A conservative third-year law student responded to a law professor’s comment on “MAGA,” or “Make America Great Again,” hats are an “undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups” after a student wore one to his class, saying his interpretation of a MAGA hat is a “grotesque attack on the politics of a student.”
Jeffrey Omari is a visiting assistant professor at the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington. In July, after witnessing a student wearing a MAGA hat to his classroom, he posted a written note for the American Bar Association Journal, expressing that his “blood boiled.”
In the post, Omari claimed that as a black man living in a country with “increasingly polarized political climate” like America, he felt humiliated and racist if someone wear the MAGA hat in front of him, as from his point of view, MAGA is an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups.
“As the student sat there directly in front of me, his shiny red MAGA hat was like a siren spewing derogatory racial obscenities at me for the duration of the one hour and 15-minute class,” he wrote.
Omari also pointed out that as none of his fellow colleagues experienced students wearing political gear in their classrooms, so he felt that the student was intentionally attempting to “intimidate and/or racially antagonize” him. Before that, he said he respects students’ rights to free speech, and to freely express their political beliefs.
Responding to his post, Austin Phelps, the student that wore the MAGA hat and a Trump-Pence 2020 T-shirt to Omari’s class, wrote to the ABA Journal.
“After reading his article, I understand why I was not called on with the frequency that left-leaning students enjoyed,” Phelps wrote.
“Wearing a MAGA hat or any other conservative paraphernalia does not make me a white supremacist, anti-Semite, bigot, or any other stereotype that may be misapplied. The purpose of wearing a MAGA hat is to identify as a supporter of Donald Trump and as a believer in conservative values,” Phelps wrote, stated that the professor’s interpretation of a MAGA hat is nothing but a grotesque attack on the politics of a student.
Phelps went on to indicate that “with an overwhelming majority of faculty falling left on the political spectrum, some will inevitably take strides to not only push their ideology on students but to also ensure that conservative voices are not heard in the conversation,” Phelps wrote. “This happens through contrived dress codes and insinuating, or even enforcing, the mandatory removal of MAGA hats in the classroom.”