This isn’t the first post we’ve done on NPR Saturday, as this one follows the interview with the author of “In Defense of Looting.” Along with learning that looting is good, we’re learning from public broadcasting that, as Portland grows close to 100 consecutive nights of protests, the city’s definition of a riot “could be rooted in racism.”

We’ll admit to reading Jonathan Levinson’s piece three times and we’re still not sure where that headline came from. At first, we looked for the city’s definition of a riot, and Portland’s police chief has explained that a riot “is when six or more persons engage in tumultuous and violent conduct.”

But we’ve scrubbed Levinson’s piece and can’t find the roots of racism; here’s all we’ve found regarding race:

… But the laws governing those declarations are vague and have roots in Oregon’s deeply racist past.

Oregon began as a white-only state. While it banned slavery at its founding, the state adopted strict Black exclusionary laws which had been in place in the territory for decades. The law banned Black people from living in the state or owning property.

“A lot of the riot and crowd control philosophy and statute was developed around the ’60s and ’70s when protests around some of the very same things … rights for Black people. … were taking place in the state and particularly in Portland,” [State Rep. Janelle] Bynum said.

Either NPR was trying to fill its quota of “_____ is racist” headlines for the week or they’re just upset that riots are being declared when Black Lives Matter protests turn into riots, as they do just about every night. And when police declare a riot, that gives them the OK to deploy tear gas, which we’re sure is also upsetting to NPR.


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