats gives a tacit endorsement for the hatred and the violence we’ve seen these past few years.”
She continued: “I am sorry. I’m sorry for the decades and decades of oppression and abuses people of color have faced in this country. I’m sorry that as part of a privileged white majority we did not stop this Administration from happening. I’m sorry to those who have suffered at the hands of the Red Hats and the policies their leadership implements. See, I’m not apologizing to the Red Hats. I’m apologizing for them.”