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Where Black Lives Matter Rioters Learned To Call Looting ‘Reparations’


In Chicago this summer, Black Lives Matter protesters have repeatedly called for committing crimes as vengeance for claimed racial injustice. A few days ago, marchers in Millennium Park unfurled huge banners, one of which proclaimed “loot it all back.”

March organizers called for the banner to lead the march, according to Grace Del Vecchio, a local writer onsite who also provided video.

After widespread looting in the city as part of ongoing civil unrest accompanied by a crime wave, on Aug. 11 local Black Lives Matter leader Ariel Atkins openly defended looting as “reparations,” according to local outlets.

After 100 looters were arrested and 13 police officers injured by mobs on a protest-enabled crime spree, she said this: “I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes. That’s a reparation,” Atkins said. “Anything they want to take, take it, because these businesses have insurance.”

In a TV interview after Atkins’s comments, while not openly endorsing property crime, Black Lives Matter Chicago cofounder Aislinn Pulley failed to flatly condemn looting as a part of her group’s tactics. Instead she called discussions about looting a “preoccupation” that “works to distract away from the actual cause of the outrage.”

Pulley also implied that rampant property crimes decimating Democrat-run cities like Chicago during ongoing summer protests are not the fault of those committing them, but the fault of voters and elected officials who don’t do what she wants: “The refusal to enact any meaningful change will mean that we will have continued instances like this…We will continue to have unrest, intercommunal violence and these things until the root causes are resolved.”

In other words, don’t blame the criminals, blame the laws they’re breaking and the people enforcing those laws. Just like this admitted ATM robber and his friends say, we need to focus on “what can be done for this man to feel like he don’t need to loot again.” It’s our fault he tried to loot an ATM, you see. We’re responsible for his feelings and actions, not him.

These ideas are not simply isolated, fringe, and from random rabble-rousers. They were also proclaimed to the world on CNN by New York Times lead 1619 Project writer Nikole Hannah-Jones. An interview with Christine Amanpour included this exchange:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You’ve said, among other things, ‘people who have been left out of the social contract find no need to adhere it.’ Somebody, sort of, checked you on that and said, ‘not left out, but excluded from the social contract.’ And you agreed with being term-checked.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: Absolutely. You are asking whose communities have been looted for decades, don’t have proper schools, don’t have proper amenities. When we see someone killed by the police, that is the worse manifestation of police violence, but it doesn’t get to the daily violence that doesn’t end in death, or the daily degradation that black Americans face. The fact that these communities have been prayed upon by predatory lenders, it goes on and on. When we think about someone taking something from some big-box name store, it is symbolic. That one pair of shoes that you stole from Footlocker is not going to change your life, but it is a symbolic taking.

Retired prison psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple points out that a refusal to take responsibiliy for one’s own actions and life is a hallmark of criminals and the underclass, aided and abetted by elites who exploit the poor for lucrative careers managing the downtrodden.

The idea that the existence of evil in the world justifies adding more is enabled by a slew of publicly funded white-collar professionals who make bank stoking racial tensions. What rioters on the street hear as “it’s okay to steal from people who have more stuff than I do” in The New York Times, NPR, and The Atlantic’s offices sound like “The Case for Reparations.”

“The case I make for reparations is, virtually every institution with some degree of history in America, be it public, be it private, has a history of extracting wealth and resources out of the African-American community,” reprised Ta-Nehisi Coates to The New Yorker in 2019 of his 2014 Atlantic essay that brought the idea mainstream among elites. “I think what has often been missing—this is what I was trying to make the point of in 2014—that behind all of that oppression was actually theft. In other words, this is not just mean. This is not just maltreatment. This is the theft of resources out of that community.”

In other words, we can steal from you, because you stole from us first. This spirit of revenge is the sentiment behind much of the recent resurgence in identity politics grievances and anti-American hatred. The United States stole land from Native Americans. Therefore we owe them welfare outlays and so-called sovereignty over reservations in perpetuity, as well as copious white tears.

The United States stole blood, sweat, and tears from enslaved Africans. Therefore, the country owes people it has not enslaved white guilt all the way to the point of undoing all the good things about America. As well as power and money — lots and lots of money, in the form of university and Smithsonian Institution sinecures for the white-collar aggrieved, and a bit of looting for the blue-collar aggrieved to supplement their subsidized housing and groceries.

Reparations are simply legalized looting, dressed up in fancy justifications for TV. The reasons are myriad, starting with the fact that no living American today owned slaves. The vast majority of Americans never owned slaves.

In addition, since the days of slavery, immigrants joined the United States by the tens of millions. Thus the vast majority of Americans living today do not even have ancestors who enslaved anyone. Even that presumes that it is right to punish children for the sins of their fathers, which is an injustice if I ever heard of one.

It also presumes that the death, dismemberment, and economic hardships the Civil War caused are not a sufficient punishment upon the nation for its sin of slavery. These are big presumptions, and they deserve open debate in which they could be fairly proven wrong or at least doubted, not pressuring people to leave them uncontested under pain of being called a racist so we can move on to the looting — excuse me, reparations.

Excusing violence against other people’s person and property is even part of the so-called American justice system in some places using the same rationales, as recent reporting by Empower Wisconsin illustrates. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell “made headlines as the University of Wisconsin’s director of community relations when he said prosecutors should go easy on shoplifters at ‘big box’ stores.”

“I just don’t think that they should be prosecuting cases … for people who steal from Wal-Mart,” Everett said. “I don’t think Target or all them [sic] other places, the big boxes that have insurance, that they should be using … the fact that people steal from there, justification to start engaging in aggressive police practices.”

Notice that this man, formerly employed in a public institution of supposed higher education and now charged with executing the laws as a judge, voiced the exact same conclusion a Black Lives Matter leader did: It’s okay to steal from people who have more than you do. I’ll give you one guess at which side of the political spectrum both of these individuals would place themselves on.

“As a judge, Mitchell has been a ‘social justice’ activist on the bench, handing out light sentences — or no sentences — to repeat offenders,” Empower Wisconsin reporter Matt Kittle writes.

There is also evidence from other parts of the “social justice” agenda that much of today’s far left, the source of the Democratic Party’s energy today, sees racial grievances as a justification for legalized plunder. Take, for example, the demand of Chicago’s protesters to steal a place to live — i.e., “cancel rents and mortgages.”

The implication is that people should just get things because they want them, and their desires alone justify taking it from other people. As with the looting, there’s no mention of work, reciprocity, or any other form of assuming responsibility for one’s own life.

Despite the obvious injustice of redistributing wealth and power according to ancestry that reparations entail, support for it is high among influential Americans and growing among the left’s ignorant ground troops. It is fomented by making Americans believe racism is rampant, even though research suggests the United States may be the least racist country in the world.

Against the reality, 56 percent of American voters currently agree “American society is racist,” found a July Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. “In other signs of substantial shifts in views on race, more voters see racial bias as a feature of American society and support protests aimed at addressing it,” the journal said.

The poll uncovered a jump from zero Americans thinking white people are discriminated against in all earlier polls to 15 percent in its latest rendition, in July 2020. While there were big jumps in perceptions of discrimination against all politically potent racial groups, the perception of anti-white racism was by far the largest percentage increase.

As numerous observers have pointed out, pushing Americans to think of themselves in terms of skin color and to allocate resources according to a politicized ethnicity scrum is a very, very dangerous game. Those playing it are currently winning big. But the nation stands to lose everything.