Friday, November 06, 2009

Does Durham feel inferior? Research reveals just the opposite!

It isn’t uncommon for non-residents working in Durham to lecture residents that they shouldn’t feel inferior. And why is it non-residents applaud and Durham residents look puzzled?

Ahhhh?…cause we Durhamsters don’t – thank you very much! Never, ever mistake being unpretentious but fiercely protective of our community as feeling inferior!

Scientific surveys shows that over at least the 15 years since measurement began, Durham residents feel anything but inferior. They have high levels of positive image and pride in their community as much as 2 ½ times the norm in other places.

So why the presumably well-intentioned if more than a bit condescending public comments? The answer may be that with three in five jobs in Durham held by non-residents it may be hard to differentiate what residents truly think and feel about their community from what those who don’t live here, including many in the news media, may infer.

It could be that Durham’s refusal to be wronged or be a victim to persecution by the 10-15% of residents of nearby communities who are negative or extremely negative about Durham, is greatly misinterpreted.

But it is possible the “shoe is actually on the wrong foot.” It is more likely that feelings of inferiority are driving those who “bully,” and Durham-bashing ranks as a form of bullying. It is also possible inferiority fuels the frequent misattribution of Durham-based assets.

Maybe those who lecture Durham residents should direct their advice to those doing the bullying? For years, it has been pointed out that this small but potent group of negativists are giving the entire Triangle a “black-eye” with unsuspecting but vulnerable newcomers.

But even if it makes some people uncomfortable, Durham residents are going to stand up to injustice. It is just part of the overarching Durham personality and character. But don’t mistake this as feeling inferior.

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