Euphemism alert!

Maybe Eric Holder wasn't wrong when he called us a nation of cowards when it comes to discussing race. Certainly, that is evident in coverage of an annual gathering of young blacks in Miami Beach, called "Urban Beach Week." It is necessary for journalists writing about race to deploy euphemisms to avoid stating the plain truth, writing in code, so as to avoid being accused of racism (by people who find themselves generally in agreement with Eric Holder).

See for example this from NBC 6 Miami, written by Eric Litz:

Thirteen years after it began, Urban Beach Week is back again in full force this weekend.

Tens of thousands of revelers will flock to Miami Beach beginning Friday for the annual giant block party.

Some businesses aren't interested in the massive influx of partiers. Others accommodate the crowds, like Adrian Gonzalez, owner of David's Cafe on Collins Avenue in the heart of the entertainment district.

Miami Beach Police Ready for Urban Beach Weekend

"It's a good weekend for us, we have to adjust with a different crowd that comes into Miami Beach, our local crowd is like ants, they scatter out of Miami," said Gonzalez.

Urban beach week's reputation of rough crowds and run-ins with police has waned since the inaugural event back in 2000. 

I don't fault Mr. Litz for never mentioning any particular racial group. He probably wants to keep his job, his friends, his social contacts, and avoid the deadly label of racist. So he writes in code.

His piece serves as a warning that parts of the city of Miami Beach may see violence because young black males are gathering there.  That is the essence of it. Deploying a man with a Hispanic name to give the message that people are scattering "like ants" provides an extra layer of insulation. That's a lot more sensitive than writing, "Run for your lives! Young black males are coming!" but it serves the same purpose. Casting the "reputation" (not the journalist's view, certainly) of the event in negative terms heightens the warning, though the reassurance that it is "waning" also puts a positive note on what otherwise could be seen as a negative characterization of black people. Even though he next reports that there was a deadly shooting in 2011.

There is not one mention of race in the piece, even though that clearly is the heart of the story. The code word "urban" is understood by at least 90% of the adult population to mean black in this context. Nobody is fooled by this obligatory dance with the truth.

It is all really quite laughable, this walking on eggshells. It puts the lie to any claim that mainstream journalism is about telling the truth.

The dishonesty about social pathologies only makes them worse. 

Hat tip: David Pualin

If you experience technical problems, please write to