The DePaulia

Filed under Nation & World

After D.C. March confrontation, some ask: What’s in a smile?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

People have been having conversations about the deeper meaning behind a teenager’s smile.

The viral Jan. 18 video of an encounter between Native American Elder Nathan Phillips and Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann after the anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C. has created divided opinions about the true intentions behind Sandmann’s facial expression.

Sandmann provided a statement to CNN on Jan. 23 in an attempt to clarify what transpired in the video. Sandmann said Phillips approached him, though Sandmann was not sure why.

Sandmann also said that by remaining “motionless and calm” he believed he could diffuse the situation. He said though he wasn’t making faces at Phillips, he did smile as a way to let Phillips know he would not become angry.

Some people said Sandmann appeared to be smirking instead of smiling.

Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, left, and Native American activist Nathan Phillips confront each other after the March for Life on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 18. After video of the incident went viral, Covington Catholic temporarily shut its doors Tuesday.

Sharon Davila, a licensed clinical social worker at Purposeful Living in the Horner Park neighborhood, said that while there is no universal facial expression to indicate stress, each person does have a unique facial expression when facing overwhelming situations.

Psychological scientists Tara Kra and Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas conducted a 2012 study called “Grin and Bear It: The Influence of Manipulated Facial Expression on the Stress Response.” It found there are benefits to maintaining positive facial expressions, such as smiling, when under stress. The researchers found their subjects had lower heart rates once they recovered from stress-inducing activities.

Germinal Van, a conservative political writer, said Sandmann is a young high school Trump supporter who does not understand the current political climate. He believes the political le has used the incident to portray the right as evil.

“Nick Sandmann didn’t do anything wrong,” Van said. “He was standing there; he didn’t use physical force. He was just standing there. It’s just playing on people’s emotions, which is sad. We’re not heading to the right directions right now.”

Van said Sandmann was probably smirking when facing Phillips. He said high school kids’ actions are based on emotions, and they do not think rationally.

“Maybe he found that it was funny at the moment, but I don’t think his intent was to undervalue the culture of Nathan Phillips,” Van said.

College student Mark Lester said Sandmann was, in fact, smirking and vocalized that Sandmann’s explanation did not convince him.

“I didn’t see anything in that kid’s face that looked like he was scared or trying to di use the situation or saying a silent prayer,” Lester said. “He looked like he was being egged on by his peers. If he thought he was in danger, he didn’t have to stand right in that guy’s face.”

Lester said he does not believe the students were being bullied, but he does believe they were misbehaving. He said the smirk says a lot about the problems society is trying to address.

“There’s a culture that the smirk belies,” Lester said. “That smirk symbolizes something we are trying to get to the heart of. There was no dialogue between the two. We can’t really know what they were thinking.”


3 Responses to “After D.C. March confrontation, some ask: What’s in a smile?”

  1. David McNeil on January 28th, 2019 4:27 pm

    In a very unusual, difficult, and stressful situation high school student Nick Sandmann attempted to force a smile for reasons he explains. This article attempts to “correct” Sandmann’s interpretation with the opinions of “college student Mark Lester.” This is not convincing. Who is Mark Lester and what are his credentials for knowing the inner workings of Nick Sandmann’s thoughts and emotions better than Mr. Sandmann himself?
    Other details presented by Nick Sandmann are fully corroborated by the videos of the incident. This provides a second reason for believing his statement over the opinions of a randomly chosen college student.

  2. Chryssy Berry from USA on February 1st, 2019 5:00 pm

    After 12years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he could come back to me, I was really worried and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a Love spell for me. 11hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr.Unity is real spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your ex lover back or save your marriage fast. Do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster Dr.Unity now. Here’s his contact: Call/WhatsApp him: +2348071622464 ,Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.comn.

  3. all shortcut keys on February 9th, 2019 3:25 am

    Visit here and know the complete information of windows shortcut keys. This website provides all the information of windows shortcut keys.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The Student News Site of DePaul University
After D.C. March confrontation, some ask: What’s in a smile?