White Folks’ Fear and Loathing in Charlotte’s CIAA Tournament

EpiCentre_CIAA_2013

Sherrell Dorsey writes in the Charlotte Agenda this week about the implicit and explicit racial dynamics surrounding the annual CIAA Basketball Tournament in Charlotte. Among her incredible analysis of the city’s quiet racial attitudes, she breaks down the weekly demographic shift in a frank way, and from a global perspective.

For those that are still Google-adept, CIAA does have a website filled with lots of words. People (read white people) should read them. They are important, and they detail what doesn’t get mentioned in local press or secretly at those dinner parties where comfortable microaggressions with friends are exchanged while you’re planning how you will strategically exit the city to avoid “those people.”

Because in reality, white people (not all) don’t seek to look at the historic pathology of why black people have to create our own celebrations to celebrate our damn selves. They see mass chaos instead of the relevance of modern-day segregationist necessity for people that continuously have to prove our humanness and self-worth and value to an entire world that devalues us. Every day. For centuries.

There’s more to this assessment, but it involves the white folks who actually remain in Charlotte and who make money off of the tournament’s presence and the crowds it draws. It concerns the economics of major black events, when a hotel can feel comfortable enough to overcharge black patrons in the name of the tournament.

It continues with public safety reactions to the tournament, like the city manager declaring the tournament an “extraordinary event,” a legal term which gives police officials more autonomy for surveillance and random searching of attendees and citizens.

And it concludes with the media, which takes great strides to report and expose crimes committed during the CIAA Tournament in a way that is unequal to other major events held in the city, such as NASCAR, which two years ago yielded more arrests and citations than the CIAA.

These entities are owned and operated by some of the same white people who live in and around Charlotte, and approach their jobs with the same attitudes, perceptions and fears shared by Facebook posters, Tweeters and Instagrammers who want to decry “negroes behaving badly” in the city. The good news is that organizers and attendees could care less about these attitudes, and show up to produce and enjoy one of America’s great sporting events.

The bad news? Because enough of us show up and don’t care about the haze of racial fear and fascination which hovers over the tournament every year, its affects, especially the negative ones, will be around for years to come.

6 comments
  1. Let me first start by saying that I have never been to a ciaa tournament YET.

    I see this being true to a point but not as deeply rooted in bigotry (not racism ) as the author puts it.

    It would stands to reason that folks who live in the area and have no plans to attend the game would leave for that week to take vacation and have to deal with the huge influx of people.

  2. I’m from NYC where information about the CIAA is

    virtually non-existent. I wish I had known about this tournament years ago so that my family and I could attend because it sounds fabulous!! Thanks for this informative article and it’s links to other information about the CIAA. As for the racist, hateful, jealous attitudes of white haters, who cares if they leave Charlotte for a few days? Really Black Brothers and Sisters, in 2016 we NEED to STOP CARING about what the racist great grand children of our ancestors’ enslavers, think, feel, might do or wish they could do in response to OUR ACTS OF SELF-DETERMINATION, which is what the CIAA among other good things really is as well. If Charlotte doesn’t want to host the VERY ECONOMICALLY LUCRATIVE CIAA in 2017 I’d bet that there are other cities that want the revenue who will jump at the opportunity to do so. We better STOP begging white racists to like us, accept us, let us spend our money with them, approve of what we do or don’t do and ACT LIKE A FREE PEOPLE WHO LOVE AND HONOR OURSELVES.

    1. Totally agree, but I think its more than a matter of caring about what white folks think about us and our tournament. I think people leaving is just an extension of the attitudes that leave us overcharged at bars, getting extra scrutiny from cops, and other undesirable elements of 100K of us being in the same place at the same time. White people leaving isn’t the issue; its the people who think the same way who are staying in town for the week.

  3. Now, the city declaring the ciaa an extraordinary event is nothing new people. All major events are extraordinary including major panther games. Charlotte cops have told me in the past that they enjoy the ciaa more than they enjoy the redneck speed street event before the Memorial Day race. Now, that is saying something. You would much rather deal with black people than drunk nascar fans.

  4. Awsome CIAA shooting this year ! Some black gentlemen in for the tournament were shooting cars and a hotel up with machine guns from a parking garage! Way to not let us down guys! I wonder if its things like that keeping the evil opressive white folk away? What racists!

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