Monday, October 20, 2014

If America Reacted to Keene Pumpkin Fest Rioters Like They Were Ferguson Protesters

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Keene State students start to get rowdy before violence and rioting breaks out at the Keene Pumpkin Festival. - YOUTUBE
  • YouTube
  • Keene State students start to get rowdy before violence and rioting breaks out at the Keene Pumpkin Festival.

Clouds of tear gas. Cars overturned. Street signs torn down. Fires in the streets. Helicopters circling. Scores of arrests and injuries -- It all sounds a little like a Ferguson protest.

But it's not. While Ferguson and Shaw demonstrators made it through the weekend without any massive disruptions, the mostly white (and clearly drunk) students at Keene State College in New Hampshire lost their shit Saturday night at violent parties near an annual pumpkin festival where families try to set a world record for the largest number of lighted jack-o-lanterns in one place.

The Keene Pumpkin Fest riot and the weekslong demonstrations in Ferguson and St. Louis don't have much in common: Ferguson protesters say they're organizing against institutionalized racism and police brutality and won't stop until demands -- like the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson -- are met, while Keene students seemed to just jump on a wave of destruction that probably smelled like a popular spiced latte.

But that didn't halt comparisons between how the media and conservatives responded to the pumpkin-festival riots after months of analyzing every detail of protests in Ferguson. And the comparisons aren't pretty.

So Daily RFT had to wonder: What would it look like if Keene State rioters were judged by the same racially charged, dismissive stereotypes we've seen applied to Ferguson and Shaw protesters? Luckily, Twitter was on the case.

Here are racially based stereotypes typically aimed at protesters in Ferguson and Shaw demonstrations applied to all those rioters in the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival craziness:

"Blame it on the fathers." "I don't understand what he's doing with his hands. OMG IS THAT A GANG SIGN?" "What kind of monsters would destroy their own neighborhoods?" "They can't even be trusted to stand still peacefully." "They're not exactly boy scouts." "Maybe some of them will calm down long enough to listen to what I think."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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