— Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead (via prometheanreach)
…when you’re happy when your abuser really crosses the line, when they do something truly and obviously abusive, because the rest of the time they’re using subtle forms of a kind of abuse that so many people think isn’t even real, and you finally have some validation that they’re as terrible as you’ve always thought they are.
When you’re happy when your abuser spits vile hatred at you and storms off in a rage because you finally know you aren’t a liar.
Hi! I know I already sent an ask explaining this but I know there are people who are confused about the situation in Keene and its relation to Ferguson, so I just wanted to pop in here with a more thorough recounting of the events.
A little background info:
Pumpkin Festival is this huge event in Keene, New Hampshire. Every year, people come down to carve pumpkins, eat food, wear costumes, basically have a great time. A while ago Keene set the record for something like biggest stack of carved pumpkins, and since then it has been a really famous and well-attended event for New Hampshire (we’re such a tiny state and there’s nothing else for us to do).
Keene is basically in the middle of nowhere. A good portion of the population are students at Keene State College. Like the rest of New Hampshire, this area is majority white. Although the college is fairly liberal and strives for multiculturalism, that doesn’t change the fact that the bulk of the student population is white and from mostly white, middle class areas.
The events on Saturday:
My roommate and I worked 3-9:30 on Saturday, but even before we left for work, we could hear kids chanting and screaming down the street. After our shift, my roommate’s boyfriend came to walk us home, and he was late because police were throwing tear gas into the crowd. Walking back to our dorm, we passed through the area and some of the lingering gas got in my eyes- honestly, just the remaining fumes were so bad, I cannot possibly fathom how painful it would be to have a canister thrown right at you.
The majority of the rioting was happening on Winchester St. I only caught a brief sighting of the full crowd; I wanted to avoid that mess as much as I could. As I walked down Appian Way to get back to my dorm, I saw students gathered in clumps of five or six just talking and listening to music. Campus safety and Keene police were walking around, telling people “You need to disperse, you can’t congregate here.” The students flat out ignored them, and the officers just kept walking (I think they were more concerned with the students who were actually rioting). Not long after, a helicopter with a searchlight was flying around, and someone with a megaphone was calling down “Your presence is unlawful. Return to your residences immediately.”
Videos and photos were floating all over Snapchat and Twitter, and by midnight we were trending #1 on Facebook. I was hiding out in my friend’s room, waiting for things to calm down. Eventually most of the people returned to their res halls, and the campus was calm for about five minutes before students started blasting music and drinking as if it was just another Saturday night (Keene kids never miss an opportunity to party).
Truthfully, this isn’t a very unusual occurrence for our school (see: the infamous party of last year’s P-fest and the riot after the Red Sox win). We’re well known to be a major party school. But this was far beyond what any of us had ever experienced. Besides the tear gas and helicopter, they called in a SWAT team, police were in riot gear, and a Bearcat was roaming around for a while. It was an overall terrifying experience.
How this relates to Ferguson:
Here’s what people need to realize. While many of the same measurements taken in Ferguson were taken in Keene, the difference is this…
Ferguson protesters are standing up against the dehumanization of black citizens and the unlawful, racially driven murder of Mike Brown.
Keene students were wreaking havoc because they were bored.
I don’t care if you want to try and justify the situation by saying the students were drunk. ALCOHOL IS NEVER AN EXCUSE. The actions of the rioters were violent and DELIBERATE. There was no cause, no reason, they just wanted utter chaos. They were tearing down street signs, throwing glass bottles, flipping over cars, setting things on fire, chanting “USA” over and over, basically destroying everything they could get their hands on. Because they had nothing better to do.
Additionally, the police were extremely cordial. Yes, they were in riot gear and throwing tear gas, but with the intention of forcing the rioters to disperse and return to their dorms. Serious harm was not the goal here. Like I said above, they politely told students to leave the area and didn’t intimidate or attack them. They were truly working with the purpose of protecting the students and the community. That is the exact opposite of what the police in Ferguson have been doing.
Media has been, predictably, pretty biased. White rioters are portrayed as “rowdy college kids” while black protesters are painted as “insubordinate thugs”. And, naturally, this ordeal is receiving infinitely more coverage (media blackout, where are you?).
This whole situation is one of the most blatant examples of white privilege I have ever seen. Being on this campus, as a white person, I have never felt unsafe in the presence of police, nor have I ever feared for my safety because of my race. Even though the majority of the rioters were not Keene students, they were still white, and they did not realize the racial implications of their actions.
I have the utmost respect for our president Anne Huot, as she is encouraging students to consider their actions, and I sincerely hope that this event leads to a discussion of racial bias in American media and governing. Let the events of this past Pumpkin Fest serve as an example of the racial disparities in our country and a reminder that there is still so much in this system that we need to dismantle before we can be truly equal.
it makes me laugh when 9yr olds are like ‘i love haters’ or ‘haters are my motivation’ like???who are your haters?? your mom when she doesn’t let you eat a extra cookie??
..,this post is really fucking dismissive of the legitimate struggles lots of children face (such as bullying from peers and elders and parental or systemic abuse and neglect) and the coping skills they develop in response to them.
The ‘You can’t possibly have any real problems, you’re a kid’ narrative supports child abusers. Remember that.