Is “thug” really the new, socially acceptable, form of the “n-word”?


You want a real thug? Meet Al Capone.


I was, frankly, surprised at this claim when I first heard it from Richard Sherman.


It didn’t strike me as true at all.  When I think of “thugs,” I believe I seldom if ever think of blacks.  If anything, frankly, I’m probably usually picturing Mafia “muscle” — presumably of Italian or Italian-American origin.  Guido.  Giovanni “Johnny the Fist” Falcone.  Union enforcers.  Stereotypical.


Is it generational?  Am I simply out of touch?  A few others have, I understand, come forward to support Mr. Sherman’s claim.


Is it generational for him?  Is it unique to his particular vantage point, based on his individual biography?  He grew up black in Compton, California, apparently an exceptionally intelligent young man (who prospered, academically, at Stanford).


Feedback would be welcome.  (The virtually inevitable insults and name-calling rather less so.)  When you think of the word “thug,” what kind of image, if any, comes to mind?  And, if one does, can you figure out why?


In the meantime, read this short little piece by a British-born author who shares my skepticism.


Posted from Orlando, Florida



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