[follow id= “ChristinaFav”]
“I don’t think thug is the new N-word,” Cal Poly senior and NFL player Deonte Williams said. “I just feel like it is a code word in the way the media chooses to use it toward black male athletes.”
On Wednesday, Williams spoke at “The Movement: Is ‘Thug’ The New N-Word?,” an event hosted by the Cross Cultural Centers. The discussion focused on the use of word “thug” in response to Richard Sherman’s post-NFC Championship rant.
“I heard about Richard Sherman’s situation and I was like, ‘Man, that was very similar to my upcoming,’” Williams said.
Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, is a Stanford graduate with a successful career. However, his now infamous post-game interview has taken a toll on his public perception.
As a black male athlete, Williams says he’s made it his duty to change people’s perceptions at Cal Poly. When he came to San Luis Obispo, he had a gold grill and dreadlocks.
“Walking around campus here at Cal Poly, not going to lie, I felt like I was a UFO,” Williams said.
Less than 1 percent of the student population is black. Cal Poly is currently conducting surveys to improve campus diversity.
Sociology senior Shane Redmond attended the discussion.
“Cal Poly always says ‘Learn By Doing,’ and we want to get you ready for the world,” Redmond said. ”How are you supposed to be ready for the world when you only interact with people who look like you and talk like you?”
Redmond said his education would be improved if the student population was more diverse. Events like these are the first step in making that happen, he said.
“To see people getting together and try to understand what’s going on,” Redmond said, “I think it needs to happen a lot more.”