Coyne wrote:Tyndmyr wrote:The history of the word informs it's current usage, which is inherently criminal in nature.
That is a very shallow view of how people use words. For counter examples, consider these: "horse" (heroin); or "crank" (amphetamines); "dispatch" (assassination); "ghost" (more mundane murder); "poke" (sex)....I could go on for hours.
Not a single one of these words, in its slang/euphemistic usage, has anything but a tangential association with its historical meaning. Show me any dictionary, from even 1850, that shows the word "poke" defined as slang for sex, for example.
I am aware of multiple definitions being a normal thing. Or that some words do drift very far from historical definitions. But this is a definition in remarkably common current use that hasn't drifted far in a very long while indeed. It seems strange to simply assume that the mere presence of the word MUST mean the speaker is racist.
Presented earlier in the thread was the example of the biker shooting at Waco, and we can present a simple test: Search for "thugs waco biker fight", prioritizing for the word "thugs". On the first page, I see:
- (colorlines.com, social justice) No Thugs at Scene of Biker Gang 'Rumble'; leftist, querying absence of the word
- (nola.com, comment) Texas police shot bikers during Waco gang brawl that left 9 ...; a news story that does not contain the word except in comments
- (qz.com, counter) Rushing to call the Waco biker gang members “thugs” is not ...; argues that the bikers should not be called thugs because the word is overused
- (bizpacreview.com, from tweet) Texas biker clash leaves 9 dead: 'Police shoot at white ...; mentions tweets
- (N Y Times, editorial) Of Bikers and Thugs; discusses the absence of the word thugs in relation
- (Twitchy.com, news) violence erupts as biker gang 'thugs' - Twitchy; does actually use the word that way (in the title), but mostly discussing the fact no one uses it, based on tweets to that effect, note it is not mainstream news
- (TexasMonthly, news) On #WacoThugs, Biker Gangs, and White-on-White Crime ...; Disscuses the incident, but the text contains only a reference to the #WacoThugs tag, and reports several of those
- (MSNBC, aside) Waco shooting: The history behind the biker brawl; appears only in the "Progressive State of Mind" and other discussion sections
- (The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, commentary) Larry Wilmore: 'Let Me Be the First' to Call Waco Biker Gang ...; editorial talks about how they should be called thugs
- (National Review, news) A Gunfight, Not a Riot: What Happened in Waco | National ...; discusses it only in a mis-titled section "Related Why the Left Won't Call Rioters 'Thugs'?" in which the Review reports how the left inquires why the word "thugs" is not used...
Ten links; not a single news agency or conservative site that uses the word "thugs" to describe the bikers involved in that gunfight as part of their writing, in any context labeling the bikers. Which is odd, since per your "historical argument" above, "thug" is absolutely a word that could be used to describe them. And, mostly, the entries involve people asking, "Why wasn't/isn't the word used?"
As I mentioned, the liberal hand-waving has vastly swamped the normal use of the word in recent times. But discussion of the word is different. One shouldn't confuse the meta-discussion with the normal use itself.
You have stuff like Fox News calling out the bikers explicitly as thugs, and last I checked, Fox was 'murrican, conservative, and *sigh* a news site. http://video.foxnews.com/v/424351286800 ... 3512868001
But that's also informed by the meta-discussion. To avoid having your data contaminated by the argument over the word itself, you kind of have to look at events before it suddenly became a political hot potato.
But useless without a comparison. Let's try "Thug Trayvon Martin" (and remember, the only thing remotely "criminal" they found in Trayvon's history was a school suspension):
And, yknow, the incident involved punching Zimmerman in the head. Assault, per the court.
The fact that some articles labeled Zimmerman as the thug is what you would expect to find, because there was some dispute over who was the aggressor, and it would be entirely normal to characterize the aggressor as a thug.
Your argument that, "The history of the word informs it's current usage," is irrelevant in the face of its demonstrated use now; that historic meaning might be tangential, but that's all.
Nonsense. It's used to refer to white folks all the time. And folks of other colors, because life ain't just black and white. I've given a few examples already. The use by conservatives in reference to the federal government since Waco is particularly notable.
Yes, it's true that the media engages in more hand-wringing when reporting on certain topics. This is far, far broader than the use of a single term. It's probably most notable when looking at kidnapping. There seems to be one helluva bias towards reporting on white girls.
KnightExemplar wrote:I honestly don't know of any "white" gangs. I guess the Mafia? Or the Irish Mob? But I don't really have any experience with either them (I think they're active in a different area of the country??). Have the Mafia or Mob done anything recently? And if so, has the media called them out as thugs?
"russian thug" as a search term should get you a ton of usage, as apparently that's the white-criminal steriotype of the hour. Irish or Italian in other eras, sure.