Tuesday, June 16, 2015


The "black thug" is a mass media construction, and it is one of which everyone is aware. We see the concept relentlessly promoted in popular music, on television, and in movies. We see it pushed on news programming, local and national. We see it pushed in the fashion industry, giving street cred to corporate products. The "black thug" is EVERYWHERE regardless of whether there are any actual black people there or not. It looms powerfully in the nation's consciousness.

It's why there are sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, which are the exact same substance, with the only difference being the color of the people who use it. The "black thug" makes white people nervous in black neighborhoods. Hell, the "black thug" makes some black people nervous in black neighborhoods!

But he doesn't really exist.

I mean, yeah, there are black criminals, just as there are white criminals. But black criminals are represented by a powerful and omnipresent cultural icon; there is no corollary for whites. We're all in on this. We all buy into the image of the "black thug" to greater and lesser extents.

It's probably the main reason so many white people have bought this "black mob" nonsense in McKinney. Racism is not a switch one can just flip on and off. It ends up being wired into our brains in extraordinarily problematic ways.