"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
There's a familiar sound bite we've heard here in the Queen City since the early eighties:
"Charlotte is now a World Class City!"
In the '80s, we called ourselves "World Class" when the Hornets arrived.
We did it again when the Panthers came to town.
And of course, after the DNC, talk resurfaced in many national media outlets.
But in a popularity contest, you never hear those nominated describe themselves that way.
It's not their decision to make whether they are the "most popular."
In turn, whether or not Charlotte is judged a "world class city" is not our decision to make.
This goes beyond a sound bite; it's a mentality.
And our city's history of trying to control its own image is not without its critics.
When city leaders started referring to "downtown" as "uptown," the idea was to promote and attract people to our center city.
"Uptown" somehow sounded more positive.
That was 1987.
25 years later, people still call it "downtown."
In an era where Charlotte is constantly growing, we need to allow that growth to set roots…to evolve…to develop a soul.
Trying to self-label our city as "world class" limits its future.
Charlotte has longed for respect; well, we got it during the DNC.
That honor can take us a lot further than any popularity contest.
Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.