Friday, August 19, 2005

Cheap shot

It took a while for a July 24th Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News column disparaging Durham’s ranking as a top place to live to make it to my desk. The writer claimed not to disparage Durham, but both her column and the headline did just that.

The column was disturbing and probably intended to be, not because of what appears to be the condescending tone of the writing or the disappointment that Wilmington wasn’t on the list. It was disturbing because unlike other segments of the column, no apparent rationale for the condescension was provided, just insinuation and stereotype.

Durham residents appear quite pleased with Wilmington as a place to visit, and Wilmington residents come here in droves: if not for festivals and entertainment, then for conventions or to marvel at Research Triangle Park; if not for sports events, then for healthcare and shopping.

If informed, the writer shouldn’t have been surprised by Durham’s accolade. It’s one of many received in the past decade, both as an individual community and as a key component of the Triangle as a "Family of Communities."

Durham residents by a ratio of 8 to 1 are fiercely and justifiably proud of this community, possibly more than any community in the state. Durham is also a bit populist; never focused much on emulating other communities, but instead proud of its diversity and determined to stand on its own merits rather than pushing itself up by putting other places down.

Maybe all communities will be better places to live with more intolerance for condescension, stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination.

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