It’s Carrboro!: Local Pride in a Global Space

Curator's Note

Carrboro, North Carolina is a unique place: its radical political identity (and notoriety) stands in all but direct opposition to the red-state politics that surround it. (What other small southern town can claim its own Anarchist Collective?) Even some UNC-Chapel Hill students and faculty fear crossing the railroad tracks that separate the university town from the former mill town; simply having a ZIP code of 27510 probably means you’re an anti-war vegetarian intellectual interpretive dancer. After having spent many years surrounded by people who fit this description, I was pleased to witness the release of the “It’s Carrboro!” rap song and video that was released via YouTube last summer. Carrboro citizens continue to use the video to celebrate their home (a friend, having moved to New York, played this video to explain to her friends the place she left behind), as it touches on many aspects of the shared Carrboro identity. Thus, its promotion via YouTube argues against the popular discourse about such globalized egalitarian technologies of media dissemination. Although it is easy to believe YouTube promotes a veritable global village through the sharing of videos, one may also consider how it reinforces geographically based local identities through the same technology. Videos like “It’s Carrboro”, even though shared over a global space, are targeted at a specific (and geographically defined) group of people, redrawing the arbitrary borders to break up the global village. These borders reinforce the local, even when (potentially especially when) situated in a global space. Is it then more accurate to conceive of YouTube as a technology that both overrides those boundaries as well as reinforces them? (Lyrics can be found here: itscarrboro.com/lyrics)

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