Monthly Archives: August 2014

Baby, Cuz I’m a Thug: Consequences of the “Thug” Image

Pit bulls have a bad rap. It’s a stereotype, really, and stereotyping is wrong, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and you see two Yorkies strolling towards you on the sidewalk, you probably won’t think twice about continuing on your way past them, unless you are afraid of a couple of nips at your ankles. However, if you saw a pair of pit bulls unattended strutting their muscles in your direction, you would probably try to get away as quickly as possible without attracting their attention.
Think about the correlation between that and the Michael Brown situation: your image matters. If you have spent your whole young life trying to present yourself as a “thug” or “hard”, then how could you possibly expect the people of authority not to expect that you will cause trouble when confronted? How can you realistically say that you are being wrongfully stereotyped? The entire appeal of the “thug” image is to represent a “hardened” criminal who has no respect for authority, no regard for the law, and whose is willing to do anything, including criminally to increase their “street cred”.
“Baby, cuz I’m a thug”. Listen, if you want to wear “thug life” on your forehead as a badge of honor, then you are also going to need to accept that you are going to be stereotyped as a “thug” as well. Authorities will assume you are up to no good. Shopkeepers will assume you are a potential thief or robber. People in general will assume that you are a criminal. It is, after all the look you are going for and the attitude you intentionally carry on your shoulders.

Listen, I like the “thug” rap. One of my favorite songs in this world is “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta”, 2Pac was one of the most talented and irreplaceable rappers of all time and I still harken back to the days I was kickin’ NWA on my walkman. But that’s where it ends for me… I don’t idolize these rappers for anything other than their talent with words, rhythms and beats. They are artists. Entertainers. They entertain me. They pump me up when I am working out at the gym. They hype me up on a Friday night on the town. They make me move when I’m in the club. But that is where it ends.

There is nothing glorious about having an life expectancy of just 20 years and five months. I didn’t even know what it meant to be a man until twenty-five, and most of these “thugs” are dying before they are legally the drinking age? Let me ask you thugs something: why is it that all of these “OG’s” when they have reached around the age of 40 or so (you know, the whole dozen or so people who make it that far in a decade) and actually given their brains a chance to mature and their testosterone a chance to level out, why is it that nearly every one of them tells the stories of how “hard” they were and the stuff they did, and then follows it up with “I was a stupid kid…That’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted…If I could go back now…blah blah blah” looking spiffy in their orange jump suits. Why? Because that kind of stuff is for idiots only. They were swept up in the thug life because they bought into the rap songs and the street cred crap. They had not given themselves a chance at any other life (and don’t even start with that “they weren’t GIVEN a chance… the whole thug mentality is if you want something, take it. Imagine if they applied that mentality to academic achievements, or cleaning up their neighborhood, or starting a business).

The problem is that black people are holding back black people. We are encouraging one another when it comes to being “gangsta” and we are chastising the ones (the few) who manage to get out of the hood and make something of themselves as being “Uncle Toms” and “Cosbys”. You know what, Cosby is right. The shame of it all is that the black community jumps all over another member of the black community like Bill Cosby or Juan Williams when they point out the FACT that we as black people will never be able to rise up in society unless we expect more from ourselves. At what point do you have to stop blaming “the man” for holding you back when you have given up even trying anymore?

As a black man, I am ashamed of the disgusting way people have reacted in Ferguson. I am not saying that the cop did nothing wrong, not by a long shot. I don’t have all of the facts in the case and I refuse to make an opinion on that. What I will tell you my opinion on is the fact that my fellow black men and women take to the streets of Ferguson acting like just plain criminals and the trash of society looting, and throwing rocks at cops. Al takes to the mic and condemns the cops and incites riots and uprisings without even knowing the whole story? Spike Lee says he “hopes” that there is an uprising if the cop is acquitted or not charged without even seeing a photo of the cop’s reportedly beaten face or reading the police report? What pure ignorance.

Let me say this: Ferguson, Travon Martin, etc., these are all examples of “Black Terrorism”. We as a people have regressed into a hate-filled, unorganized yet ready to organize at the slightest excuse, un-unified racially motivated undomesticated domestic terror organization. Without knowing all of the facts we jump to protest. Without knowing any details we assume a side and we protest. When the details come out and prove maybe there wasn’t quite as innocent a victim as we were led to believe, we going even further into denial. Then we threaten looting and riots? We destroy our own towns? We ship in other hate filled people of all colors to help us burn the very stores we patronize? We have we become? When does it end? When are we going to wake up and admit that we kill more of our own people in a weekend than any corrupt cops or mentally challenged neighborhood watchmen could kill in a decade?

We are our own plague. The “thugs” we strive to be are the rats which carry the fleas and we are simply disposing of our dead in our own reservoirs to perpetuate our own failings and inevitably to keep us down. We made so many strides over the mid 1900’s till today, and look at us now? Dr. King would be ashamed of us all watching the chaos in Ferguson. Rev. Al and Director Spike are bathing in it and turning on the tap to keep it flowing.
Call me a Cosby. Uncle this, Uncle that, whatever hateful slurs you want to throw at me because I don’t buy into your automatic hatred and excuses for acting like a criminal and rioting when you are treated like one. Black people, we have to evolve. When are we going to realize that WE are our own worst enemy? The “man” holding us down stopped being the white man years ago, it’s us. Grow up.

 

Image credited to: http://www.stltoday.com/gallery/news/multimedia/scenes-from-looting-in-ferguson/collection_be35e468-a67c-5b30-84ba-50a7384dfd62.html#4

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