Huffington Post- In an interview with Baltimore city councilman Carl Stokes on Tuesday night's episode of "OutFront," Burnett noted that both the mayor of Baltimore and President Barack Obama had used the term "thugs" when talking about riots in the city.
"Isn't that the right word?" she asked Stokes.
The councilman said it wasn't. "These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us," he said.
Burnett pushed back: "How does that justify what they did?"
Finally, Stokes had seemingly had enough.
"Just call them n*****s," Stokes said. "No. We don't have to call them by names such as that."
CNN declined to comment on the segment.
To understand why so many people often find "thug" to be offensive and dismissive, consult Richard Sherman. In January 2014, the Seattle Seahawks player made an argument similar to the one Stokes made this week on CNN.
“The only reason [the word 'thug'] bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays,” Sherman said at the time.
Sometimes during periods of racial unrest it is imperative that we stop to talk about the important things. You know, like the semantics of the word 'thug'. Fuck it. Let's not talk about an entire city being burned to the ground over race relations in the all too 'progressive' 21st century. Let's not talk about why these continue to happen, or the best way we can stop them from happening in the future. How can I possibly be expected to formulate an opinion on the ongoing destruction of a region by it's own people if I don't know what to properly call them without being offensive?!?
I totally understand that the word 'thug' can be used to imply African American descent. It can be used improperly and unjustly. For instance, when Richard Sherman, a man with a degree from Stanford, indulged in some shit talking on a football field, it was downright retarded to refer to him as a 'thug'. In that circumstance, thug was basically the socially acceptable way of calling him the 'N word'. However, not all situations are created the same. 'Thug' is offensive when it is used to describe a loud, brash African American. It is not offensive when it is used to describe people that are flipping over cars and turning a neighborhood into a war zone. Are we clear yet? Sometimes thug, by definition, just means thug. A thug is "a cruel or vicious ruffian or robber". I see no mention of white, black, magenta, purple, women or man. How else should we describe the people rioting in the streets, burning businesses and cutting firehoses? 'Protestors' seems like a dramatic undersell. The 'N word' while also not being entirely true, seems a little excessive. Jesus Stokes, talk about 0 to n*gga real quick. I think as a society we can settle for thug. If Obama says they are thugs, they are thugs. After all, he's got at least 50% authority on the matter.
Is it really that offensive anyway? I thought the rap game had done a formidable job of making that lifestyle look pretty glamorous. According to Fat Joe anyway...