As some of you may know, P&C reporter Glenn Smith has a report out on a new Holy City-based website that purports to out Lowcountry gangstas, Charleston Thug Life. While some of the so-called thugs in question may make a living to dealing drugs, the vast majority are likely nothing more than posers.
And while the folks behind the site refused to go public with who they are, it's seriously doubtful that the their motives are truly altruistic in nature. In fact, the entire site reeks of classism and racism, focusing nearly entirely on the residents of the Lowcountry's poor African-Americans neighborhoods.
Charleston Thug Life recently had this to say about charges of racial profiling:
Let us make a point. The reader can do the necessary research (as we have done) to prove we are correct. We made a statement that indicated we weren't targeting black thugs. We stand by that statement, though black thugs are the prevalent subjects on the blog. We have pointed out the white thug associates of some of those featured on the site. White thugs tend to be harder to pin down because we have found they aren't prone to putting their business on the internet, e.g. occupation listing of 'drug dealer' or posing with guns and cash. It doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means they are harder to find.
The other point we would like to make is this. We started this adventure on Carlton Pringle's Facebook Page. We examined the pages of everyone in his friends list. We then examined all of the friends listed on the friends lists of his friends, and kept investigating in that manner. All but two of the subjects profiled can be traced back to Carlton Pringle's friends list. Think of it as a family tree or an organizational chart with Pringle at the top. Interesting, isn't it?
While Charleston Thug Life says that they are not specifically targeting African Americans, the range of their search criteria is extremely narrow (i.e. friends of Carlton Pringle and friends of friends). Make no mistake, the folks at ChasThugLife are looking for a type — the typical poor black gangsta wannabe and their white pretenders. After all, where are the lilly white South of Broad cokeheads and the cracker-ass cracker CofC potheads and the spray tan Mt. P soccer mom pill poppers? None of these folks can be found on Charleston Thug Life. And you have to wonder if the Thug Life gang even went looking.
Even worse from a legal standpoint, the site is festering sore of libel and making an ass-out-of-you-and-me assumptions. (The site's information comes solely from Facebook profiles and posts, not police reports and rap sheets.)
Interestingly, the site isn't the first local website claiming to out area wannabe crime lords. Another, also going by Charleston Thug Life, was previously launched. Although the layout is the same, the purpose and tone are largely the same — albeit with a bit more of in-your-face race baiting.
However, what's most shocking about Charleston Thug Life is not that the Lowcountry is a hot-bed of wannabe gangstarism in the area's impoverished African-American community — or that a website based in a town with plenty of Old South prejudices would draw broad assumptions about a class of people based on the flimsiest of "evidence "— but that so many people set their Facebook privacy settings to "public." Without that, Thug Life would not be able to traffic in its particular brand of classist self-righteousness.