White Couple Behind ‘Thug Kitchen’: You Don’t Get to Redefine the Word ‘Thug’

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  • Stacy Adkins

    The origin of the word “thug” is HINDI, people! It referred to a sect of hindus that worshipped the goddess Kali and were robbing and strangling people (mainly tourists). And at the turn of the century was even associated with Italian and Irish gangsters… It just means “criminal”.
    It seems pretty ironic to me that certain people find it racist when referred to as “thugs” by the media, but when a white person calls themselves a “thug” they are up in arms because they feel that they somehow “own” the moniker?! Mixed signals, anyone?

    No ONE owns exclusive rights to the liberal use of profanity and humour.

    Perhaps the guys in state prisons should be more offended?

    Yeah, I’m a white girl. I also cuss like a sailor! (Oops! I’m not really a sailor).

    • The origin of the word has literally nothing to do with how it is used in the US today. Colloquialisms change meaning and have varying levels of impact depending on the intention and goals of those using them.

      At no point in the ENTIRE piece do I say anything about “own” -ing the word (you put that in quotes as if I said that. I didn’t). People of color don’t own the word. But, it is frequently used to justify aggression towards our various communities. And, you don’t have to be in a state prison to be deemed a thug. I have been called a thug. So has my husband. We are graduates of top tier universities. Actual criminal behavior has nothing to do with the word.

      But, from your spelling of “humour” it seems you might not even be from America so what exactly would you understand about American racism anyway?

      • Stacy Adkins

        As a woman of Native American and Irish descent I get to do what I want, though, right? As in~ Use the proper spelling of the word “humour”. That’s a word you should get a grip on.
        And the origin of the word does, LITERALLY, have everything to do with the usage. Great “piece” you wrote. It made for an educational opportunity.

        • The fact that you classify the Middle English spelling of the word “the proper spelling” is telling. I guess, in that case, the history of the word matters in terms of our interpretation of the word’s spelling. However, it seems we completely agree on the meaning. And, the word ‘thug’ is not humorous. It’s not a joke. It gets black and brown people killed everyday. You should get a grip on that.

          What is also telling is that you self-identified as white then later called up Irish (white) and Native heritage to give you rights to “own” the discourse on racism with a black woman. This is literally the definition of white privilege.

          Entering the space of (predominantly) black and brown people, undermining any arguments made, then derailing by bringing up straw men (like saying I said a group “owns” a word when I never did), and subsequently demanding your right to the conversation because you would like to pull your “race card” in this space where it is interpersonally beneficial for you is exactly why black and brown people lack spaces for such dialogue. You don’t get to “Columbus” this conversation. It isn’t here for you to hijack.

          Let me do you a favor and tell you goodbye now so you don’t have to contort yourself further to demand my attention.

          • Sarah Miller

            I’m a white English vegan (with Irish family) and I find two affluent white people writing in the style and idiom of street slang, peppered with expletives, that reenforces negative black stereotypes deeply offensive and racist. It also does nothing for the credibility of the vegan diet and lifestyle they are trying to promote. I found them and their perky ignorance truly awful and can’t understand how anyone would find them otherwise. I hope nobody buys their book and that their lack of authenticity and integrity will be the demise of their website. I find the fact that they are too stupid (or arrogant) to realise why what they are doing is offensive truly incredible and I just hope it doesn’t put people off veganism altogether.

          • Thanks for sharing Sarah. I think you make important points about how their actions reflect poorly on those who support and practice a vegan diet. Thanks for commenting!

        • Ches A

          Now you resort to the I am a person colour too get of jail card. As a black british woman I have met many many asian who are equally bigoted and anti black siding with white racists as they think lighter skin and straight hair makes them somehow more white/less negro. It is interested that you so far have proved every stereotype lol. When are you gonna post you have black friends?

      • Stacy Adkins

        Can I call myself a bitch? Or do you “own” that, too?

        • Voice of reason

          You can call yourself a female dog all day, but why would you?

          Do you honestly think blacks want to own the word thug? What we’ve been trying to tell not only you, but others is that the word has been used to slander young black men, but I think you know this. A simple Google search is all it takes. Hint: Thug and Trayvon Martin will bring up a number of articles, both against using the word and also some right wing sites that use the word like water.

