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Questlove sounds off on Baltimore riots: "Thugs" is a racially coded word

When Baltimore's mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake used the word "thug," she really meant something much different


Colin Gorenstein
April 28, 2015 9:12PM (UTC)

In a Monday press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake condemned those partaking in the violent riots by labeling them "thugs." “I’m a life-long resident of Baltimore," she announced. "... and too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for." Like many people who tuned into this conference or later saw the words transcribed on paper,  The Roots' Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson knew immediately that Rawlings-Blake meant something very different when she used this racially coded word. He went on Twitter to help others crack the code with the hashtag #KnowTheCode.

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He followed that up with a note on justice, before signing off for the night in a huff.

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Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email cgorenstein@salon.com.

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