The language that has been used to shape the story of passionate Baltimore protestors has proved to be an offensive display of what the world thinks of them and honestly all Black people. During a press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said these damning words:
“I’m a lifelong resident of Baltimore and too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for. Tearing down businesses.
Tearing down and destroying property, things that we know will impact our community for years. We are deploying every resource possible to gain control of the situation and to ensure peace moving forward.”
Language is a powerful tool and in the case of someone in Blake’s position using “thugs” and even President Obama uttering the four letter trigger word, we’re left wondering if they even understand that words like “animals,” “thugs” and more are often used by the people who criticize us most (read: White people), as they try without much effort to disguise their racist views.
Let’s not pretend that we’re not aware that when these words are used, they’re more often than not a substitute for “n*gger.”While it hurts to have Black people subscribing to these same trigger words, it’s not a surprise. We’re a country built on White supremacy and Black oppression and no matter how many Black people climb out of the pit and step onto a major platform of wealth, acceptance or power, we’re still Black in America, which means we’re just a moving target.
Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes lost his cool on CNN and exasperatedly exclaimed, “Just call them n*ggers!” when the anchor, Erin Burnett mentioned that poisonous word, “thug.”
It’s people like Marc Lamont Hill who use their voice to change the narrative of what’s happening in Baltimore. He appeared on CNN and called the riots an “uprising” and urged viewers to do the same. “I’m calling these uprisings and I think it’s an important distinction to make. This is not a riot. There have been uprisings in major cities and smaller cities around this country for the last year because of the violence against Black female and male bodies forever and I think that’s what important here,” Hill said. This is important and we only hope that people take more responsibility for words that come out of their mouths.
“Thug” is not the only “safe” word the majority uses to label passionate Black protestors. Check out these other words that are constantly thrown around, hiding in plain site. We know what you mean:
What are some of the disguised words you’ve been hearing about the people of Baltimore who are fighting to be heard? Sound off in the comments below.