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A Short History Of The Word ‘Thug’

Over the past few days, with the events transpiring in Baltimore, we’ve heard several people–mostly elected officials–toss around the word “thug” to describe people were were looting, setting fires, and engaging in other illegal acts. But do we really know what the word means? It doesn’t mean what you might think, and its origin goes all the way back to the 19th century.

The word thug can be traced back to the Hindi word meaning a cheat or a swindler. Early colonial accounts make mention of groups of Thugs who practiced Thuggee and were known to rob and kill travelers. Some histories even describe these Thugs as members of a religious cult that worshipped the goddess of death and destruction and killed in order to please her.

One of the earliest uses of the word in the United States is in 1852, when an article appeared in The New York Times which noted that the Thugs of India were:

“(A) terrible sect of religionists, whose worship is the most hideous in the whole record of false ideologies.”

The article then went on to compare the Indian Thugs to “the Rowdies of New York,” and then expanded on the metaphor:

“We have never seen the comparison made, but it is so obvious that it must have suggested itself to some reader or writer. At Hoboken, lately, a party of ladies and gentlemen were attacked by some New York thugs….Perhaps, next November, as our readers go to the polling booths, they will recollect what we have said about Thuggism, and for the sake of the City’s good name, will resolve to abate it.”

Even Mark Twain made reference to the Indian Thugs in his 1897 travelogue, Following the Equator. There was also a passing mention of them in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In the movie, the Thugs were portrayed as villains from the Orient who were known to engage in human sacrifice.

When we reach the 20th century in America, we begin to see the use of the word in hip-hop lyrics such as those by Tupac Shakur, who popularized the term “thug life.” But as Michael Jeffries notes in Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop:

“The concept of the thug underwent a…transformation, from signifying disgust, rebellion, and nihilism to evoking coolness and power.”

Thug became a word of protest against the conditions so many young urban minorities found themselves living in. Jeffries writes:

“The label was attached to black and brown people, impoverished people, living in urban communities, regardless of their behavior. They adopted the word for subversive and oppositional reasons, and it found its way into the music. It’s not a coincidence that the rise of this word in the public sphere coincided with the uptick in the punishment and hyper-incarceration of black and brown people living in late 20th century urban America.”

Today, the word “thug” is most often used as a sort of socially acceptable replacement for the “N” word when one is talking about young black and brown men who somehow do not adhere to every single established norm or rule that has been imposed upon them. So if a young black person decides to refuse the orders of a police officer, suddenly he’s a thug.

Kim Wagner, a senior lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, best sums up why anyone would ever use the word thug, be it in the 19th century or today:

“To call someone a thug is politically dismissive.”

And if you can dismiss someone in such a cavalier fashion, you can then pretend their complaints and concerns don’t matter, so you can then ignore them. But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. It only makes it fester.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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Transgender Game Developer Commits Suicide After Being Victim Of Online Bullying

After she had taken her own life by jumping from the George Washington Bridge, a message appeared on Rachel Bryk’s Twitter account. It had been scheduled to post eight hours after her death and it read:

“Guess i am dead. Killed myself. Sorry.”

But what led this transgender game developer from New Jersey to take her own life at the age of 23? Her family said it was a combination of the severe pain she suffered from neurological disorders–fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis–and the constant online bullying of unseen people who wished her only sorrow.

Turned down for Social Security disability benefits just last year, Bryk’s online posts and other written notes discovered after her death show how distraught she had become. And even though authorities haven’t yet conclusively identified the body they found in the water under the bridge, her parents say they know it is Rachel. Her father, Roger Bryk tearfully says:

“The waiting is the hardest part.”

Rachel’s mother, Lisa Bryk, also suffers from fibromyalgia, and says she understands only too well the physical pain her daughter had to endure:

“It’s just a struggle every day to live like that, in chronic pain. People think you look fine on the outside and that if you just tried harder, things would be OK. And that’s not the case. People said that to her and it just made her feel more hopeless.”

When she was able to work, Bryk was a respected game developer and active in the online community surrounding Dolphin emulator software, which allows users to play Nintendo video games on their computers.

But being online was both a blessing and a curse, as Rachel’s online postings show. In one, she writes:

“There’s not constant transphobia on reddit any time i post, or someone mentions me, like there is here. The rest of you don’t have to worry though, i’m gonna kill myself soon enough and you won’t have to be bothered by me anymore.”

The response to her posting? She was told:

“DO IT, if you’re such a weak willed thin skinned dip—- then f— do it.”

Another simply said:

“(G)ood riddance.”

Witnesses report seeing a young woman climb the railing of the bridge and jump. All that remained of Rachel Bryk was her shoes, which she had taken off and left on the sidewalk.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

 

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Guess How The Ku Klux Klan Celebrated Confederate Memorial Day

So, how did you celebrate Confederate Memorial Day yesterday? What, you didn’t celebrate? Don’t feel bad, because I didn’t either. Why? Well, mainly because I’m not a redneck, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobe jackass who wants to pretend the Civil War ended differently.

In the state I was born and live in, Georgia, yesterday was a state holiday! Same in Alabama and Mississippi. But if you ask anyone in this part of the country why they still celebrate this so-called holiday, they’ll claim it’s all about honoring their Southern heritage. And to that I respond, Bullshit!

What the “memorial” is all about was revealed in its true form in Mississippi, where the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) decided to celebrate their heritage on Sunday evening after dark had fallen by setting a cross alight. Nah, nothing the least bit racist about that.

