Will I be hanging out with Lil Wayne and Yo Gotti this weekend? No, I’m not. Is it because I’m white? No. It’s because I go to bed at 9 p.m. and I like acoustic versions of Seacrest Top 40 pop songs (I have terrible taste in music).
On Friday we received a piece of feedback on our story “Your guide to the CIAA weekend” by Trey Mangum.
“I noticed the story today about the CIAA ignored the elephant in the room – the racism that goes along with CIAA weekend. If you ask around, not all, but many white people in Charlotte will tell you to stay away from uptown on CIAA weekend, because it’s full of black people… Unfortunately this seems to have become an accepted part of Charlotte’s culture. I would love to see an article that gets this perennial bit of racism out in the open so we can start to do something about it.” – Mark
Mark is right.
I’ve heard it over the past seven years that I’ve lived here. Some of the racism is obvious, but most is more subtle.
There’s a lot of “Stay away from Uptown this weekend, it’s going to be crazy” chatter.
Stay away to avoid traffic? That’s cool.
Stay away to avoid crowds? That’s okay.
Stay away to avoid black people and make a joke about it? That’s not okay.
Mark is right – this is the elephant in the room.
I consider myself a normal, non-racist white dude. Honestly, I never really thought too much about race before starting a media company.
Over the past 7 years of living here in Charlotte, I’ve heard all sorts of subtle jokes/comments on avoiding Uptown during CIAA weekend. I didn’t participate in the conversation, but I also didn’t tell the person saying it that they’re an idiot and that it’s not okay.
I’m changing this year. We’ve got to tell people that they’re an idiot and that it’s not okay.
Also, it’s not just about not being polite. It’s about not being ignorant.
Many of us (myself included) are ignorant when it comes to understanding what the CIAA Tournament means for the athletes, their parents, alumni and our city (both economically and culturally). What if our city of Charlotte truly embraced this weekend?
Charlotte needs to look the elephant in the eye and own it.