‘1619 Project’ Author Defends Looting As A ‘Symbolic Taking’

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New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones described ongoing looting in the wake of the death of George Floyd as a “symbolic taking.”

Hannah-Jones, the lead writer on the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” appeared Monday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to discuss the protests, rioting and looting that started when Floyd died in Minneapolis Police Department custody. The project seeks to “reframe the country’s history” by claiming that America’s “true founding” occurred when the first African slaves were brought over in 1619.


“‘Often the negro does not even want what he takes,'” Hannah-Jones said, quoting a Martin Luther King Jr. letter from September 1967. “‘He wants the experience of taking. Negroes have committed crimes, but they are the derivative crimes and they are borne of the greater crimes of the white society, so when we ask negroes to abide by the law let us also demand that the white man abide by the law and the ghettos as well.’ So I think we have to have some perspective on what exactly we are seeing when we call that violence and looting.”

The New York Times writer contended that black communities “have been looted for decades” and lack basic “amenities.”

“And so when we think about someone taking an act to take something from some big box name store, it is symbolic,” she said. “That one pair of shoes that you’ve stolen from Foot Locker is not going to change your life. But it is a symbolic taking.” (RELATED: Tucker Laments Double Standard: ‘Normal’ People Must Follow ‘Countless New Rules,’ Rioters ‘Get To Ignore’ Them)

Hannah-Jones claimed that, since black Americans are not included “in the social contract,” there isn’t any reason “to expect that people who have been regularly left out will comply with this right now.”

The Times’ 1619 Project, which consists of multiple stories and poems about racism and slavery, has been implemented public schools in Chicago and other cities across the U.S.

Peaceful demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody have turned into riots and looting in several major U.S. cities.