Monday, July 21, 2008

"Thug" is the New N-Word

The right-wing blogs and radio hosts have circled the wagons and spun into hysterical defense mode after real journalist Jim Rowen called out one of their lesser members for calling County Board Chairman Lee Holloway a "thug" last week. Rowen correctly pointed out the "race-baiting" use of the epithet and generally bemoaned the "heavily-racialized public debate that is endured here". In a follow-up, Rowen links to this helpful discussion of the modern use of "thug" to attack African-Americans from the Atlanta Constitution.

The talking-pointed responses from fellow-travelers of the offender – Steve Eggleston of No Runny Eggs – include predictable denials of the intended racist use of the word, predictably-inflated episodes trying to establish that Holloway really is a thug, a hilarious linguistic review of the origin of the term (from a murderous "Hindu cult" in India) and blah de blah blah.

Rowen is right. "Thug" is the new N-Word, usually trotted out by right-wingers only in the context of African-Americans who are doing something they don’t want them to do. [Eggleston tries to provide cover for himself after the fact by presenting people like Hitler and Stalin as examples of "thugs", which again makes one wonder how Holloway got in that catagory.] Unapologetic racists like Mark Belling brag about using the term and dare others (usually politicians) to do the same. The last time we heard the "thug" blather was after the late-night RiverSplash violence earlier this summer. There was no doubt Belling and the others who are always there to capitalize on racial divisiveness were talking about black people causing the incident, although that fact was suspiciously missing from any straight news. In the deliberately race-baiting atmosphere of what passes for right-wing "thought", "thug" is shorthand for blacks behaving badly.

[By the way, whatever happened to the other "thuggery" that the right-wingers predicted was going to happen at free festivals all summer after RiverSplash? I seem to recall Bastille Days being particularly at risk, but it went off without a hitch (with a wonderfully diverse crowd, at that). To say the least, this is not the first dire prediction made by the right that didn’t come true; it also is not surprising that none of them bothered to note how peaceful the rest of the summer festivals have been.]

It is one thing for right-wingers to call out-of-control kids on the street "thugs" – unfortunately, Mayor Tom Barrett has taken up their divisive challenge to name-call – but it is quite another to insert "thug" as the middle name of a strong, African-American elected official who has proposed something (a tax increase) they don’t like. As they always do, afraid that they will fail on the merits of their arguments, they conduct ad hominem personal attacks and, where possible, throw a little racist sentiment in there to boot.

One thing I never understood is why right-wingers play these race-baiting games and then act offended when someone calls them on it. They should be proud of their clever divisiveness. They should stop hiding behind code words – after all, their favorite black guy just loves to use his self-hating license to use the N-word whenever he can. Come on, right-wingers! Stop hiding behind the skirts of your pretended outrage. Show us how race-neutral the term "thug" really is – show us what racist thugs you can truly be.

55 comments:

Fraley said...

Oh, controller of the language, forgive us for not getting the memo.

The following have been called Thugs on conservative blogs in recent years


“the Jude cops”

The gang banger who shot and paralyzed a boy in front of Supervisor Peggy West’s house

The Sheboygan Police Chief David E. Kirk, City Attorney, Stephen G. McLean and Mayor, Juan Perez thugs, None of them were black.

Hundreds of state employees, most of those weren’t black.

A white Department of Natural Resources warden

A 17 year old molester that was stabbed by the mother, he wasn’t black.

Saddam Hussein

Kim Jong Il

Communist dictators, none of them are black

There's no race-baiting when calling Lee Holloway a thug. This is the guy who physically threatened and even hit/pushed two fellow supervisors who were critical with his ethics/leadership.

Mike Plaisted said...

Nice attempt at cover, Fraley. Any white U.S. politicians on that list? Let's see: Hussein, Jong Il, Stalin...Holloway?

Come on, Fraley, you know what you're doing. I just can't believe anyone is paying for it.

Other Side said...

It's boys like Fraley who find it so easy to allow words like "thug" to flit from their lips that would have been first in line at a lynching. And, first in line with the excuses.

Anonymous said...

Resorting to making things up here. Not surprised seeing that you are a lawyer. Lawyers do not add value to society, they take value from it.

Fraley said...

No, it's folks like me (and Steve, and Owen, and Patrick, and James, and Jay and Vicki, and Charlie and Mark and James T. and Jeff) who refuse to be intimidated into silence by the speech police.

There is room for debate on every issue, and one side can not determine what language the other side gets to use.

Fraley said...

