California Officials Deem ‘Looting’ a Racist Term
As California is experiencing a wave of organized robberies, state officials say not to refer to it as looting, which could be considered a racist term.
“As the Bay Area grapples with a wave of seemingly organized smash and grab robberies this weekend, policing and journalism analysts are cautioning against the use of the term looting,” reporter Julian Glover told a local media outlet.
While luxury stores across the state experienced thefts exceeding $1 million, the crimes aren’t considered looting under California Penal Code. State law defines looting as “theft or burglary … during a ‘state of emergency,’ ‘local emergency,’ or ‘evacuation order’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot or other natural or manmade disaster.”
Using the term looting to describe the crimes in California carries a racist sentiment, said Lorenzo Boyd, a former police officer and a professor of criminal justice and community policing at the University of New Haven.
“Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something,” Boyd said. “We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing.”