Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Thug" is the New "N-word"

There was a whole lot of hoopla surrounding the Seattle Seahawk's Richard Sherman and his excited outburst after his team's win over the 49ers. A friend texted me and asked me what I thought about the outburst that was followed by the media blitz, referring to him as a "thug." I texted back, "It's just a bunch of cracker ass bullshit. White people can't stand to see a successful minority athlete in the spotlight." My friend texted back: "Yeah: Thug is white people's new n-word." Truer words had never been texted. What I found just as humorous were the people who came to Sherman's defense, citing his Stanford education, his GPA, and how well-spoken he actually is. For me, Sherman's education and his proper speaking skills didn't have to be cited, because the way I saw it, the people making the shitty comments should have been attacked, because they committed a wrongful act. Sherman in my point of view didn't do anything wrong. For me defending Sherman based on his education was as if people were seeking to say that he proved himself to be above the stereotype of a thug, because he made it out of Compton. The way I see it the media was going to attack him because he was black, education be damned.

You don't have to look too far in sports & media related incidents to catch the media referring to some athletes as "thugs," based on something very unassuming the athlete did or said. It's as if they were nitpicking the athletes to have something bad to say about them. There as an incident involving AJ McCarron's mom, and something about Jameis Winston and his inability to speak correctly. I understand, she was upset and was being protective as a mother, because her son didn't win the Heisman, nor did his team make it to the College Football Championship game, but she didn't criticize his ability or skills as QB. If she would've said that he's overrated, yes there would have been controversy, but meh, at least it would stay on him as an athlete, instead she poked at him as a black man.

AJ McCarron's Mom Apologizes "We're far from racist" . . . Not far enough.

Similarly, a year ago Colin Kaepernick was attacked because of his tattoos. Because you know, he liked a tattooed thug n'stuff. Needless to say the controversy came and went. But it was one of those moments where I released a grandiose sigh, and shook my head incessantly for about an hour. Years ago, I recall a Saint Louis Rams QB doing a post game interview. As the reporter conducted the interview, a Rams linemen came over yelled something about the team sticking with this guy as their QB. The following day on Sportcenter, the media found the humor in it, and talked about it good heartedly. The white linemen was just excited because his team had won a game amidst a quarterback controversy. But the white lineman, was not labeled a thug. I repeat NOT a thug.

Colin Kaepernick Tattoos

I'm not sure what it is about white people that they have to go straight to an attack on a person's race than criticizing whatever it is about that person that offends them more directly. For example a friend of mine and I were walking through campus one day, we passed a group of white people, one of whom was trying to get people to sign a petition to prevent the city from allowing the local police department from stopping parties that got out of hand. Many students were upset the new ordinance gave the police the power to stop a party at 11pm if they found it "out of hand." Anyhow, as my friend and I walked by, deep in our conversation, the student with the clipboard, waved it at us and said, "Hey, wanna sign our petition for the anti-party ordinance?" Me and my friend kept walking and talking, not paying him much attention, not that we weren't interested in signing it, we were just caught up in our conversation. As the student went back to talking with this friends, he said, "They probably don't speak English." Me and my friend heard that, shook our heads, and basically called him a "pendejo."

Some Chicano students told me something similar happened to them when they were walking by a booth setup by the university's baseball team. The baseball team was trying to sell tickets or something because attendance was low, so when they offered tickets to these students who said, "No, thanks," one of the baseball players, noticing they were Mexican, said, "They probably only like soccer." Its baffling, that white people always need to turn to some sort of stereotype of our ethnicity, that borders on the racially charged. I have to wonder how many students who were white like the student with the clipboard, and the baseball players at the booth, just ignored them and kept walking. And I wonder if the students said anything about their fellow white students, you know like, "That hotdog and apple pie eating motherfucker." Or you know, "They probably didn't want to sign, because they have to go construct racist comments based on the ethnicity of person." Or if the baseball players thought, "They probably only like baseball & golf like us . . . er wait."

If anything, my friend's comment about the word "thug" being the new n-word, shows that the media and white people in general find new ways to code their racist tendencies & language.


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