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    #1

    Question How is "urban" related to race?

    Hello,

    The following paragraph is from the news story Is the lame duck driving Congress crazy?

    Rep. Steve King redefines race: The Iowa Republican took to the House floor to decry Congress' decision to pay claims to African-American farmers and American Indians. In the course of his argument, he suggested that the president favors the claim because he is "very, very urban."
    I understand that "urban" means (from the Free Dictionary):

    adj.1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.
    2. Characteristic of the city or city life.


    I am not able to understand why it says "redefines race" in the news.

    Thank you.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    The racial mix in the inner-cities is different than in the suburbs. You'll find more black residents in the cities and fewer in the suburbs. While African-Americans are a minority segment of the American population in general, they are not, for example, in many inner-city neighborhoods or schools, where they outnumber other races.

    At some point in the past couple decades, the word "urban" became a "I am pretending to be polite to hide my prejudices" word for "black."

    As you are probably aware, the issue of race in America is a very contentious one. Be very careful when mentioning race at all, unless there is a good reason to.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 03-Dec-2010 at 00:20.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    The congressman was not attempting to hide his prejudices. He made a blatantly racist comment.
    Last edited by riquecohen; 02-Dec-2010 at 15:15. Reason: revision

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    #4

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    Thank you Barb_D and riquecohen.

    I always find it interesting how people invent/use words that everyone (at least from that region/community) knows what they really mean, but they want to use other (politically correct or inoffensive) words to express them.

    Some examples that come to mind are: Shoot (for the 4-letter 's' word) and Jeez (for Jesus). If everyone knows what the words stand for and the intended meaning behind them, what is the point of using different words other than to sound less prejudiced/sophisticated, etc? I know certain words are considered acceptable in certain environments and certain words are not. As an example, 'shoot' may be acceptable in some places and 'excreta' may be more appropriate in another although they mean the same thing.
    Last edited by Olympian; 03-Dec-2010 at 05:22. Reason: removed repeated words

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    #5

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    I have never heard of this congressman before, so cannot comment on what he said, but you might find this definition offers one explanation for using language in this way in a political context: Dog-whistle politics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    #6

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    Thank you for the link Tdol. Very complex indeed!

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    #7

    Re: How is "urban" related to race?

    Euphemism and delicate language can conceal a lot.

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