Posted: 1:09 a.m. Wednesday, March 6, 2013
From time to time, the Daily Tar Heel is an interesting and vital student paper which is a great asset to UNC and Chapel Hill.
This is not one of those times.
We want to start by saying that the writer of this column, Chelsey Dulaney, is a young woman, obviously a student, and we don’t hold her to the same standards we would hold older, professional journalists. She has plenty of time to grow yet.
That said, her recent colum entitled “Durham crime crosses over into Chapel Hill” is relentessly awful.
Consider just the first two paragraphs:
“Durham and Chapel Hill are separated only by a 10-or-so-mile stretch of road.
“There are no fences, no check points, and thousands of people flow in and out of the cities’ border each day without a second thought.”
From there she goes on to discuss the appalling 2008 murder of former UNC Student Body President Eve Carson.
You can pretty much guess the subtext here: Durham is a Very Scary Place full of Dangerous Minorities who prey on the good and virtuous people of Chapel Hill.
Quick, somebody put up a Check Point Charley on 15-501.
Dulaney goes on to say that a full 20% of Chapel Hill crime comes over from much bigger Durham (233,000 to 57,000).
Somehow – we’re not quite sure how she managed this – she failed to mention that a full 80% of crime in Chapel Hill is therefore home grown.
This is a constant irritant between Duke and UNC: despite the assertions from Carolina folk who say that Duke is an elitist school, it’s more the opposite: UNC is the truly elitist school.
Not because of academics; rather, because of the sense of superiority, which at times finds expression in code words.
Take for instance combining crime and Durham. It’s really a way of saying Durham is poorer, blacker, and less worthy. In this regard, Chapel Hill has not changed for 50 years. Probably more.
That’s not the end of it, though. We’ve always felt that the sneering “University of New Jersey in Durham” type cracks were not-so-subtle ways to call (unkind) attention to Duke’s tradition of having a significant Jewish population from New Jersey and New York.
It’s certainly not aimed at people like Brian Zoubek, Kyrie Irving, Lane Thomas and Bobby Hurley, all of whom hail from Jersey.
This is very similar to what annoyed us the other day about Roy Williams calling his team “pansies.”
UNC has always seen itself as North Carolina’s home for liberalism, and there is much to be proud of. UNC integrated in 1955, Dean Smith was an important force in this state for equality, and many folks from Chapel Hill were deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement.
More recently, UNC has been particularly keen on feminism and gay rights.
But you don’t have to scratch very deep to get back to 60 or 70 years ago or so: the basketball coach demeans his team and gay men by calling his players “pansies.” If anyone in town objected, we haven’t heard about it. The university stands accused of intentionally downplaying sexual assault numbers and not supporting victims of alleged sexual assault. African and Afro-American studies have lost huge amounts of credibility after no one bothered to check to see if independent studies classes were simply handing out A’s to athletes and perhaps others. And now the newspaper publishes an idiotic, thoughtless article which can’t even find the difference between 80% of crime starting and home and 20% being from out-of-towners.
Perhaps unfortunately for Ms. Dulaney, there are no walls around Chapel Hill, but there do appear to be a number of internal walls or, at the very least, a number of significant blindspots.