Critics reacted strongly to claims by "experts" Monday that use of the term "looting" to describe recent large-scale thefts from retail stores in California could be associated with people of color and therefore shouldn't be used.
According to the local ABC affiliate for the Bay Area, the California Penal Code didn't allow for the use of the term "looting" to describe the thefts involving large groups of people because, it claimed, the definition didn't match the act as defined by law. It also cited two individuals it referred to as "experts," who described the term as being reminiscent of Black people and people of color being associated with the act of looting.
"According to the California Penal Code, what we saw was not looting," it wrote. "The penal code 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.'"
The affiliate cited Lorenzo Boyd, a professor of criminal justice and community policing at the University of New Haven, and a retired veteran police officer, who described the term through a racial lens.