There is a lot of discussion in the media about the use of the term 'thug.' Some say it is the new n-word. They say it implies 'young black males' so therefore it is discriminatory and prejudiced to use the term when calling out violent 'protesters' who are trashing Baltimore.
The Mayor of Baltimore has apologized because she says she spoke in generalities when she used the word to describe the people who were burning cars and breaking into stores to loot merchandise. Indeed the President also called the violent people thugs, and said they are 'not protesters' but agitators who are anti-productive.
As a side note, this kind of violence occurred in Seattle a few years ago, when the violent protests were about transnational banking and the 'Wall Street' protesters were made up of all races. So the idea that Baltimore's thugs are inherently black, and therefore exempt from contempt is ludicrous.
I find it interesting that when the country is confronted with such ugliness, the destruction of neighborhoods, of innocent citizens private property, and the wanton use of violence to incite more violence, many 'social leaders' divert the attention away from the criminal element to the use of language. It is a classic strategy to change the subject when your position is indefensible.
It is indefensible to support ANYONE who commits violent crimes, FOR ANY REASON! It is no different than suggesting that the Nazis had some good reasons for MURDERING six million people during the holocaust.
Take a look at North Korea, or China or Cuba. They are the totalitarian government versions, but the people involved in the Baltimore violence are the angry, disenfranchised, subversive anti-establishment version of the same mentality. They mask their antisocial behavior with complaints about disillusionment, poverty, homelessness, police brutality, abandonment and political corruption, all issues that have some element of truth and social injustice. But all subversive movements use the same moral high ground to justify their self destructiveness, their community reign of terror, and their demand for complete social upheaval and wealth redistribution.
I would suggest that the media is complicit in this travesty of the perversion of the language. It is EXACTLY what George Orwell predicted, that at some point, forces of repression would co opt the language to, in effect, rewrite history to fit their template. In an effort to recruit and to create an atmosphere of anger and fear, repressive regimes, or in this case, subversive elements, they need to redirect political discourse in order to frame their grievances and anger as something noble.
Watching TV talking heads engage in 'legitimate' discussions with people who do not use the language properly, is giving them credibility. It is allowing them to control the discussion to the degree that rationale intercourse cannot happen. When a fiery, angry, and irrational 'spokesperson' tries to use such tactics, the interviewer needs to draw the line: either you are going to speak in accepted terms, with respect for opposing views, and with the intent of informing people and not just beating people over the head with distorted and inaccurate language, or you are going to be talking with yourself!
It is no different than letting someone stand up in a theatre and start screaming unintelligible hate language denying the rights of those who have paid for admission to watch the show. Or to let a mentally ill person to interrupt a classroom, or a court session. When legitimate social intercourse is happening, especially when the community is under attack, those citizens who simply cannot (or will not) control themselves MUST be excluded from the discussion if we really want to be constructive.
This is exactly the conundrum we are faced with: the language is redefining the reality, and the diametrically opposed descriptions of the same word cannot lead to a better understanding. Precisely what Orwell warned us about.
No matter how you define them, one thing's for sure: thugs are double ugly.