KITOSSA: ‘Thugs’ is a race-code word that fuels anti-Black racism

Tamari Kitossa, Associate Professor of Sociology at Brock University, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about the use of racist law-and-order words.

Kitossa writes:

Toronto has seen a stark rise in gun violence and homicides this year. The numbers raise questions about responses to violence by politicians in Canada’s largest city.

Mayor John Tory, who seems poised to coast to re-election on Oct. 22, is morally outraged. His knee-jerk response to the violence this summer, however, led him to call young African-Canadian men “thugs” and “sewer rats.” Tory also used terms such as “profoundly anti-social,” and “gangsters” in reference to specific acts of gun violence.

City councillor Giorgio Mammoliti shortly followed suit. The representative for Ward 7 (the Jane-Finch area) called young Black men in his ward “criminals” and “cockroaches” who must be “sprayed.”

Racist law-and-order words like “thugs” are used to justify state-sanctioned violence. With Toronto in mind, it is necessary to decode how racist slurs like the n-word have been replaced with crime-based terminology like “thugs” to justify anti-Black occupation-style policing.

Continue reading the full article here.

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