And did it ever occur to you guys that baseless charges of racism d sever harm to everyone's attempt to point out real racism when it exists?

Ever hear the parable of the boy who cried wolf?

Mike Plaisted said...

Hey, Fraley, who's trying to stop you guys from making fools of yourselves with racist language? Go ahead with your bad selves. I'm just trying to get you to take some ownership of what you are doing. Own the racism. Revel in the divisiveness. Be proud of your insecurities and those of others you seek to exploit. Stop denying it. That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Mike, why don't you just title a blog post of yours "All Republicans Are Racists" because that is what you truly believe deep down. Come on Mike, revel in it, be proud of your divisiveness, don't hide behind it, embrace it, and make it your own.

Mike Plaisted said...

Sure, Anony, and let's keep trying to beat up on me for raising a point without addressing the substance of the point itself. That's all you can do, after all.

I don't think all Republicans are racist. I think the Republican message machine has played racist games with all sorts of issues through the years, and this is particularly bad in Milwaukee, where the right-wingers with radio shows are too willing to play the game.

So, they are not racists themselves (too smart), but they are willing to exploit the insecurities of their listeners and readers through racist tripe.

They know better, but push the buttons. I think that's worse than actually being racist themselves.

James Rowen said...

Thanks for the posting.

No one was trying to censor or intimidate No Runny Eggs. What thin-skinned fraidy cats.

Interpreting his remarks? Of course. Nothing wrong or unusual with that.

I like the characterization of "thug" as the "new n-word."

I expect we'll still see it stuck to Holloway on righty blogs as "can't-make-us-stop" chest-bumping, but they'll go out of their way to apply it liberally (!) to some white politicians and crooks.

Jim Rowen

David Casper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Casper said...

Mike...I'll address the substance of your point: you're full of it and only hope to attack those with whom you disagree. If anyone is lacking in substance but making up for it with poorly forged ammunition, it's you.

As I said somewhere else...

Let me try this from a different angle…

I have two teenage sisters-in-law who are black living in a town where there are very, very few.

Last summer one was invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house. But when the friend’s grandmother found out she was black, she voiced her “disapproval” by indicating she wished to disinvite my in-law.

Again, BECAUSE SHE IS BLACK.

This is chosing to judge someone based entirely on the color of their skin. It had nothing to do with how she behaves, if she’s a good student, if she ever gets in trouble at school or how in any way she may be a bad influence on this woman’s grandchild. The only reason she didn’t want this girl in her home was BECAUSE SHE IS BLACK.

This is what racism is.

So you’ll have to excuse me when I have no tolerance at all for some fellow who cavalierly claims racism at the mere use of a word and has to go through great pains to explain it when examples of blatant racism are out there and being made meaningless by someone who hopes to throw the accusation about without seeming to have a true understanding of what it means. Rowen and anyone like him do a greater disservice to those they wish to “defend” and “protect” by inventing such controversy then they could possibly be aware of, otherwise their motivations must truly become suspect.

John Foust said...

"... everyone's attempt to point out real racism when it exists?"

When was that?

Anonymous said...

And the left hasn't used "message machine" to paint Republicans as racists? Your side is the FIRST to stomp on the right if anyone says anything remotely close to being construed as racist...but those on the left get a pass whenever they're caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. What blind hypocrisy.

Remember: Belling is a racist but not the white liberal radio talk show host in Madison who used the terms Aunt Jemima and Uncle Tom

Mike Plaisted said...

Dave:

That is indeed a classic example of racism. We all know that kind of personal racism is still out there, feel sorry for those affected by it and, sometimes, even sorrier for those trapped in the racist perspective by their own insecurities and ignorance.

The right-wing sure knows those people are out there -- that's why it is the grandmother you describe who is the target of the their race-baiting games. The worst thing that can happen to them is to have people feel unified and unafraid; to trust their neighbors; to see common cause with those on the other side of town. As long as Grandma feels the Fear and can blame it on those dark faces on the street and in the County Board Room, the more they can snow more people into voting for them or supporting their please-the-rich policies.

Racism isn't an attitude with professional right-wing message-developers like Brian Fraley -- it's a tactic. And, if you call them on it, they get sooo defensive. I wonder why.

Frlaey said...

For too long, conservatives would just sit idly by as liberals and their allies in the media would label them as racists, divisive, ignorant, rich classists, exploiters of others, etc.

I, for one, finally got sick of the baseless accusations and have decided to not let those ignorant slights go unchallenged.

You claim that reaction makes me 'sooo defensive.' I'm just calling Bull$&!# when I see it.

