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Thugs, the N-word, and the New “Racist” Lexicon (Thanks, #SJW)

Thugs, the N-word, and the New “Racist” Lexicon (Thanks, #SJW)

“Anyone can be a thug.”

I hate the N-word.

Everyone should hate the N-word. (We can have the “hip-hop” culture debate some other time.) It represents an ugly underbelly of a culture that should be ready to give up on words like the N-word; yet somehow, it keeps popping up in the lexicon—and the “social justice warriors” (#SJW on Twitter, for those of you playing at home) aren’t making it any better.

Late last month the internet went into full meltdown mode after the Rev. Jamal Bryant addressed the riots in Baltimore by claiming that “thug” is the 21st Century’s N-word. Some pundits and activists (including CNN’s Don Lemon) cried foul—and renewed their objections in the wake of the biker gang shootout in Waco, TX—but it takes more than a few pundits to make a dent once the SJW set has had their way with an issue.

Conservtive pundit Steven Crowder took to the streets recently to figure out just how far Team SJW had gotten with regards to convincing the general public that the T-word is the new N-word. Watch:

Crowder poses the question: “Some people in the media have said that “thug” is the new N-word. Agree or disagree?”

The participants responded, and didn’t attribute the T-word to anything having to do with race:

“Oh, disagree. Absolutely disagree.”

“Anyone can be a thug.”

“A thug can be anybody. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a black person.”

A resounding no.

(One participant tried to chalk use of the word “thug” up to sexism, but that’s alright, mostly because what she said makes absolutely no sense and will probably be ignored by everyone for all eternity.)

This brings up two important points for those of us who live inside the bubble that is the 24 hour news cycle. The first is that the SJW mentality may not be nearly as pervasive as it seems. Even if Crowder’s crowd sample is too small to be scientific, he still managed to find a handful of people who think that equating “thug” with the N-word is beyond ridiculous.

That means there’s hope—which brings me to my second point.

Just because there’s hope doesn’t mean that we can afford to slack off when it comes to calling this garbage out. The left feeds off its ability to appropriate words and phrases, then change their meaning until the original intent is left in a smoking heap on the side of the road.

We can’t stop the left from trying to twist our words into something racist, but we can call them out on it by showing the world examples of real people who reject the idea that a small minority of activists should be allowed to project their warped world views onto innocent bystanders.


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For once, I see an actual racial divide on the use of the word “thug.” To white Americans, the term means, as you’ve noted, any common criminal with potentially violent tendencies. To black Americans, it’s been, as you’ve also noted, revised to mean someone who is struggling (presumably because . . . white people). The urban dictionary, in other words, has a very different definition than one I recognize.

In some ways, this whole “controversy” is similar to the use of “cracker” by the Black Panthers and other black supremacists. They apparently think it’s some kind of horrific insult that leaves us trembling. We tend to be trembling alright . . . with laughter. “Cracker,” really? Hee.

It’s a mistake to surrender meaning to progressives, so keeping “thug” non-race specific is an excellent, but probably unachievable, goal. The “thug life” is ingrained in at least one generation of our nation’s youth. Maybe two.

    I’m amazed at how many white people don’t know what “cracker” means.

    It’s short for “whip cracker”; a slave owner.

    Even so, it doesn’t leave me trembling.

      gasper in reply to RKae. | May 24, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      The word “cracker” has its origin in Florida and has been used for generations to describe cowboys from that region. Not sure how it got attached to white people as a slur.

      I didn’t know that, thanks! Even so, that really doesn’t make “cracker” an insult to me; not only have I never owned slaves, but no one in my family has. There is some question about whether or not some of my distant relatives were themselves enslaved (many Irish were during that time frame).

      Either way, though, and even if my ancestors had been well-off (they weren’t), I’m living in the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth (or seventeenth).

      “Cracker” is just not a word that bothers me in the least, and it never will. The power of an insult is vested in those it names, after all. 😉

      Skookum in reply to RKae. | May 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      I always assumed southern white folks were very fond of thin crisp biscuits.

    DINORightMarie in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 26, 2015 at 11:46 am

    It’s a mistake to surrender meaning to progressives, so keeping “thug” non-race specific is an excellent, but probably unachievable, goal.

    Right. Accept defeat, cede the fight. Fail to educate and push back. Because it’s “probably” just too hard……

    Thus, the left wins the war on controlling the language.

    Your logic is why we are where we are……it’s been that thinking (since at least the 1980’s) that has gotten us to the point where our language has been completely taken over, terms redefined and co-opted. (See this on the term racism for a primer on how this works.)

    Read Rules for Radicals. Watch these Bill Whittle/PJ Media videos:

    The Narrative

    Walking into Mordor (Firewall)

    Eloi: Political Correctness Triggering….

    It’s INTENTIONAL. It’s a STRATEGY. It is all about control and destruction of the US – by design.

    I reject your premise. Allowing these leftists to co-opt and control the language is a huge piece of our nation’s cultural decline and overall collapse.

      I take your point, Marie, in fact, as you may remember, I’ve argued here at LI along similar lines. The difference here, for me anyway, is that “thug” just isn’t a battle worth fighting.

      The word “thug” doesn’t matter as much as other definition changes that we would be better served pushing back against (“man-made disaster,” “hate speech,” and “radical” come to mind). “Thugs,” by whatever definition, just don’t hold any socio-cultural or political sway beyond that I’ve noted above.

Juba Doobai! | May 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm

What is “the n-word”, Amy? What other words do you wish to eliminate from your vocabulary? How will we communicate when our lexicons have been reduced to n-word, t-word, s-word? H-word, f-word, dagnabbit!

JackRussellTerrierist | May 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

I don’t think enwords hate the enword. They use it liberally.

I didn’t watch the entire video, but what I saw didn’t look like people are buying what SJW is selling.

One of the hipster white girls thought “thug” was anti-male sexist. I guess she hasn’t watched very many videos of the fights at MacDonlad’s lately. They’re mostly black girls and clearly thugs.

Hypersensitivity over language is out of control, Amy. A man got fired from his job a few years ago for using the word “niggardly”.

More words, even offensive words, are better than speech control. The enword should not be erased from our language, no matter the context in which it’s used. It is what it is.

The equivalence movement has hit an obstacle. I wonder how much longer the pro-choice or unprincipled cult will be tolerated. Their Church (i.e. organized moral consensus) is losing members, and the secular opiates they have redistributed seem progressively insufficient to suppress individual integrity and conscience.

Henry Hawkins | May 23, 2015 at 6:43 pm

What happens if someday there are two n-words? How will we know which one we’re not talking about?

BWACK Wives Mattah,’yo!!

MouseTheLuckyDog | May 23, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Ok. mandatory CVhris rock video:

The notion that “thug” is the “n-word” is a crock, and the lefties should be called not only on that word, but every other word they try to re-define in order to shut others up.

The object is NOT genuinely to change the language to something more suitable: it is to avoid letting a person make a legitimate point.

If you are on TV, and you are diverted into a 5-minute discussion about why you are using a perfectly legitimate word, you have lost 5 minutes of air time. And after that, the talking heads will have a day or two to talk about your vocabulary, INSTEAD of a legitimate policy issue.

And if you do not get to make your legitimate point, we all lose. Call them on it, and then roll right past them.

The Left descends into Nazism. What’s next, a night of broken glass?

By trying to obliterate a word by pressure or fiat, it’s only been made stronger.

Words can only hurt if you let them.

By falling into the trap of acting as if words can hurt you just by being spoken or written, you allow yourself to allow other words to hurt you also.

Any words that you disagree with or are disagreeable become something to fear, fear begets hate, hate leads to anger and soon we have thousands of laws against speech and actions and we’ve lost our freedoms.

Which is exactly what has happened since the “success” of the Civil Rights movement. No not the voter drives and the equal access to education. Those were quite reasonable and long overdue.

But in their zeal and their victory they went too far and have gone so far that now we and they are less free, we have fewer civil rights and it is only going to get worse because it’s so bad now you can’t even speak the truth about what is going on without being shouted down, shunned and in some supposed enlightened countries fined and imprisoned.

The idea that it’s okay to stop someone from speaking something you don’t want to hear rather than walk away or refute what they say is now embedded in our colleges, high schools and elementary schools and common discourse in public and encroaching on the private.

We’ve raised a bunch of people who don’t understand freedom of speech and will actively work against it. No one understands anymore that freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society.

I’m so disgusted watching this over the last 50 years. That this great nation would be laid low by ignorance and pettiness by those it has sheltered and helped to prosper.

Juba Doobai! | May 23, 2015 at 11:17 pm


PoliticiansRscum | May 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

Thugs were Indian!!! Were does the black factor in to it? That’s right. In their pissy brains.

    Skookum in reply to PoliticiansRscum. | May 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Trace your family tree back far enough and we’re all sub-Saharan Africans. Thus, I reserve the right to be offended at anything anyone might say at anytime.

I like the word thug because the letters are so close to one another on a qwerty keyboard. I’d hate to lose it.

Most black people always have some new excuse why they can’t get their sh!t together and get on with having a life.

If they can’t think of a new excuse, they just think of a new word to add to their ever-expanding list of things that “outrage” them.

Anything – ANYTHING! – but set the alarm clock, go to work, pay taxes.

DINORightMarie | May 26, 2015 at 11:51 am

I find it amusing that all over malls and trendy stores are t-shirts, wall art, etc. that proclaim “thug life” while these MSM propaganda clowns try to redefine the word.

Once again, it’s only a strategic tactic to control the language, to stifle speech, and to shut down any resistance or dissent to opposing opinions or viewpoints.

Alinsky 101.

There is a difference in degree, but not a difference in kind, between speaking the n-word and drawing Mohammed.