Tell The History Of Now
The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University community since 1890

Going to town

The widespread usage of

Townie. We have all heard the term as students of the University, and many of us have even used the term. What remains to be seen is how many students have taken the time to analyze the true meaning, context, and weight behind the term that is used so casually. It is important especially in light of the racial incident that happened April 15th when one discusses UJC offering a provision for the usage of racial slurs. A myriad of terms are not dignified as racial slurs but are just as offensive, such as referring to those of Middle Eastern decent as terrorists or using gay as a term in attempts to demean someone or something. "Townie" carries the same sort of demeaning context with it, and should not be ignored.

First, one must analyze the definition of townie. A townie by definition is "a resident in a college town, rather than a student". As noted by that definition, a townie can also include a college professor because they live in the Charlottesville area. But University students do not refer to their professors as townies. Other definitions have gone further to exemplify "residents of a college town not affiliated with the college". This definition has gone further to label who a townie is and excludes the college professor but does not explain how the University labor force is referred to as townies.\nThe disparity offered by the two definitions helps to gain insight for how University students utilize the term townie. Townie embeds within itself a racial and socioeconomic context. There is no way for a University student to know who is a member of the University and who is not a member unless they check IDs or are evaluating based off of socioeconomic status which often times encompasses race. There is no reason why a member of the Charlottesville community cannot wear polo shirts and khaki pants and pass as a University student. In addition, if a Charlottesville resident is an elite businessman they are also not classified as a townie because they conformed with the gentrified image of the University. If a Charlottesville resident passes as a University student then they can escape the term townie.

Ty Cooper, a resident of Charlottesville and owner of Eco-Drycleaners, offered a statement. "Uva student[s] calling Charlottesville residents "townies" further adds to high tension which is a result of validated segregation. [