Thank you so much for “What’s so scary about Durham?” As a resident of Durham since 1992, very near downtown since 1995, where I frequently walk and ride both my bicycle and DATA and TTA buses, I found two statements key: As to one, “It’s hard for [people outside Durham] to imagine whites coexisting with successful blacks,” Durham is remarkably free of racial tension precisely because successful blacks tend not to feel the financial desperation that leads to participation in the underground economy of drugs and prostitution. I have been the resident manager of an apartment complex on Gurley Street between Geer and Corporation streets since November, and at least one person wrongfully accused the neighborhood (which she admitted never having visited) as being “infested” with them.
As to the second, “People prefer Raleigh either because they don’t know about Durham or because they think they do,” I am not so naïve as to believe such an “economy” is nonexistent here (and it definitely is active in other specific isolated neighborhoods, as I know from my new position as the secretary of Partners Against Crime for District 5). But, speaking as an individual and not a spokesman for management, I know from my daily extensive observations that such an economy is, if active at all, downright imperceptible and, even elsewhere, steadily diminishing due to the increasing numbers of working- and middle-class stable renters and homeowners.
And for the record, I have felt no fear even on nightly walks and, as one of only two Caucasians among our 20 African-American fellow tenants, have felt absolutely no racial tension or hostility toward me, and thus again especially appreciate your publication of several reasons why reports of such racial division in Durham throughout the media and gossip are grossly sensationalized or just plain wrong.
Clifton Troy Toth