‘Riots,’ ‘violence,’ ‘looting’: Words matter when talking about race and unrest, experts say

Language choices matter: The term “riot” is loaded, and it’s why many use “rebellion,” instead, experts said. One suggests reckless violence. The other signifies political resistance to oppression.

“The term ‘riot’ tends to connote a senseless venting of frustration, of destroying your own community and all these other things that are counterproductive, as if there couldn’t be political value in urban unrest and forcing the system to examine itself,” said Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences and a professor of sociology and African American studies at UCLA.

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