Is using the term “thugs” to describe looters and arsonists racist?
9News’ Kyle Clark seems to think so. “President Donald Trump called the protestors ‘thugs’ on Twitter, we all know what the word ‘thugs’ means when somebody says it like that,” Clark said.
9 News accuses @realDonaldTrump of racism for using the term “THUGS” to describe protestors in Minneapolis
“We all know what it means when someone says it like that”
— gobdin fryer (@GobdinF) May 30, 2020
But UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh points out, “thugs” has historically been used to describe criminals from all ethnic backgrounds. “They are defined not by their skin color, but by what they do,” Volokh wrote.
At the time, Obama’s spokesman defended his boss’ use of the word:
President Obama doesn’t regret using the term “thug” in describing the violent rioters in Baltimore this week, spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “Whether it’s arson or, you know, the looting of a liquor store … those were thuggish acts,” Earnest said. In discussing the riots Tuesday, Obama assailed the “criminals and thugs who tore up the place,” and described them as a distraction from the real issues of police brutality.
So where was Clark’s outrage back then?
And for what it’s worth, President Trump is right, the criminals who looted storefronts, destroyed neighborhoods, and set Minneapolis ablaze are thugs. Implying that the President is somehow racist for accurately using the term isn’t just a double standard from Clark, it’s partisan nonsense.