The term “thug”



A “thug” (1810) is someone who is violent with little regard for the law. Like “savage” and “terrorist”, it has become highly racialized, especially since 2009.

Think like a White racist:

  • savages = Native American men;
  • terrorists = Muslim men;
  • thugs = Black American men.

White Americans use these words to stereotype the men of an out-group as dangerous and naturally violent, as lacking morals and empathy. Whites then use that as an excuse to act in just that way towards them: violent, no empathy, no morals. Drones, police brutality, genocide.

You can see how racialized the word “thug” has become in 2015. Here is how many web pages use the following phrases according to Google:

  • 497,000 “black thugs”
  • 88,700 “Latino thugs” + “Hispanic thugs”
  • 87,100 “white thugs”
  • 8,520 “Asian thugs”


  • 3,440 “ray rice is a thug”
  • 6 “charlie sheen is a thug”

Even though Sheen has a much longer history…

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