Sticks & Stones Hurt. Now, Words Do Too


This week, in Baltimore, we witnessed lawlessness and violence at levels not seen since the late ’60s. Freddie Gray protesters looted and burned down homes, businesses, and even a church’s 60-unit senior home and community center. Police were hurt by thrown rocks, bottles, and other projectiles. Shop owners were savagely beaten by mobs of rioters. Cars were burned en masse.

Out of this, as in the aftermath of other recent protests nationwide, have come calls for dialogues on policing, race relations, and problems faced by minority communities. All worthy discussions, to be sure. However, a controversy has also developed over the use of a word.

From The Hill:

Baltimore’s mayor is taking back her comments calling protestors in her city’s streets “thugs.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) tweeted on Wednesday that she wanted to clarify her comments, which were made after mass protests turned violent on Monday and resulted in the burning of buildings and cars.

“When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don’t mean,” she wrote in a new message on Twitter.

President Obama also stepped into the “thug” controversy, but to his credit (man, that is hard to type), he didn’t back down:

President Obama doesn’t regret using the term “thug” in describing the violent rioters in Baltimore this week, spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

“Whether it’s arson or, you know, the looting of a liquor store … those were thuggish acts,” Earnest said.

In discussing the riots Tuesday, Obama assailed the “criminals and thugs who tore up the place,” and described them as a distraction from the real issues of police brutality.

Instead of just discussing and dissecting the real issues behind what caused the Baltimore protests to get so wildly out of control, the press is wasting a lot of time and column inches on the use of the word “thug”

Just some of the many articles discussing “thug”:

Cable news channels have done segments on it:



And of course, many tweets, like this one, have been devoted to the subject:

No, FOX 5 DC, the term “thug” is not inappropriate. It’s also not racist, nor offensive. Thugs destroyed large sections of Baltimore. Thugs hurt many people. Thugs caused untold financial harm. Thugs should not be protected from being offended, and they should be treated harshly by the justice system, like the criminals that they are.

Again, from Baltimore’s Mayor, in The Hill:

“That night we saw misguided young people who need to be held accountable, but who also need support,” Rawlings-Blake concluded. “And my comments then didn’t convey that.”

I have a humble suggestion: Worry less about the word “thugs” hurting peoples’ feelings, worry more about thugs actually hurting people.

There are 9 comments.

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  1. Misthiocracy Member

    Speech the Left doesn’t like is violence.

    Violence the Left does like is speech.

    • #1
  2. neutral observer Thatcher
    neutral observer

    The only people who could be even tangentially offended would be people of Indian extraction, since the source of the word is “Thugee” — a particularly fearsome group of robbers / assassins in India centuries ago.

    • #2
  3. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei

    The funny thing is that rap music uses the word thug all the time, as well as the n- word and slew of other awful words.  Somehow they get off the hook.

    • #3
  4. Songwriter Inactive

    Apparently at some point previously (not sure when) the Liberal left was appointed Master & Commander of the Meaning of All Words.  So – words mean what the Liberal Left say they mean – regardless what those words actually do mean.

    • #4
  5. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn

    The left has seen into the hearts of everyone who disagrees with the looting and destruction and they know that the N word was what people wanted to say but couldn’t, so everyone from the president on down substituted the word thug. It doesn’t matter if none of us have ever thought or felt such things, the left knows us better than we know our own hearts and minds.


    • #5
  6. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo

    Helpful hint: If you don’t want to be called a “thug”, don’t loot.  If it hurts your feelings, think of the people you are looting from.  It hurts their feelings too.  And it hurts the feelings of their employees, who are now out of work.

    • #6
  7. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen

    Oh, there are plenty of white thugs, too.  It’s just that they prefer to keep a lower profile in the bookie and loan shark bidness instead of looting.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Inactive

    I think I’ll start trying to work “thug” into more of my speaking and tweeting. Of course, if I encounter a thug in meatspace I won’t call him a thug. I’ll call him ‘ventilated’ and then I’ll call 911 for him (even though they almost surely won’t be able to help him). I’m nice like that.

    • #8
  9. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus

    Eminem is a thug.

    Clarence Thomas is not.

    Any questions?

    • #9

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