However, I'm not going to exert a lot of time or energy trying to debate you or others whose prejudices prevent them from looking at the world beyond their stereotype-filled point of view.

Anonymous said...

John McCain is an old man. Ageism?

Anonymous said...

typical liberal racism and devisevness, saying a thug is the new N word. silly , stupid and undeniable sophmoric, grow up Mikey, your an idiot. Do you use your same demented thought process in losing most of your criminal defense cases. you have lost your last 20 cases in a row, I have looked it up. Most be those evil conservative judges out there? Mikey you suck as an attorney!!!!!

Anonymous said...

20 in a row??? Mike is just like the Washington Generals!!! LOL!!!

Those damn evil conservative Harlem Globetrotters!!!

I think Mike feels like he "wins" when he calls Republicans racists at every turn.

Mike Plaisted said...

I was going to ignore Anony 5:43's ignorant comment, but, since Anony 9:15 is stupid enough to believe it...

There isn't anywhere - on CCAP or anywhere else - to "look up" a "win/loss" record for any attorney, as meaningless as such a statitic would be even if you could. You would have to somehow find out all the cases I have represented people on (not available) and then click through four pages to get to whether there was a trial or not and then find the result. In my case, that would be over a thousand cases in the past 6 years or so, only 20 or so that got to any kind of trial.

And, anyway, I currently have a "losing streak" of exactly one, having "lost" a trial a couple of weeks ago (although the jury said afterwards it was a close call). I "won" the one before that, so Anony 5:43 is full of shit on all kinds of levels.

But jury trials are a very small practice of what I do for my clients on a day-to-day basis. I "win" cases every week in a lesser sentence, a successful motion or a dismissal of some sort of others. Go ahead, ask around on the 5th and 6th floors of the Courthouse -- I think I have a pretty good reputation with everyone in the system. Some of them even dig my blog (or not).

It appears my arguments here have some dick-heads like Anony 5:43 so flummoxed, they have resorted, as they always do, to the politics of personal destruction, regardless of the facts. Pretty sick, but, you know, that's who they are. Just don't come running to me when you get caught with your hand in the employer's cookie jar. No soup for you!

ΕΡΜΕΣ said...

I propose we use "blugs" to refer blogger thuggery, or bloggers who behave badly. "Troll" is getting out of date.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Dumbest. Post. Ever.

Even if the word does refer only to African Americans, which is does not, so what? Don't African American thugs give us cause to use the word?

Didn't Michael McGee refer to himself as a thug? Don't rappers who talk about selling drugs and killing people refer to themselves as thugs?

If yes, don't good people - black, white or otherwise - who are affected by thugs deserve protection from them? Isn't thuggish behavior easy to identify and does it not deserve condemnation?

When African American criminals and rappers stop glamorizing the term, then perhaps everyone from right-wing hacks to people like me will stop using the term altogether, since they seem to be the main source from which it stems.

I can anticipate your pathetic response will be about blaming the victims. But again, the only victims are the people being victimized by the thugs and not the thugs themselves; a concept you don't seem to grasp.

And by the way, you seriously need to sack up and not go out of your way to be offended. If you didn't play baseball your man card would have to be revoked.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

How about you and your Democrat Party friends apologize for fighting Lincoln to keep your slaves and then for passing Jim Crow laws and then for fighting the Civil Rights Act with your racist Klu Klux Klan leader Robert Byrd and then we can take about which party is racist?

Anonymous said...

*talk

Anonymous said...

Mike, meet kettle.

"It has of late become the custom of the men of the South to speak with entire candor of the settled and deliberate policy of suppressing the negro vote. They have been forced to choose between a policy of manifest injustice toward the blacks and the horrors of negro rule. They chose to disfranchise the negroes. That was manifestly the lesser of two evils. . . . The Republican Party committed a great public crime when it gave the right of suffrage to the blacks. . . . So long as the Fifteenth Amendment stands, the menace of the rule of the blacks will impend, and the safeguards against it must be maintained."

--Editorial, "The Political Future of the South," New York Times, May 10, 1900

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110011033

Anonymous said...

"Thug" is not a racist word. It is used all the time in the sports world, regardless of race. Going back a few years, everyone in Milwaukee referred to Bill Laimbeer of the Pistons as a "thug," and no one is more pasty-white than Laimbeer. Virtually every hockey fans talks about thugs as the head-hunting enforcers, and we all know how many African Americans play hockey. Outside of sports, people refer to mob enforcers as thugs, and these are stereotypically Italians, not African Americans.

