By Stephen Prosper. Stephen, age 31, studies at the University of North Texas at Dallas. He likes to write and tutor in his spare time. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

The acronym THUGLIFE was created by Tupac back in the early 1990s to express that The Hate U Give Little Infants comes back on society in the worst way (to be a little less profane than he was). Meaning, when you portray hate to people, they raise their children to function in a society with a curved thought process towards the people who have hated them. In America, I was raised to be cautious towards white people and policemen. This was not because of the authority policemen hold or that white people outnumber any other ethnicity in this country, it was because of the way minorities have been treated with such hatred throughout the history of America. Many people my age have a lot of disdain towards those two groups of people because of the hatred and mistreatment issued by people in authority, the stories of Rodney King being beaten by the cops, the war on drugs targeting minorities, the Central Park Five, and even the documentary 13th, shows how minorities have been targeted in America throughout its history with hateful actions.

When people are oppressed, especially with hatred, there is a level of hatred that develops towards the oppressor. In 1958 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stated in his speech, “…hate begets hate…” beget meaning to bring about. What Dr. King meant was, hate only brings about more hate, or violence brings about more violence. When hate is displayed toward a person or a group of people, it becomes generational and the people who have hate put on them teach their children about the hate they have endured. A personal story for me is that my grandfather was beaten and forced to move from his hometown in an altercation like Emmitt Till. The two biggest differences are, my grandfather was an adult and lived, unlike Emmitt Till.

We can also look at instances outside of my country and focus on the Holocaust. The people that were discriminated against because of their faith and ethnicity by the Nazis is one of, if not the, biggest examples of discrimination in the history of the world. During World War II, the Nazi’s placed people of different ethnicity and faith, most notably the Jewish community, into concentration camps and killed many of them with extreme and hateful tactics. United States minorities and the people targeted by the Nazis are raised with a form of disgust for the people who have oppressed and displayed hate towards their ancestors throughout history.

On the other side of the coin, there are descendants of the oppressor who are raised to continue the same behaviour and actions of hate. In the United States the slogan “Make America Great Again” is a rallying cry for those under the belief that past times were great for America. The “greatness” that it speaks of neglects the element of racism and hateful actions sown into the fabric of America from its inception for people of different ethnicities.

The South African Apartheid was an institutional racist system. The powers jailed many who opposed their policies, and this is what Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison for. The Daily Show host, Trevor Noah, mentioned in an interview how he was born during the South African Apartheid and because he was mixed-ethnicities, his grandparents displayed a different behaviour with him in public to avoid the hatred and discrimination black Africans would receive for being around a white African when he was a child. The hate that begets hate, does not have a time limit. Trevor Noah experienced effects from the Apartheid that Nelson Mandela fought against. The only difference between my grandfather’s and Rodney King’s beating is Mr. King was beaten by the cops in the 90s and my grandfather was beaten by random white men in the 30s. Hate breeds hate.

Unfortunately, hate is not exclusively between the oppressed and the oppressor, in many cases, it is the oppressed portraying the same hate to the oppressed. Whether it is the oppressed dislike of self, accepting and displaying the same hate the oppressor uses or making alterations to their own person to fit what is acceptable to the oppressor, it is all hate derived from hate. Whether it is the young man with an article in Medium titled, “I’m a self-hating black man. I’m trying to do better.” Where he speaks about not liking about himself because other black people mocked him for speaking proper (which is associated with speaking like the oppressor in America). That hate displayed upon him was a result of a generation of hate displayed upon the less fortunate and manifested in him as self-hate for not being like others. Or with the same website, that has an article titled, “I Hate That I’m Black. I Hate That I’m Ugly. I Hate My Nose.” Where a young woman, at an early age struggled with the stigma of what is considered beautiful, because of the way beauty is portrayed in the United States. The stereotype of black people is displayed to the masses as negative and in this article, this young lady states that the movie “Black Panther” gave her a sense of acceptance but not beauty. The self-hate that both of those individuals displayed was due to the hate minorities have endured, that makes it to the vehicles of entertainment everyone consumes and is re-enacted in everyday life.

Hate breeds hate. The acronym THUGLIFE is seen on a bigger scale when we manage the social media of children. All the celebrities that have to fit into a certain category in order to “make it” and the majority subscribes to those that they see the most often. As a black man in America, in the past, we had to make two categories for our heroes, famous and white famous. Everyone we saw as our own was not accepted in the public, but there are a few who were so talented that the oppressors enjoyed them too, despite hating their complexion. Not only does hate breed hate, but hate can also become a systemic, mental, historical, societal, and physical detriment to the world from top to bottom.

One comment on “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.

  1. Douglas on

    I enjoyed tour take on a topic that has become very sensitive in the USA. The definition of thuglife was something I learned as it always has a negative connotation to it.


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