The collision of college and home life doesn’t happen in the same place for the majority of students. At Miami, there’s a quiet minority of people that have called Oxford home for longer than it takes to get a Ph.D.
They are the “townies.”
I imagine a lot of people on campus have heard the term sometime in conversation. To me, the slang simply describes the people from the area. To others, townies specifically, it’s a harsh reminder that they’re mere steps away from their home soil.
This makes sense, considering how, when I ask fellow Talawanda graduates how college is going, a common reply is: “My least favorite part is saying where I’m from.”
This is not from a dislike for Oxford or the surrounding area — it’s because of how people react.
You would think that the people of Oxford have a hard time accepting the students, but somehow, it’s the other way around more often than not. Yes, Oxford is better without the students bumbling around, but the citizens don’t dismiss the students with hatred from August to May. Unless you read Oxford Talk too much.
The citizens of Oxford are the only ones that can see the beauty of no waiting lines, quicker commuting times and a seemingly infinite number of open parking spots. Couple that with the lower amounts of trash floating around in the wind and more space to breathe — and you get an oasis.
But, somehow, the students have trouble mingling with the townies. You know, in our town. Where we live year-round.
But this is not to say that I think “townie” is a bad term. I think that it’s extremely funny. Call me a townie, and I’ll laugh. You’re insulting where I’m from. Big whoop. Try again, maybe with more heart this time.
There are stories about other locals reacting differently. “Townie” has been called a slur, people have lost friends over the word and there have even been brawls stemming from townie slander.
One story I’ve been told involves someone yelling “Whose town is this?” followed quickly by a flurry of fists. I can’t imagine something like that happening today, but when I tell townies the story, they often take it as a good idea.
When the next big townie vs. student fight happens, I will promptly delete this article and write out apologies for all of those affected. That is, of course, if I’m not the one behind the fist.
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I can’t imagine calling something so trivial and humorous as “townie” a slur. If that’s the most hurtful thing you can be called, you’re more privileged than the vast majority of Americans. Hell, of humans.
Be proud of where you’re from. And if you’re not proud, just lie. No one is stopping you.