Ferguson vs. Boston

The tragic event of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri have led to protests and rioting against police brutality. It brings to the surface (again) the institutional racism that has always been in our country. I think white privilege causes some to look at Ferguson as an excuse for criminal activity rather than a political protest. A friend of mine tweeted a comment about the looting comparing it to the Boston Tea Party. I made this image.


I think this leads to many questions:

  • What are the similarities between the events?
  • What are the differences?
  • What are the issues that each side is upset about?
  • Why did the people in Boston dress up as Native Americans?
  • What stereotypes does that show?
  • What stereotypes do people have about the way the man on the left is dressed?
  • What is institutional racism and how should it be addressed?
  • Why is the image on the right called a “party”?
  • The event on the right has been mythologized and treated as action by heroes. Do you think the event on the left will be?
  • Should the people in either picture be considered heroes or criminals?

If you choose to use this in class, I would encourage you to have students generate their own questions before you ask them your own. This will both engage them and if you pay attention to what they ask you will be able to gauge their viewpoint on the events in Ferguson. I also would encourage you to follow this up with research of the multiple perspectives of what is happening there.