          Ever since Amos ‘Andy, some whites have used either an exaggerated dialect or vernacular to mock blacks, or they’ve gone with straight blackface.

          Taking on the “voice” of another culture is as old as hell in America. Back in 1923, The Daughters of the Confederacy tried to get a Mammy Monument on our nation’s capital. One way they spread the word was to do readings as black “Mammies”.

          And going back to Amos ‘n Andy, they had a radio show in the late 1920s when segregation was the norm. Some whites swore they were black, until it was known that they were two white men. They then became spokesmen for several products using their “black” persona, using blackface to complete their transformation.

          Its so much more than the word “thug” which by the way, was all over the news in 2012, as the author of the blog post states. Geraldo Rivera’s labeling of Trayvon Martin dressing like a “thug” back in May of that same year was all over the news, because members of the Miami heat showed their support by a group picture of the players wearing hoodies.

          So when creators of thug kitchen decided on the name and the “attitude” they simply revealed themselves to be not only flippantly ignorant of recent events but poster children for entitlement.

          In short, using blacks for stereotypical humor to sell products in nothing new. We’ve got remnants in the grocery stores like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s Rice.

          However, both these products have undergone massive changes over the years. So consider this a teachable moment. There’s a digital trail and date stamps that show the couple were not only evasive about their identity (stipulating only email interviews) while continuing with the imaginary “Thug” persona to build their “brand”.

          Now the masquerade is over.

          • Couldn’t have summed it up better myself. Welcome to the Water Cooler:)

          • Voice of reason


            And thank you for all your great points. Please keep it up, because people need to know this.

        • Ches A

          You are just an insensitive idiot FYI when black and brown people are called thugs that moniker makes it is ok to KILL THEM imprison them for life. The word thug is not a fun term for us. Your type of racism (and i know you like to think you are not a racist) is the equally offensive/damaging form the Iggy Azalea type racism that I encountered a lot growing up in the UK. You dismiss the lived experiences of black people and when challenged instead of reflection and learning you attempt to trivialise and rubbish the person criticising you and then get even more upset than the person of colour. As a white person you want to define what racism is and how people of colour experiences it. Don’t post here we see you for who you really

      • Wlalkskk Thosomomm Frlahslm

        For us, ‘thug’ means violent, dangerous, abusive, criminal, angry, aggressive, and worthless.

        You specifically give your/the us definition…..disqualifying theirs or virtually anyone else’s definition (since you included no other). Who owns the word thug now btw? I only ask since white culture is trying to “reclaim” it. See, I quote you there cause you said in the previous sentence a description regarding the white puerile blah blah blah then the reclaiming bit…..

  • Kim Armstead

    O MY GOSH!!! The point is to TRY VEGAN COOKING!!! Try some of the recipes. The language does appeal to ALOT of people. Throwing meat and meat products OUT OF YOUR LIFE and taking up a plant based lifestyle could save your life. Don’t get hung up on bs…listen to the message and then try the food.

    • Voice of reason

      Sorry, there was far too much “blackface” used for me to stomach the recipes, which some have already given a thumbs down, regardless of the controversy.

      Maybe you should realize that you’ve just put your stamp of approval on a group of people who are this generation’s Amos ‘n Andy.

      Their blog posts are dripping with phrases like “naw, son I don’t play that.” “mad expensive” “cray” “like a boss” “right there, kid” “with a quickness” and “dope” (if I have to explain why “dope” is a dead giveaway . . . ) these are just a few of the printable quotes. Unfortunately for the “Thugs” their blog posts are not only what helped them succeed but they’ll probably also be the reason for their downfall.

      And exclamation marks do nothing to make your points. Very bad etiquette regarding internet speak. Make sure you tell your kids which side of history you were on after all this is but a memory.

  • Chuck Kinsey

    There is nothing socially positive about being or calling oneself a “thug.” It is as stupid as using racial, sexual or gender epithets.

  • Liane Blanco

    Lighten up, Francis. The word does not mean “black person”, and although many right wing racists might use it in that context, that is not so in this case. And the food is awesome!