CNN’s Ex-Cop Defends Not Calling White Bikers ‘Thugs’ Because ‘This Started With The Black Community’
While discussing the media coverage of the Waco biker shootout over the weekend, CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck told the panel that pundits didn’t call the bikers “thugs” as they did with black rioters in Baltimore because the black community “started it.”
New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who was part of the panel with Houck and columnist Sally Kohn, criticized the media for stereotyping black rioters but not the murderous bikers in Waco.
“This is about a culture that looks at blackness and says that it sounds like a certain thing, it looks like a certain thing,” Blow said.
“I don’t know how you can make a comparison between Waco and Baltimore,” Houck argued. “Are these guys thugs? Yeah, they’re thugs… I use the word thug and I mean ‘bad guy’ when I use the word.”
Houck then asserted that, “I think the word was owned by rappers. They started coming out with songs and calling themselves thugs, and I think that’s how this whole thing started, with the black community and the young men calling themselves thugs, alright? And I think that’s how that all started.”
Blow quickly characterized Houck’s phrase history as “patently inaccurate,” adding, “That word has a long history.”
“Whether or not a word is absorbed into a community in the same way people absorbed the n-word and sometimes gay people absorbed words that were historically used to bash them, and try to rub off the edges of them and absorb it into the culture, to make it less abrasive and hurtful,” Blow explained. “A lot of times, that’s what is happening with the etymology of words.”
Blow added that the greater problem is that media pundits point to the black community as a whole as the problem while no one discusses white crime in the same way.
“Everybody has got to stop and move on from here,” Houck replied. “Forget the past, move on.”
“I don’t want to forget the past,” Blow retorted. “That’s not even a smart thing to say.”
“Whatever happened a thousand years ago, stop!” Houck insisted, forgetting that Jim Crow didn’t end until the 1960s. “Let’s move from here. Come on, you’re a smart man.”
“You’re smarter than what you sound like right now,” Blow countered.