Michigan Teacher Compares Ferguson Riots To Boston Tea Party

Michigan teacher Mike Kaechele compared the Ferguson riots and looting to the Boston Tea Party,which spurred American colonists forward, determined to declare independence from England. The Grand Rapids, Michigan teacher is not the first to make national headlines due to classroom activities based upon the Michael Brown shooting. An unidentified Alabama teacher instructed middle school student to reenact the shooting of Mike Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Teacher Mike Kaechele wrote 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.”

The Michigan teacher posted the split screen photo of the Ferguson riots and looting alongside a historic Boston Tea Party photo on his website.

Kaechele penned these sample questions to be asked of students when addressing the Michael Brown shooting in the classroom:

*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?

Many Ferguson businesses and restaurants were virtually destroyed by the riots and looting which followed the Darren Wilson and Mike Brown shooting protests. Some business owners have said they may not be able to afford to reopen – taking their tax dollars and jobs with them. Insurance rates could rise if adjusters determine the neighborhood to be a high-risk crime area, forcing those who can afford to stay in business to relocate. Multiple store owners stood outside of their properties, armed, determined to defend their stores.

Exactly why the Ferguson rioters directed their angst and destructive wrath on businesses that had no connection to the Mike Brown shooting remains unclear. During an interview with the Business Journal, Ferguson Zisser Tire and Auto Services owner John Zisser said that the property damage and inventory loss could be in excess of $100,000.


The Twitter hashtag – #FergusonSyllabus is being used by teachers from across the country to share ideas on how to approach the topic, if at all, with their students.

What do you think about the Michigan teacher comparing the Ferguson riots with the Boston Tea Party and maintaining the “institutionalized racism” and “white privilege” played a role in the Michael Brown shooting?

[Image Via: Education Action Group Foundation]