You are simply making up an issue to avoid the real issues and are trying to demonize anyone you disagree with. Of course, "demonize" might also have racial overtones - gasp!

Emily said...

First, I have to respectfully disagree with Mike that "thug" is an inherently racist word. It can be used in a racist manner, and some of these cases may be that, but it can be used simply as a word that expresses displeasure with someone's strong-armed actions. Then, we could also get into a (valid) debate about whether or not, regardless of the word's meaning, it's a good idea to use a word because it may offend a large group of people. Still, I'm not sure this is as important an argument to be having as, say, what actions exactly people take issue with Holloway for.

Secondly, however, I have to point out that Anon@9:01's point is complete bullshit. The Democratic Party and Republican Party of today bear little-to-no resemblance to their namesakes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bringing up such a comparison only serves to belie your utter lack of knowledge about the parties, their history, and their members.

Also, can I just note how very sick I am of people writing "Democrat Party" instead of the proper name, "Democratic"? It's not clever, it just makes you look like an idiot. This goes for all the stupid names: Repuglican, Madistan, etc.

Seriously, cut it out. It doesn't help anyone's cause.

apc said...

I can't speak to the Wisconsin zeitgeist about the relative racial properties of the word thug; here in Texas, honestly, it's completely race-neutral.

But those folks talking about turn-of-the-century (and I'm talking 19th to 20th) Democratic and Republican Party politics are simply revealing their complete lack of an argument the way politics have been waged for the last 50 years or so.

The difference is that for the last 50 years, the Democratic Party has acknowledged its mistakes about race and has resolved to create an equal playing field. The Republican Party has used a divisive and destructive racial policy to alienate the country.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure that it was barely 40 years ago that the Democrat Party was fighting the civil rights struggle like crazy. Look at racist Democrat LBJ, every southern Democrat Party governor, Klu Klux Klan Democrat Robert Byrd. The Democrat Party has never stopped its campaign of racism against minorities.

Anonymous said...

Here's current Democrat Party Senator Joe Biden:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African American [Barack Obama] who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy."

You people are as racist as ever.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anon 5:02.

Unfortunately, Biden's slip wasn't an isolated incident...

"In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7/11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking."

No offense Steveegg, but in the large scheme of things, your blog is insignificant, as is Plaisted's, and many, many others.

That's not to say that what you say isn't relevant and poignant and isn't worth reading! I quite enjoy it.

But the point is, Plaisted deals in irony and hypocrisy as well as he does in hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, everyone...what part of it's-impossible-for-democrats-to-be-racists don't you understand? THEY are the final judge and jury as to who is racist and who is not. If Mikey sez that when conservatives use the word "thug" they are really trying to use the "n-word" then it's a fact. Don't question it.

Anonymous said...

Only cases Mikey gets are the court appointed ones, the "thugs" with no money. Mikey i wouldn't use you as my attorney for anything. as I have never needed a attorney for anything criminal, as I am NO "thug". Mikey, My many suits in my closet all cost more than you make in a month, grow up you sick loser, you have been suffering from Bush hatred syndrome for to long.

Jason said...

Hey Mike, according to you, you're racist...

According to "Pundits Eat Crow in New Hampshire" posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 by Mike Plastered, "The right-wing is always represented by various of their heavily-subsidized echo-chamber publications like the Weekly Standard and the National Review – right-wing thugs like Bill Kristol, Pat Buchanan and Bill Bennett are stuck to their studio chairs with crazy-glue, the imprimatur of respectability bestowed upon them by otherwise moderate media corporations."

You are a moron, you just owned yourself.

Anonymous said...

Oh snap! Nicely done Jason!

But remember, liberals can use racist words like "thug" whenever they want. It's only when conservatives use it that it equates to the "n-word." And as a previous poster pointed out, it's the liberal left who is the judge and jury on what's racist and what's not.

Emily said...

When did this become a bragging contest over who has the most and nicest suits?

Seriously, what the hell?

Prosqtor said...

I always liked Mike's outfits. And most of his job is getting guilty people the best deal possible, or at least a shepherd through the system. Let's not get too carried away with his performance (which as he said is impossible to quantify) or his suits.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for Mike to respond to HIS own use of the racist word "thug"...I doubt we'll hear from him. But if we do, I'm sure he'll excuse himself and declare that he's allowed to use it.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for Mike to respond to HIS own use of the racist word "thug"...I doubt we'll hear from him. But if we do, I'm sure he'll excuse himself and declare that he's allowed to use it.

Jason said...

