America was built on looting and riots

Abigail Duchow, Columnist

Recently protests have sparked from the death of an unarmed black man named George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota. Stemming from these protests, there have been instances of rioting and looting. 

I’ve observed negative reactions to the recent rioting, looting and protests, even the peaceful ones. People are especially reacting negatively to the rioting and looting. It seems to me that more people are mad about the riots that have taken place than the fact that human lives are taken near daily by law enforcement. According to the website Mapping Police Violence, there were only 27 days in 2019 where police didn’t kill someone.

“Rioting and looting is not American,” I see people say.

I disagree. America is a country that was built on looting. When Europeans came to North America, they looted Native Americans of their lands, goods and lives. This happened while diseases that Europeans brought to America killed roughly 90% of Native Americans. 

According to, in 1838 President Martin Van Buren sent 7,000 soldiers to remove Cherokee Natives from their homes. The troops forced the Cherokee into stockades while whites looted their homes. Then, they marched the Natives more than 1,200 miles to Native Territory. It’s estimated that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the journey. By 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been driven off, and looted of, their land.

Americans looted African people out of Africa. Sure, in some instances they traded for them, but just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean that there can be a price put on human life. Africans were taken unwillingly from their country to America to be slaves. They were looted from their homes and forced to do labor for free for Americans.

There are several times throughout history that riots have worked. The Stamp Act Riots included looting and set the stage for a larger rebellion that led to revolution. The Stonewall Riots were a catalyst for demanding LGBTQ rights. The Kent State riots against the Vietnam War led to President Richard Nixon withdrawing troops from Cambodia.

So, next time you start to write “this isn’t American” about a protest, riot, or looting, sit back and think.

This is the foundation of the United States of America.