I cannot say I enjoyed Eddie Dean’s article on Joyce Chiang (“The Murder Victim Next Door,” 7/30), but I must say it was extremely praiseworthy and not at all deserving of the criticism contained in Nakesha Abdur-Rauf’s letter (The Mail, 8/6). Apparently, education in our nation has devolved to the point that children are no longer taught to interpret writing—they are merely trained to understand the words. It’s a good thing Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift are no longer with us….
In fact, Ms. Abdur-Rauf, highlighting racism is a major theme of the article. Anacostia as a dumping ground for bodies is a metaphor for Anacostia as the dumping ground for all of D.C.’s problems—sewage, the mentally ill, the poor. The statement you took so much offense to was not that of the author—it was that of the typical Washington-area resident, who views Anacostia as a dumping ground and does not get concerned when ill fate befalls one its residents. That these people in some way deserve their fate or are unworthy of concern is a racist viewpoint, but you would have to be blind (or looking really, really hard for racism) to confuse that point of view with that of the author’s. And let me tell you, you don’t have to look very hard to find very real examples of racism around here.
Ms. Chiang was a kind, hard-working, attractive young woman who encountered a fate she did not deserve. Many others—some not as attractive or hard-working or kind—also meet unfortunate fates in this city. They may not be as easily sympathetic as Chiang, but they still deserve our concern. That they do not receive that concern—because they do not have the attention of the powerful and well-connected—is what Eddie Dean so skillfully conveyed in his article. I am sorry that Abdur-Rauf missed the point.
via the Internet