Friday, December 14, 2007


On a flight from Nashville back to Durham a couple of weeks ago, I sat next to a gentleman who was expressing how glad he was to have made it out of Cleveland that morning for a connection. It was snowing as he left, and the plane had to de-ice several times.

He asked where I was headed, and I said, “Durham,” and he said, “oh, Raleigh.” I said, “no, Durham,” and explained that Durham and Raleigh are distinct places that share an airport.

He said, “I know, I’m from Raleigh.” Herein lies a major threat to Durham’s brand. People from Raleigh, my friends, associates and counterparts there excepted, think centrically. Everything is about Raleigh, and they make little room for any place else to have an identity.

Believe me, little of this centrism has to do with “rivalry.” A lot has to do with overreaching references and failure to make distinctions in the news media there. Most has to do with “centric” thinking… kind of “I am the World.”

I’ve not found it as condescending as much as ill-informed.

Now do Durham residents go around assuming everyone near and far goes by the term Durham? Not that I’ve ever witnessed.

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