Guest Post – Howard Portnoy
I was under the impression that the Boston Tea Party was no longer taught in the nation’s schools because it is insulting to American Indians. Obviously I was mistaken:
After protesters in Ferguson, Missouri looted shops, burned police cars, and harassed reporters in the wake of a grand jury decision they disagreed with, the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin circulated a guide to teachers offering tips about how to talk about Ferguson with students.
Calling the Ferguson riots “a teachable moment for our students,” the Madison teacher’s guide encourages educators to use the resources and articles linked in the document, “to help frame the issues in Ferguson in a historical perspective.”
One of the resources linked in the document is a blog post by a Michigan teacher from August that compares the Ferguson riots and looting to the Boston Tea Party. Another resource linked was an article from The Atlantic titled “Reparations for Ferguson” that compared police officers to predators. [Emphasis added]
OK, let’s back up here and take a closer look at this comparison. The Boston Tea Party was a carefully planned and organized protest by the Sons of Liberty against a scheme by the British Crown to impose unfair taxes on the colonists. The Ferguson protests were a spontaneous, if predictable, mob reaction to a shooting death, egged on by “community organizers,” that resulted in the wholesale destruction of property in the predominantly black St. Louis suburb. About the only thing the two events have in common is that both can fairly be described as protests.
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