'Thug' Really Is the New N-Word
Richard Sherman interview stirs racial debate
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 27, 2014 1:21 PM CST
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman speaks during a news conference, Jan. 26, 2014, in Jersey City, NJ.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Newser) – At this point, most people agree that Richard Sherman is not, in fact, a thug. Greta Van Susteren at Fox News even apologized on-air for bashing him, saying a viral Internet graphic comparing Sherman to the actually thuggish Justin Bieber had shown her the light. But Sherman's contention that thug has become "the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word," has proven a bit more controversial. Here's what people are saying:

  • Sherman is absolutely right, writes Jamelle Bouie at the Daily Beast, pointing out that Trayvon Martin was dubbed a "thug" for "ordinary teenage behavior, like cursing or smoking marijuana," and that in the "right-wing fever swamps … 'thug' is the favored insult for Barack Obama." It's a dog-whistle, marking someone as "a dangerous 'other' without resorting to the kind of language that earns public condemnation."
  • But Clarence Page at the Chicago Tribune admits that when he saw Sherman's outburst, the T-word flashed through his mind. "I don't use the word 'thug' loosely. Too many African-American males, as Sherman suggests, have been unfairly stereotyped with it. But I also believe we should avoid feeding the stereotype," he writes. Like it or not, athletes are role models for African-American kids.
  • It's a mistake to call Sherman a thug, agrees Daniel Foster at the National Review, but it's also a mistake to "infer some ready-made lesson about race in America" from the incident. Indeed he was shocked that in his world, among "the conservative commentariat"—where "greater concentrations of racial angst are purported to exist"—reaction was "thoroughly mixed."

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Showing 3 of 249 comments
KDickley
Jan 30, 2014 7:49 PM CST
Why are the bleeding heart, biased liberal commies allowed to rewrite history? When I was a kid, "happy and gay" in books meant something else. Ok, we accepted the new change. And blacks wanted to be called "colored". OK., We respectfully agreed. Then they wanted to be called "negroes". to which we again respected their wishes. Then they wanted to be called "blacks", Ok. Then it was "african-American", even though almost all of them were never in Africa. Now, some ignorant bastards want to change "thug" to mean the N-word. Well, "thug" has no race. Chris Christy has been called a thug. Obama has been accused of thug policies. "Thug" equates with "bully". "Thug" and "bully" has no race, so get over it, racebaiters.
OrneryPup
Jan 30, 2014 12:36 AM CST
A thug is as a thug does. There's the whole ball of wax.
John3:16
Jan 29, 2014 4:27 PM CST
Even truth if not PC calls forth the R word. We have protected classes and protected races not subject to honest social discussion.