Favorite

Words, Jan. 26 

"Party down: A look into the thriving weekly urban parties in the River Market ... It's not only a sign of a reinvention for Little Rock's urban nightlife, but also a testament to the tenacity of the events' promoters, whose personalities tend to be as big as the parties they throw."

In my old Random House, urban is an adjective that means "of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town." But the article on "urban nightlife," and the photographs accompanying the article, make clear that urban means more today. To be blunt, which the people who use the word this new-fangled way seldom are, urban is sometimes a synonym for "black."

Sometimes, but not always. Where better to look for the meaning of urban than the on-line Urban Dictionary, compiled by many contributors, one of whom says the word urban "is exploited by corporations such as MTV to refer to black music/culture, without mentioning race." Another says urban is "a marketing term used to hide the fact they are focusing on a racial group." Other contributions:

"City style is largely driven by blacks, and thus 'urban style' often refers to black urban style. ... Thus, indirectly, 'urban culture' implies black culture in certain contexts."

"As a musical term, urban means 'emerging and developing in densely populated areas of large cities, especially those populated by people of African or Caribbean origin.' "

If you mean "black," why not just say "black"? I'm reminded of the sportswriters who, in commenting on the superiority of Southeastern Conference football, for example, go to great lengths to avoid referring to black players. I'm not sure whether this reluctance to mention race directly is good or bad for race relations.


The Queen's English:

"Many old people with disabilities will stop receiving home visits from carers. Poor families will lose subsidised child care." From a British publication, of course. Americans would say "caregivers," and put a z in "subsidized."

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Viewed

  • Storm president

    It's undeniable that President Trump's public approval has improved since the moment Hurricane Harvey came ashore in Texas the last week of August; polls showed his popularity up by approximately 2 points.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • Can't afford to gut ACA

    The Affordable Care Act was passed into law with the promise that it would make insurance affordable. Because of bipartisan leadership in Arkansas, we continue to strive to achieve that goal. While rhetoric abounds, it is important to understand the Arkansas experience.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • I am very glad to see a lot of women running for government positions in…

    • on September 19, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Since Hillary's book has come out, the Hillary Bashers have starting ranting again. My thoughts:…

    • on September 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation