Let’s get one thing straight: While racists may use the word thug, not everyone who uses the word thug is a racist. Black, white, or purple, a thug is a thug, and I don’t plan to stop using the word because somebody, somewhere decided it’s now a racial slur.
I read a piece on Over the Line, where the writer claims ‛“thug” has always existed as a racialized term in Western thought.’ Here’s an excerpt:
Like the n-word, “thug” is an umbrella term that racist whites (and Black race traitors…) use to describe undesirable Black people.
Today, “thug” is similarly racialized in the American context, as it refers to stereotypes of Black criminality.
… America’s war on “thugs” is more precisely a war on unpalatable Black people, or a race war.
Bullshit. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of thug reads:
: a brutal ruffian or assassin : gangster, tough— thug·gery\ˈthə-g(ə-)rē\noun— thug·gish
The word thug was being used in this country long before the tragedies in Ferguson, or Baltimore:
Queens Tenants at Condo Had to Pay Fees and Fines to Mafia Thugs, Feds Say (New York Daily News, 2009)
Several Mexican Mafia Thugs going Away for a Long Time (WAOI, San Antonio, 2013)
Rabbis’ Thugs Used Cattle Prods to Win Divorces, Feds Charge (ABC News, 2013)
Thug means violence, intimidation, and menacing. If you’re using the injustice of a young man’s death as an excuse for looting and burning, you’re a thug; I don’t give a damn what color you are.
This is a protest:
This is a riot:
These are protestors:
These are thugs:
When you do this to a small business owner in your own community:
you can no longer claim you are protesting for Freddie Gray; you are using his death as an excuse for violence against the innocent. You are not supporting your community, you are destroying it. And when you show up at what began as an organized protest with a gas mask
or a knife
or a baseball bat
you are looking for more to happen. If you don’t even give a damn about the people of your own race, the very group you’re “protesting” for, when you destroy their livelihoods in the process, I’m sorry:
then you are a thug, plain and simple.