Let’s try to dispel some chatter out there about a term that’s been tossed around to describe the individuals who’ve destroyed businesses, burned buildings, injured police officers and created a whole lot of mayhem in a great American city.
They’ve been called “thugs.” Some folks now are bristling at the term because they contend it carries a racist connotation.
The violent outburst in Baltimore came after an African-American man, Freddie Gray, died while in police custody of a severed spine.
How did some individuals react to that death? By attacking individuals who had nothing to do with it.
Does that sound like thuggery to you? It does to me.
Oh, and who has used the term “thugs” to describe what’s gone on? President Barack Obama has called the perps “thugs.” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said it, too. What do these folks have in common? You know what it is: They’re both African-American. Other civic leaders have chimed in with the term as well. Many of them have been black.
Granted, the mayor hasn’t done a good job of taking control of the situation, but that’s another story.
A single word need not become the focus of the discussion that should be occurring with regard to the violence that has exploded in Baltimore. It diverts attention away from the bigger problem, which — as I see it — relates to the hideous behavior of some individuals who have hogged all the attention from those in Baltimore who’ve sought to maintain order and protest in a civil manner.
Of course, there’s the issue of police relations in the African-American community, which also must be discussed. That discussion cannot occur, however, when thugs are tearing up the city.