Hey Mike, what's up with you using a racist word on your blog 6 long months ago. What, did you forget that you had done that? Did the context of THUG change across the country in 6 measly months? You're nothing but a loud mouthed bully of a child.

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Mikey to respond...waiting...waiting...

(crickets)

Mike Plaisted said...

Hey proseqtr, he definately hasnt gotten countless innocent people out of jail. 1 example. Man faced with 120 years. Found out he was falsely accused. Trial done. And suits are awsome. I want 1. I had 1, it was better than all of yours. Then i grew.

Ken P said...

Forgot to switch screen names again. damn it.

Prosqtor said...

Here's what I wrote:

"I always liked Mike's outfits. And most of his job is getting guilty people the best deal possible, or at least a shepherd through the system. Let's not get too carried away with his performance (which as he said is impossible to quantify) or his suits."

This was neither an indictment of your dad's sartorial tastes nor his job. I understand that people accused of crimes are entitled to a competent and zealous defense of their rights. I was trying to defuse those who were commenting on his "losing streak" (which isn't true, apparently) and suits.

I am not the one to attack on this point.

Anonymous said...

I think we're all still waiting for Mike to defend his use of the n-word (thug) in an earlier blog.

I guess one defense would be ex post facto. Mike passed his own law very recently that said that "thug" was a racist word. We can't go back to earlier blog entries of his and declare that use as against Mike's new law. Brilliant!

Ken P said...

Sorry prosqutr i read wrong. Im New to blogging

Jason said...

Nothing from Mike. Not surprising, when a liberal puts his foot in his mouth, he's usually not heard from again.

Mike Plaisted said...

Wadda ya mean, nothing? Check out my subsequent post addressing all these important issues raised by the thug-calling apologists. Here is that section, just in case you can't figure out how to find it:

"Hey, Plaisted, you used the word ‘thug’ once, so na na na boo boo": Like I said: context and intent. When I accused some national commentators of infecting the MSM with right-wing quasi-intellectual thuggery, it was not in a racial context and an attempt to describe, not to smear. Rick Esenberg, right-wing Milwaukee’s chief apologist, pulled a not terribly clever google (Plaisted + thug) and proclaimed me a hypocrite for complaining about someone else using the same word. But Rick – Milwaukee’s chief Obama-phobe who will find all kinds things to worry about from everything that comes out of Obama’s mouth, former church or campaign – will give the benefit of the doubt and find any way to excuse all right-wing racial smears. As usual, he dodges his own responsibility for enabling the racial tactics. "I wouldn’t call Holloway a thug," he says, which sounds a lot like his comment that he "would have strongly counseled against" Gableman’s racist Willie Horton ad during that sad campaign.

Jason said...

That's exactly what I mean, NOTHING. You posted nothing to substantiate that you are a hypocrite, and have proven it indelibly in writing here on your own blog. I guess you post so much, you can't remember what you write 6 months ago.

Don't give us that baloney about context and smear, it's bullshit, you're crawfishing.

I saw your new post, and don't feel it's worthy of a response. Who responds to the village idiot when he's blathering? Only the other village idiots.

Anonymous said...

Michele, mikey, whatever you are, you are a left wing communist nut bag. Why delete my posts when I expose you for the ignorant loser that you are.You are a un american piece of shit, your guilty of treason, and you shouldn't corrupt your "son" to such nonsense. mikey be a American our accept your punishment for treason and high crimes against the United States

Mike Plaisted said...

Thanks for sharing, Jason. The point is, I answered your question about my use of "thug". You just don't like the answer. If you told me I had to agree with you in order to satisfy your ass, I wouldn't have bothered.

Mike Plaisted said...

Thanks for sharing, Anony. Be careful -- I think your head is going to explode.

Jason said...

No Mike you didn't answer my question. You've changed your self-definition of a word to say that it's only racist in certain contexts. I suppose the "N" word is the same? If I use it to describe and not smear, then it's not racist?

You're backtracking on a grand scale Mike. That's why I'll come back here to read new responses to this topic, but there's no way I'm wasting my time on any of your other posts, you're just self-aggrandizing and looking for attention.

SuperFoot said...

I did not realize that President Bill Clinton was a right-winger...or hosted a conservative radio talk show!!

http://theamericansentinel.com/2008/08/27/bill-clinton-obama-has-political-instincts-of-a-chicago-thug/

Anonymous said...

Where I live, there are common street "thugs" all over, and only about half of them are African American. It has nothing to do with race, but mindset and actions by these pieces of trash.

Stop trying to be so PC , it's sickening