Why We Hate Duke: The “Prestige”


In the state of North Carolina, there is a small country in western Durham. It’s old – though not 1789 old – and has gone through name changes and rape scandals, yet still retains a pristine image. Here the citizens aren’t of the same ilk as most North Carolinians, and most natives know it. Yes, here is the home of Duke University.

The private institution has a certain air about it — a stuffy one. Sure it’s ranked in the Top 10 Universities of U.S. News and World Report, not No. 28 like some dinky public school, but does that give them the right to be so, well, douchey?

Some of you will be thinking I’m blowing this out of proportion. There’s no way ALL Duke students are total pricks, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that in my experience, I have yet to meet a Duke student who didn’t rub me the wrong way, intentionally or not.

Take my most recent encounter, at the party of a mutual friend in December.

I introduce myself to said Dookie without knowing his affiliation. He is friendly enough, as much as to be expected at a party in which many don’t know each other. I ask him how he knows the mutual friend, blah blah, and eventually get to, “Oh where’d you go to school?”

I visibly show my distaste at his answer — all in fun. After all, the UNC/Duke rivalry is one of the most well-known sports rivalries in the country. What happens next is the same thing that has happened to me multiple times when meeting a Dookie.

The conversation dies for a second. It’s during this silence that a couple of things are happening. The Dookie is usually trying to figure out something else to say, while at the same time hiding his or her scorn for my joking gesture. Yes, it was all in fun, but you can tell it drives them crazy to see a “bumpkin” from Chapel Hill insulting their school.

I’m usually just trying to hold in my laughter. If I had seen said Dookie in a lineup, I could have picked him out as the one who went to Durham Tech. Much like its basketball players (douchey, unathletic), Duke students tend to have a look.

Anyway, a new question is then usually proposed by said Dookie. And nine times out of 10, it’s this:

“Oh, so are you actually FROM North Carolina?”

As a matter of fact, I am, dick. But the question wasn’t meant to find out where I was reared. It was used to reassure the Dookie that he or she is superior. I obviously must have gone to UNC because it was the best public school I could get in to, and couldn’t go to a prestigious private one. Forget about the fact that some out of state kids would kill to go to UNC, and that it’s consistently one of the best public schools in the nation. Not to mention that Carolina’s journalism school – my major – is Top 3 in the country at worst.

No, this doesn’t matter to the royal blue. They know their snooty network of donors and alumni will get them in a “better” job than I could imagine. They’ve been destined to “attain” greatness since they popped out of the womb, silver spoon in hand. Even Reggie Love has a good position in the current administration.

That is a travesty, but the worst part is that I’ve had the experience described above several times. Perhaps it’s their environment that causes them to ask such questions. Maybe after attending the Gothic Gehenna you just get used to being around other Yankees with trust funds and how they interact with one another, and then just don’t remember how to act around normal people?

It’s just much easier (or true?) to take your prestige and call it arrogance, pretension, snootiness, conceit, snobbery, contempt or vanity.

Go Heels!