Red Hats = “malevolent, murderous goblin”

From Alyssa Milano:

Last week, a group of boys engaged with a Native American man beating a tribal drum. The exchange was caught on video. And watching that video, each of us saw what we wanted to see. Because the divisions in this country are so deep they’re fossilized.

Still, some things in that video cannot be disputed–no matter what angle or how extended the cut is. These boys, who attend a religious school, were there on a school trip protesting against a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. Several of these boys were wearing red MAGA hats, a hat that has become synonymous with white nationalism and racism. Several were doing a “tomahawk chop.” Several were laughing.

When I saw that video, I saw boys flaunting their entitlement and displaying toxic masculinity. It seemed to me like they were reflecting the white nationalism and racism that the hats on their heads have come to represent.

I sent out a tweet that read, “The red MAGA hat is the new white hood.” Right-wing pundits and anonymous trolls alike screamed for my head–literally and figuratively. My husband received death threats on his cell phone. Many demanded an apology.

Here’s the thing: I was right.

Yeah, she was. It’s so obviously true that those hats have come to represent a deep political division in this country that I’m surprised any of the right-wingers are complaining — they should just own their shit. Of course that hat represents bigotry and narrow-mindedness and tribalism and know-nothingness and American provincialism, that’s how Trump got elected. When you see someone wearing that hat, you know from the get-go they’re not going to advocate for tolerance and progressivism, that they despise immigrants, want women to get back in the kitchen and have babies, and have a deep affection for jingo and Fox News.

But I guess the Red Hats at least still have a vestige of shame if they’re trying to lie about their associations.

Oddly enough, red hats have another meaning: The redcap (or Redcap) is a type of malevolent, murderous goblin found in Border folklore. He is said to inhabit ruined castles along the Anglo-Scottish border, especially those that were the scenes of tyranny or wicked deeds, and is known for soaking his cap in the blood of his victims. Seems appropriate.


  1. Ishikiri says

    Out to protest bodily autonomy: ☑
    →Does not have a uterus: ☑
    Wearing hat inextricably associated with Donald J. Trump, a bigoted bully and fascist: ☑

    Yeah, I don’t give a shit what your side of the story is. You’re a bunch of little assholes.

  2. Jeremy Shaffer says

    The MAGA hats are just the latest manifestation of what Lee Atwater explained in the 1980’s:

    You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*****, n*****, n*****.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*****” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*****, n*****.”

    And in 2019, you wear a gaudy hat that proclaims “Make America Great Again” with a smirk and a wink that we all know what that really means while safe in the knowledge that if anyone calls you out on it your mom will hire a PR firm to do an end run on credulous media outlets so eager to for a return to the days they could fart out “both sides” and it sort of seemed fine, if you squinted and ignored a lot- well, it was accepted as true at least- so the right-wing might finally stop smearing them as biased and partisan even though why would they since it always results in the media jumping over themselves to vomit out talking points in a “fair and balanced” way that only ever benefited the right and their benighted agenda so why would they stop and here we are having to talk about whether a hat means what we all know it means and not a snotty little brat who knew precisely what the hell he was doing that day and what problems that represents.

  3. unclefrogy says

    ty is becoming more anti democratic every day.when I was a kid redcaps were the black railroad porters who helped you on the trains. what the hell are passenger trains?

    are redhats trumps brown shirts or black shirts they seem? Or just a cheap gimmick like his stupid slogans he uses to fool the base that he is what they want? Those who wear the hats are what they seem and see him as one of themselves and not “the bad others”
    What it is becoming clearer is the conservative party is becoming more anti-democratic every day.
    uncle frogy

  4. bhebing says

    Red Hat Linux will probably be filing a name change pretty soon…. Although you can be sure that any name they will choose will become controversial as well; their Open Source distro is (was?) called Fedora.

  5. imback says

    Re #7 “Redcap is better than Red Hat,” how about “Hat-Red” wherein what it stands for is clear.

  6. flange says

    The implication of “Make America Great Again” is to justify and validate all the hatred, bigotry and violence that was part of the “Great America” that never was.
    (I paraphrase “The Rude Pundit.”)

  7. jrkrideau says

    British Royal Military Police used to wear red caps and were known as Redcaps (aka monkeys) . My father, not a particularly happy conscript to begin with, returned from the war with a deep hatred for Redcaps.

  8. Kagehi says

    In quite a few different fantasy/urban fantasy settings the “red caps” are also a variation of elf, whose primary characteristics are that they a) hate everyone, and b) dye their caps with the blood of those they kill for the dark queen of winter (the two apposing “courts” being those of summer, and winter). They are, basically, her elite assassins. The ones incapable of seeing value in anything other than their own dark cause, and basically unredeemable. In fact, I am pretty sure I have never read a single book/series in which anyone was ever an “ex-red cap”. It would be like having someone be an ex-serial killer.

  9. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    My point in her defense would be that the white hood used to be about as common as the red hat. The KKK used to have the same kind of deep racist base as the modern MAGAites, with the same ability to elect candidates, control the discourse, etc. The point of the comparison, I would hope, would be to remind people that it can happen here, because it already did.