Thug You!

OK, let’s do the good news first.

Jackie has written the best piece I’ve seen exploring the ramifications of last week’s “no fans” baseball game. Go read it now, so you can tell everyone you were following her before she got her Pulitzer.

Moving on to the bad news.

There’s been a hell of a lot of discussion of the word “thug” lately. Too much discussion–it’s drowning out the voices of the people trying to solve the real problems affecting this country.

The claim is that “thug” is “inherently racist”. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. That’s beside the point. It’s also beside the point whether all the discussion is a deliberate effort to sidetrack the national conversation. The point is that groups of people are using legitimate political protests as a cover for illegal activities.

Here in the Bay Area, we’ve seen it happen during almost every protest in the last half-dozen years, and now it’s spreading across the country.

Complaining about the racism of the word “thug” is simply a distraction from the real issues. Whether the discussion is about police brutality, the unequal distribution of wealth, or bicycle rights, the question of whether “thug” is inherently racist, incidentally racist, or not racist at all is precisely as relevant as discussing whether the sky is blue or gray.

Are the people who show up at your protest planning to smash windows and steal whatever they can get their hands on part of your movement?

If they’re not, don’t waste your time complaining about what anyone calls them. Concentrate on your issue. And concentrate on making sure they don’t show up at your next protest so they don’t dilute your message.

If they are part of your movement, you need to rethink your position. As things stand, they’re not advancing your cause, whatever it is. Either get rid of them and pursue peaceful protest, or go in the other direction, declare yourselves–and them–revolutions devoted to the violent overthrow of the government. But shit or get off the pot; sitting there on the throne isn’t going to accomplish anything.

And if you’re not part of the movement, and you’re just objecting to the word “thug”, you’re not helping anyone. Shut the hell up, so we can all get on with trying to solve the real problems.