Did Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York really just refer to the members of the gentlemen’s motorbike enthusiast club that recently had an unfortunate altercation in Waco, Texas, as “thugs”?
We’re so confused. No less of an authority than Roots drummer Questlove declared after the Baltimore riots that the word “thug” is racist code. Geraldo Rivera eventually reached the same conclusion, declaring it was time to retire the “T” word. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake used the word “thugs” in frustration and anger to describe the rioters who terrorized her city but later recanted, properly calling them “misguided young people.” President Obama? He still hasn’t commented on his own use of the racist code word in connection with the Baltimore riots.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post decided to illustrate its piece on “White bikers, black thugs” with a unrelated photo of Sarah Palin at a charity biker event. Travel back to 2013 and even the ultra-liberal Mother Jones ran a headline about President Obama’s “thug side.”
That headline didn’t last long, though; Kevin Drum explained that, of course, the Tea Party made him do it:
UPDATE: The original headline of this post was “Obama Finally Shows His Chicago Thug Side for Real.” This was obviously a nod to the endless tea party invocations of Obama as a Chicago thug, but it’s been taken by many as a racial dog whistle. I apologize for that, since it certainly wasn’t my intent.
Sorry, we missed this next bit of televised erudition.
For whatever reason, some are desperate that the thug biker gangs who killed nine in a shootout in Waco, Texas, be branded as thugs. Twitchy has been happy to oblige and call these thugs thugs. Rep. Jeffries, do yourself a favor and read Twitchy regularly for all the justified outrage you require. And whatever you do, don’t rely on this guy and his network for your news: