Buckle up, this is going to take a minute or if you have no interest in the politics of race, you can move on now.
Still here? I am being very deliberate in my use of the word THUG especially as a racist dog whistle to describe black men. I would like to say I’m try to subvert the word, but there are tons of ‘nice’ people who take one look at me and automatically assign that word to me. I’m 6’ 2”, 300+ pounds, and have what can generally be describe as resting bitch face when in public. and for that reason i am perceived as a threat.
Think I’m exaggerating? I worked for large corporation and there were employees there that wouldn’t be in the same room with me and one occasion I had someone basically back themselves into the corner of an elevator to be as far away from me as possible. I have been stopped by the police in a rental car because ‘i didn’t look like the kind of person that would drive a car like that and there had been multiple reports of break-ins and car thefts in the neighborhood.’
This my reality. Every time I’m pulled over, I start recording a voice memo just in case I don’t survive the encounter.
Which brings me to the other reason I want to co-opt the usage of the word is if/when my demise happens at the hands of some ‘terrified’ white person, the researcher tasked with finding my ‘THUG’ photo to justify the shooting is going to be incredibly disappointed.
Using words like THUG are part a concerted effort to dehumanize us and make anything that happens to us excusable. This needs to stop.