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gen·tle·man

- a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man

thug

- a tough and violent man, esp a criminal

A gentleman-thug is a man that has achieved a healthy blend of the elements associated with being a gentleman and the elements associated with being a thug. Generally speaking, gentleman-thugs are created in an urban environment. This does not excluded other men from possessing and/or striving to achieve some of the characteristics of a gentleman-thug, but inner-city and urban areas have a unique mix of factors that help to create what we refer to as a gentleman-thug.

A gentleman-thug is a civilized man. Not only is he a civilized man but he knows how to be civil in high-tension situation and has the self-awareness to know when his civility is nearing a breaking point. Self-awareness is important because beneath the civility of the gentleman-thug, lies an element of violence.  The gentleman-thug has the discernment to recognize when it is time for civility to give way to a more aggressive disposition.

A gentleman-thug is an educated man. This education can be achieved through traditional methods like normal schooling  and college or it can be acquired by reading and studying, or any way that increases a man’s knowledge.  A gentleman-thug should be educated enough to feel comfortable having a conversation with any one, on any level. A gentleman-thug also possess a great deal of ‘street’ knowledge and can easily move through the ‘hood’. Recognizing how things work, on a ‘street-level’, allows the gentleman-thug to easily adapt to any group of people, from corporate professionals to street-corner hustlers.

A gentleman-thug is an a sensitive man. He has a sensitive side that he is not ashamed of or too macho to reveal. He also understands and recognizes the people and the situations that require his sensitivity. To sum it up, a gentleman-thug knows that it is o.k. for a man to cry, but understands that every occasion that tears are ‘felt’, is not always an appropriate time to burst out in tears.

A gentleman-thug is a well-mannered man. He understands how to communicate with different people and understands the basic tenants of etiquette. This does not mean that the gentleman-thug is a model of proper etiquette but he has enough of a mastery that he can interact with people in a variety of social settings and not seem ignorant.

A gentleman-thug has some toughness about him. This doesn’t mean that he is some kind of ‘superman’ or ultra-macho type, but he is mentally and physically tough. The gentleman-thug does not wear his feelings on his sleeves, so to speak. He is not the cry-baby or whiny kind of guy. The gentleman-thug does not go out of his way to prove how tough he is, but it becomes evident when situations arise that require a measure of toughness.

A gentleman-thug is loyal to friends and family. He values tried and proven relationships. There is a high level of loyalty for those that he considers a friend and his family. This loyalty is very important to a gentlemen-thug because it strengthens relationships and builds a strong ‘network’ of friends and family.

Lastly, a gentleman-thug operates by a ‘code-of-ethics’. This code is an unwritten code that can only be learned by experience and interaction with people. Some people call it ‘street-code’. “Street-code” is a collection of guidelines, social etiquette and practices that should govern how you behave.The rules have been established and are enforced mainly by the street-oriented, but on the streets the distinction between street and decent is often irrelevant; everybody knows that if the rules are violated, there are penalties. Knowledge of the code is thus largely defensive; it is literally necessary to negotiate the inner-city environment1. For example, if you and I commit a crime together; it is breaking the code for me to go and tell the police on you (snitching). We were both willing and committed the crime. We both knew the risks. If I get caught, I don’t tell on you and bring you down too. In doing so, I have broken a code. “Street-code” is ultimately about honor (like honor among thieves) and respect–loosely defined as being treated “right,” or granted the deference one deserves.1

1 http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1994/05/the-code-of-the-streets/6601/

Categories: Life Lessons

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