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TV One's Martin: Wall Street 'Thugs' Worse Than Baltimore Rioters

By    |   Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:02 PM

The people behind the 2008 financial collapse caused greater devastation than the people who trashed parts of Baltimore this week, yet the word "thug" is reserved for black rioters and not applied to white bankers, says an African-American newscaster who reported from Baltimore this week.

"Wall Street wreaked more havoc on us than what happened in Baltimore, but we don't want to call them thugs," Roland Martin, of the African-American-themed TV One network, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

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Martin waded into the racially charged debate over the use of "thug" to describe those in Baltimore who torched cars and buildings, pelted police with rocks, and looted storefronts on Monday night. The violence capped a week of otherwise peaceful protests over the death of a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, who had been in police custody and suffered a traumatic spine injury.

The host and managing editor of TV One's morning show, "NewsOne Now," and a senior news analyst for nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, Martin said that a double standard lurks even in the language used to discuss black America — and that black leaders, including President Barack Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, have succumbed to it by denouncing rioters as "thugs."

He said the racially coded vocabulary "actually goes beyond Baltimore."

He cited the different national reactions to two sports-related news stories: an emotional post-game interview by Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks after his team won the Super Bowl in 2014; and University of Kentucky basketball fans rioting off-campus in Lexington this month after their team was defeated in the NCAA tournament.

Sherman is black, and most of the rioters and people arrested in Kentucky were white.

"People, radio talk show hosts, columnists and people in social media were calling Sherman a thug … but when the Kentucky kids were setting cars on fire and destroying property, did we call them thugs or did we say they were 'blowing off steam?'" said Martin.

Martin rejected the counter-argument that thuggery is defined by intent, not race.

"Behavior is the same," he said. "I don't look at intent."

Martin said that looters, arsonists and rock throwers in Baltimore committed "criminal acts," and that if Obama is going to call them thugs he should be an equal-opportunity labeler of thuggery.

"How about the Wall Street cats who looted America?" he asked.

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The people behind the 2008 financial collapse caused greater devastation than the people who trashed parts of Baltimore this week, yet the word "thug" is reserved for black rioters and not applied to white bankers, says an African-American newscaster who reported from Baltimore this week.
baltimore, riots, wall, street, thugs, worse
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2015-02-29
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:02 PM
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