FERGUSON, Mo. – Activist teachers are already spinning yarns in their classrooms to score political points in the shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown.
The unidentified Selma, Alabama teacher who was suspended for having students reenact the shooting isn’t the only one.
Mike Kaechele, a Grand Rapids, Michigan teacher says the incident, as well as resulting looting and rioting, are a good reminder that “institutional racism has always been” in America.
He writes on his “Concrete Classroom” blog:
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. William Chamberlain tweeted a comment about the looting comparing it to the Boston Tea Party.
So “white privilege” causes people to look at the looting as “criminal activity” as opposed to a “political protest”?
Kaechele created this image and posted it on his website.
The teacher offered several questions to be asked, including:
*What are the similarities between the events?
*Why did the people in Boston dress up as Native Americans?
*What stereotypes does that show?
*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?
Innocent small business owners – who have nothing to do with the police nor the incident – themselves were victimized by criminals who saw the teen’s death as an excuse to steal and destroy.
“John Zisser of Zisser Tire and Auto Services told the Business Journal that damage and inventory loss could top $100,000. He was able to open his doors after replacing broken windows with plywood board and hanging up a ‘Now Open’ banner,” the Washington Times reports.
It’s unclear whether Kaechele’s desired conclusion by students is that the events are, indeed, nothing like each other. But given his rhetoric about “white privilege” and “institutional racism,” he probably sees some moral equivalence.
To see more lessons by activist teachers, search #FergusonSyllabus on Twitter.