Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Origin and meaning of the word Thug

  1. (Thug) historical A member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.
  2. A violent person, especially a criminal.

            [ mid 19th century: extension of sense 2]



Why has the word Thug become associated with men of color? May I remind you that the majority of men of color in the United States (yes majority) are hard working men, often just trying to make it in life, and the word Thug is not an appropriate description. It seems like every time a man color does something the media outlets deem ‘inappropriate”, the word Thug is sure to follow.


It almost seems like the word Thug is being used to replace another former popular word…

I actually have more respect for those whose racist views are over than those who use “coded” language and who dissemble when questioned.


What is also sad is that many people do not realize they are doing it because media outlets perpetuate the image of “the Thug”.


I will use a situation in American football as an example:


As Richard Sherman puts it “he was not committing any crime, he was showing passion on the football field”.  Evidently, he went on rant after the super bowl, and last I checked, all football players tend to be boastful.


“"The reason it bothers me is because it seems like it's an accepted way of calling somebody the N-word now," he said. "It's like everybody else said the N-word and then they say 'thug' and that's fine. It kind of takes me aback and it's kind of disappointing because they know.”

“"What's the definition of a thug? Really? Can a guy on a football field just talking to people [be a thug?] ... There was a hockey game where they didn't even play hockey! (Laughter from the media) They just threw the puck aside and started fighting. I saw that and said, 'Ah, man, I'm the thug? What's going on here?'" (More laughter from the media). So I'm really disappointed in being called a thug," he said.”


“Deadspin notes that the word "thug" was uttered 625 times on American television the day following the Seahawks' win. That's more than any other single day in the last three years.”


FYI, I do not know much about football, and I did not know who Richard Sherman was until this story came out. What I do know is that he graduated from Stanford with a high GPA and is evidently good at what he does.


There really are Thugs out there, there really are people who commit some violent crimes out there, there really are some people out there who are deserving of our ire. However, we need to skip the racial bull$#@! and be aware of what we are saying, doing, and perpetuating.


Being a person of color does not equal being a Thug; by the true definition, Thugs can be found across all color lines.


Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam


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