The History of “Thug”

Dysfunctional Literacy

Ugh!  Now I have to go back and change every "thug" to "ruffian."   (image via Wikimedia) Ugh! Now I have to go back and change every “thug” to “ruffian.” (image via Wikimedia)

I might have to stop using the word “thug” in my writing.  Over the last few days, several television commentators on several cable news stations have stated that “thug” is the new code for the “N-word.” I have to take their opinions seriously because cable news commentators are known for carefully thinking about what they say before they say it.

I admit, I use the word “thug” when I write.  I’ve used the word “thug” in a story that I’ve written recently.   In that story, the word “thug” is racially ambiguous, but that might not come across to the reader.  In today’s hostile cultural climate, a reader might see the word “thug” and assume certain attributes in my character that I hadn’t meant, and then that reader might assume that I am a racist.

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