Vocabulary Mondays – thug

Photo taken from:  http://www.columbia.edu
Photo taken from: http://www.columbia.edu

It seems the negative word thug is always used to misrepresent the entire African American, Negro, or black communities. Honestly, people who distort racial integrity by misguiding readers, viewers, and listeners are worse than those they are writing or talking about.  Such viewpoints are transparent as they are criminal acts of spreading hate.

As a humanitarian I find hate served on any platform detestable and a waste of time.  So, therefore, today my vocabulary word is “thug” because I object to the ignorance of those that use it improperly.  And it is such ignorance that keeps hate alive.  And in keeping hate alive it becomes an avenue for exploitation by discriminatory acts when negative words are used to describe others by race, age, disability, ethnic, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and etc. Despite the worlds gratifying social exposure of discovering people are people, a pocket of people continue hate cycles for the sake of personal gain.

Word:  thug

Part of Speech:  noun

Meaning(s):

  1. a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
  2. (sometimes initial capital letter) one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims.

Origin and History:

Last night I watched a History Channel special on the movie series Indiana Jones. The purpose of the show was to separate fact from fiction as it relates to the movie. While watching the show I was introduced to origin of the word “Thug”. When you think of a thug what image comes to mind? Is it a Black or Brown man? Is he iced out with diamonds and wearing baggy pants? Most people think of a thug as living in a poverty stricken urban area ( Ghetto) in the United states. The origin of the word “Thug” couldn’t be farther from its present meaning. The word Thug originates from an 800 year old cult called Thuggee in India. Thuggee were known for befriending travelers and killing them with the ultimate intention of robbing them. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this cult is responsible for the death of 2 million unsuspecting travelers.

So the question arises, ” How did we get from Thuggee to thug?” The Indian Cult and its practices were popularized and introduced to main stream Western Culture through books such as Confessions of a Thug by Philip Meadows Taylor (1839). Thuggee was also popularized by British Culture as Great Britain Ruled India from 1858 to 1947. In a way it bothers me that such a negative word like thug is largely associated with Blacks when it should be associated with Indians. How is it that we get the bad rap when they’ve been “thuggin” for 800 years! If we’re going to play the name game then we need to call prostitutes Geisha Girls! If there are any words that you can think of that are unfairly associated with your or someone else’s culture, please feel free to comment.
Ya Basta,
Malcolm