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The Thug Image Essay

1255 words - 5 pages

What exactly is the definition of a thug? Although the term varies in meaning by individual, we can all agree that its connotation is negative. Anyone is liable to be a thug; however, this term is mostly used amongst the African American race. Many people argue that racism is behind the derogatory use of the word towards African Americans. Others also argue that African Americans place the title amongst themselves. Both sides can make great arguments. The true question is will either argument be fair and just. The term thug should be a unbiased term only used to describe thieves.
Where is the word thug derived from? According to, the word thug means,“One of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.”
The show Indiana Jones gives a bit of insight into the term thug. There was a cult of Indian bandits called the, “Thuggee” that would travel around purposely deceiving people and eventually robbing and killing them. According to Guinness Book of World Records, the Thuggee were responsible for over 2 million deaths of unsuspecting travelers. The relation to the
term now and then is very similar, but is also very different as well. The Thuggee were very disguised and clever with their tactics, whereas, the Thugs of the modern day are obvious and deliberate in their actions. The only real and true correlation of the two is violence and death. The term has switched roles completely.
Recently the term thug has been used quite often. In January of 2014, after a hard fought game, NFL player, Richard Sherman had a very intense postgame interview. Following the interview the social media world was sent into fury. Popular social networking websites such as Twitter and Instagram were the center of the conversation that night. According to an analysis by, the word “Thug” was used 625 times the following Monday night on television. I can agree that his postgame antics were a bit aggressive and over the top. I would even go as far as classifying it a rant, but the term “Thug” does not come to mind after watching the interview. The term thug should not be so loosely used. The character of Richard Sherman, the human being, should not have been determined from a thirty second interview, following a heated game. In fact, Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Communications, and was also the salutatorian of his high school class. Richard Sherman’s profile does not fit that of a “thug.” Sherman sparked a good point in his argument that the term thug is the new form of the “N” word.
Is the term thug race biased? Sherman may just have a point. It is very rare that we hear of someone being called a thug on television that is not of African American descent. Every blue moon some of Hispanic descent is called a thug, but the main issue remains in the African American community. As a race, I can agree that African Americans embrace the title, rather
than objecting...

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