Writer Gets Slammed After Describing MAGA Boy’s Smile as ‘the Look of White Patriarchy’ Following Viral Video

When a video emerged of the confrontation between a teenage boy and a Native American protester over the weekend, it was unclear what exactly happened.

The video showed the protester, Nathan Phillips, banging a drum and chanting in a male student’s face, who looked back at the protester with a smile. The student, Nick Sandmann, later explained that he smiled to indicate he wasn’t going to be intimidated or get into a heated confrontation.

Watch below:

Although Sandmann might have intended to diffuse the situation, some thought his smile was an instrument of the patriarchy or white supremacy. Other videos showed that Sandmann and his classmates received insults from other protesters, and suggested that Phillips was the one who approached them.

BuzzFeed senior culture correspondent Anne Helen Petersen issued a long Twitter thread in which she likened Sandmann to other men who, she assumed, took a misogynistic disposition.

“One theme of the conversations over the past 24 hours = how deeply familiar this look is,” Petersen said. “It’s the look of white patriarchy, of course, but that familiarity — that banality — is part of what prompts the visceral reaction.”

She went on to bring up complaints she had with former students who reminded her of Sandmann.

Petersen suggested that the fall-out from the confrontation reinforced her theory that something terrible was taking place in our culture:

The response on Twitter was brutal, as many suggested that Petersen was out of line for saying what she did:

In an apparent response to some of the criticism she received, Petersen indicated that commenters were “reproduc[ing] those same systems of oppression.”

Petersen wasn’t the only one criticizing Sandmann’s smile. Self-described “feminist author” Jessica Valenti similarly seemed outraged by Sandmann’s smile.

“I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about that MAGA kid all day – in part because I think so many of us have been on the receiving end of the face he was making: a smug, untouchable, entitled ‘fuck you,'” she said.

Another journalist, Mark Harris, blasted Sandmann’s “smug, fixed, chilly smile.”

“That’s not a teenager out of control,” he said. “It’s the familiar gleam of a zealot.”

What do you think?

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