Monday, March 11, 2013

The Daily Tar Heal blames Chapel Hill crime on Durham

Outrage is a wonderful gift. It reminds us that not everyone has antiquated views regarding those living on the other side of the tracks.  For those who missed the ride to life after whistling Dixie, not all black men own guns, rob people, have children by multiple women and have spent half their lives in prison.

It’s simply not true.  For those unable to see beyond a person’s dark tan, it may help to stop watching Fox News.  I’m just saying.  It would help to consider an alternative source.

As a black dude living in America, I’ve learned not to allow silly stuff to get under my skin.  Sweet Brown says it best. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I can take it when folks throw a few stones at me.  Tough skin comes with the territory, but when a person starts throwing wolf tickets at my home town; it’s time for a beat down.  Yes, I’m willing to stomp anyone who talks smack about Durham.

I can forgive youth for not understanding the history and context that translate mean words into BS.  From all accounts, Chelsey Dulaney didn’t know any better.  The student at The Daily Tar Heel made the mistake of thinking she was reporting truth by claiming crime in Chapel Hill is due to the bad blood coming from Durham.  In other words, the Chapel Hill police need to do a better job of keeping “those people” from crossing the border.

Sounds like a Negro watch to me.  Can someone say racial profiling?  It’s that type of rhetoric that has served to fracture Durham’s reputation as the star among the Triangles three cities.  Some call it player hating.  It’s the game of throwing stones to draw attention away from the one who gets more attention.  I get it.  I can’t blame Dulaney from being misinformed.  At the root of it all is something deeper. 

They can’t help but be jealous.

Who wouldn’t be? Durham is the star among the rest.  The truth is it’s not even close.  Durham has garnered national attention for being one of the best places to dine in the South – not Chapel Hill or Raleigh. Durham has the Durham Performing Arts Center, the Nasher and is the home of the Research Triangle Park.  The good things happening East of Chapel Hill are enough to make anyone envious.

So, I can’t blame Dulaney for blaming Durham for what is wrong with Chapel Hill.  Dulaney’s assertion assumes that most who commit crimes in Chapel Hill are from Durham. It fails to show how many of the crimes in Durham are committed by people from Chapel Hill.  The close ties between the communities make it virtually impossible to link crime in Chapel Hill to Durham, or crime in Durham to Chapel Hill. 

At the root of Dulaney’s analysis is assumptions related to race.  If it’s black, it must be Durham.  It’s an absurd notion that fails to acknowledge the black people living in Chapel Hill.  Even more perplexing is how thoughts regarding race and crime can impact strategies for the police – keep black people out of Chapel Hill.

Don’t let them in our city.

The best news is the outrage.  I’m encouraged by the comments made by those living in Chapel Hill.  It’s time to tell the truth about life in the Bull City.  Durham is not a city of thugs and crime.  We are the best the area has to offer. Deal with it!

I do understand the temptation to form assumptions about a community. I could label Chapel Hill a snobbish community of racist who use public policy to keep black people away.  I could argue that high taxes are used to keep certain people from buying property.

The truth is I have no reason to cross the border to go there.  Some of my best friends live in Chapel Hill, but, but…

Sound familiar?

That’s how false assumptions get started.  We’re all the same community folks.  The only thing that changes is the sign to remind us the name of the city has changed.

Thank God for outrage.


  1. Thanks for sharing Carl.

    There is certainly an aura of holiness, as it relates to most Chapel Hill residents and their view of Durham Citizens.

    When I was an undergrad at UNC in the early 2000's I confess to adopting the same philosophies. All I heard, from students, to faculty and community leaders, was to stay away from Durham. I can specifically recall a time when three friends and I had a 'summer dinner rotation.' One friend, a transfer from Wake Forest University, named Mohit Achreja, was terrified when I told the group that I was taking us to Durham for dinner.

    As I became older I learned that Durham was no worse than any other city. I've grown to love the City!

    What stuns me about Chapel Hill folk' is that they refer to Durham as 'hood yet, ironically, can go eat dinner at Mama Dips restaurant, while ignoring the fact that the 'dirty Chapel Hill hood' is right around the next corner. As a student I was solicited for prostitution on several occasions in Chapel Hill, while on main city streets such as Franklin St.

    Every city has classic/historic areas, modern areas, trendy areas and hoods. Durham is no worse than Chapel Hill, by any means. In-fact, civic participation in Durham is far superior and we have far more modern facilities and restaurants than does Chapel Hill.

    And, ironically, more Carolina students, alums and supporters live and work in Durham than do in Chapel Hill. So Chapel Hill should be very thankful for the City of Durham. Without us, they'd be, well, just another little town in North Carolina.