The Klan even advertised their event, letting folks know the reason for their gathering:

“April 27 2015 is Confederate Memorial day in Mississippi. The UDWK will honor Confederate Memorial day on Sunday April 26, 2015. We will raise the battle Flag and say the Confederate pledge, this is only open to UDWK members. Being most of the original 1865 Klan were soldiers who wore gray, it is our duty to honor there sacrifice and service against the Yankee New World Order machine.”

Yankee New World Order machine? Excuse me, but I believe the North won the war and since then we have been known as the United States of America. Is it really necessary to attempt the refighting of a war that was lost 150 years ago? This is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate anyone who believes differently than the cowards who wear those ridiculous hoods. Or as Deep South Daily writer Ashton Pittman stated:

“The fetishization of the slave South is just as much about today as it is about 1865. We are still fighting against social progress, against equal rights, and against the federal government.”“The fetishization of the slave South is just as much about today as it is about 1865. We are still fighting against social progress, against equal rights, and against the federal government.”

The states that still celebrate this bogus holiday/memorial should be deeply ashamed of themselves. But something tells me they aren’t, not in the least. No doubt quite a few of the legislators in those Southern states would have felt right at home when the Klan burned that cross Sunday night.

But this is 2015, and it’s way past time for the South to stop fighting against progress.

 

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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‘Fox And Friends’ Dolts: Black Female Police Officer May Be A Muslim (Video)

I know what to expect when I hear the name Fox News mentioned, but sometimes even Fox has the ability to both surprise, shock, and outrage with the level of their idiocy, racism, and incomprehension.

The latest example of this lack of common sense comes from the airheaded dolts who host Fox’s morning show “Fox and Friends,” which may be the biggest waste of a person’s time currently appearing on television. If you don’t know, the hosts are Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Brian Kilmeade.

This trio of dunderheads decided to discuss the matter of the first black woman to ever be appointed Assistant Chief of Police in Miami. The woman, Anita Najiy, is not in the news for her historic achievement, but instead due to the complaint of Miami Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Javier Ortiz, who is demanding that Najiy be reprimanded for not placing her hand over her heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. He says she did it “to make a political statement.”

Yes, you read that right: She stood at attention but didn’t place her hand over her heart. What is the world coming to?!

But Assistant Chief Najiy wasn’t obligated to place her hand over her heart for the pledge, according to Police Maj. Delrish Moss, who noted that military protocol states one should:

“Stand at attention, remain silent, and face the flag.”

And Major Moss added:

“That’s exactly what she did. The Honor Guard follows U.S. military code. She was following U.S. military code. It had nothing to do with personal beliefs.”

End of discussion, right. Not exactly. The “Fox and Friends” bumblers decided that Najiy was acting for another reason: she might just be…a Muslim. Steve Doocy tossed out this unproven allegation:

“The fraternal order of police president has suggested this could have been a religious decision. He has suggested that perhaps she is a Muslim. That is not known.”

To which Brian Kilmeade had to add:

“If you’re a Muslim, I hope it still means you can salute the flag!”

As you can see, this molehill is quickly becoming Mount Everest. So Hasselbeck simply had to get in on the action, opining:

“You know, that would be a great question to ask. And so is it our right to know why someone would opt-out of that? How does that make you feel if that is indeed your district? Would you want to know?”

While you’re out investigating and asking questions you have the right to know the answers to, Elizabeth, can you also find out how three people as clueless as you and your co-hosts ever got a job on a “news” network in the first place?

Oh, never mind. There’s no need to explain. After all, you’re on Fox News, and they don’t want news to get in the way of their propaganda.

Watch The “Fox And Friends” Idiots Make Fools Of Themselves

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org

 

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Woman Suing Oakland Police For Vicious Beating After She ‘Flunked The Attitude Test’

Megan Sheehan admits that she was both drunk and belligerent on the evening of March 17, 2014, but she also thinks that members of the Oakland Police used excessive force when they arrested her. One look at the photo of her the night she was arrested would seem to support her contention.

Sheehan is now suing Oakland police and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) for the beating she received a year ago. As Sheehan remarked:

“I should have never gotten that drunk, but also there are ways to detain someone and not break their face.”

Video of the arrest taken by a surveillance camera at the BART station clearly shows Sheehan screaming and yelling as she is dragged away by officers.

Later, back at the police station, another video reveals that Sheehan has calmed down, but she does continue to disagree verbally with the officers who are talking to her.

The Oakland Police Department alleges that Sheehan began “violently punching” an officer, so he “guided her to the ground.”

But body camera video shows that what two officers actually did was grab Sheehan by the arms and throw her to the ground following a complaint by Sheehan that one of the officers touched her. Sheehan can be seen lying motionless on the floor and there is blood on the ground. One of the officers remarks:

“You might want medical.”

As a result of the officer’s actions, Sheehan suffered four broken facial bones and lost several teeth. She also says she is suffering from psychological issues as a result of what happened that evening in March of 2014.

Sheehan’s attorney, John Scott said:

“They knew by throwing her to the ground without having her hands available to break the fall that she was going to suffer serious head injuries. She was uncooperative. She was intoxicated — and I believe she had to be taught a lesson. In police jargon, she flunked the attitude test.”

When you consider the many cases of police officers using excessive force we have seen recently, it would appear that something needs to change when it comes to how law enforcement officers interact with those they are supposed to serve and protect.

And that change cannot come too soon.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.