Yes boys and girls, not only does Time Magazine still exist in some dusty archeological corner of the internet, but it’s got takes. Hot, woke takes. Like comparing looting to the Boston Tea Party. An absurd fiction that only racists would disagree with.
The Boston Tea Party, though not widely portrayed as looting, is an illustrative example of some of the ways in which the term is applied, says Matthew Clair, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Stanford University
Whenever I want to understand history, I turn to an assistant prof of sociology. Or the local meth addict. Either one.
Perhaps the most famous early American example took place in 1773 when, in opposition to the Tea Act, which was enacted by the British government without the input or approval of colonists and hurt certain colonial business interests, American protesters climbed aboard three British ships and dumped 45 tons of tea, worth an estimated $1 million, into Boston Harbor (enough for more than 18 million teabags). This seems to fall clearly under the umbrella of what would be recognized today as “looting,”
Note the key part of this, they dumped it in the harbor. They didn’t ‘loot’ it.
I understand that pointing out such mere factual technicalities today counts as a hate crime, but there we are. Loot refers to taking something for your own. Not destroying it.
“Looting is as American as apple pie,” says William F. Hall, a former field office director for the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service Division who now teaches political science at Webster University, Washington University in St. Louis and Maryville University.
“The founding fathers use looting as a supplement to protest. You can go back as far as the Boston Tea Party at the time the United States was a colony of England, and they saw fit to literally go and loot and destroy cargo on ships that were owned by England,” says Hall. “From the very, very beginning of our nation, looting has been a part of protests.”
The Community Relations Service Division was the creepy race riot division of the DOJ. And the CRS is as American as Karl Marx and Al Sharpton.
The goal of the Tea Party wasn’t to loot the tea, but to destroy it. More significantly, it was a radical act that helped set the stage for the American Revolution by challenging the question of who had the right to set taxes. Unless the goal of the looters here is to declare their own CHAZ like republic, in which case we have a civil war, they’re looters.
At the same time, however, many experts today agree that a small portion of non-peaceful actors at the demonstrations may have been protestors looting for political reasons. “[These instances] could be understood as one of many tactics protesters believe are necessary to get the attention of the media, political leaders, and ordinary citizens who have looked the other way at state-sanctioned violence for far too long,” says Stanford’s Clair.
But they sure are looking the other way at state-sanctioned looting.