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A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.
What’s in a Name? On the New Hill East email list, a member recalls the following scenario: “My husband, 7 yr old daughter, and myself were returning from a lovely dinner out with friends on H st around 8pm and were waiting to cross Maryland Ave to Elliott St when a black man rode by on his bike and said, ‘look at the crackers getting all comfy in the hood.’ He continued on towards Bladensburg laughing. There was no confrontation before or after. We just stood there dumbfounded while ignoring our daughter’s question of why did he call us crackers and what does it mean. What would prompt him to say this?? Should I be worried from now on when I walk my daughter without my husband to her dance class at Joy of Motion??” Unsurprisingly, responses to this admittedly earnest question were quite fiery. “Your concern and dumbfoundedness makes me think you don’t have a sense for the dynamics in this neighborhood nor the complicated issue of race in DC. Sorry, but I think this kind of stuff comes with the territory, so to speak,” writes one member. Another mocks, “But I bought a house in Hill East and now it belongs to me, not those black people!” And still another posts a lengthy admonishment: “How many times do you think that black people hear the ‘N’ word (which has a much harsher connotation and awful history? Over the past couple of centuries in America, there were signs that ‘Irish’ (or Chinese or Catholics, etc. etc) ‘need not apply’ for jobs; that Jews or dogs couldn’t rent rooms; that spics or micks or bohunks or slant-eyese or japs or huns weren’t wanted somewhere. It’s a long-standing tradition – and ‘cracker’ is pretty tame in the wild world of racial, ethnic and relgious-based insults. Are you really afraid to have your daughter walk somewhere, cause one guy on a bike ribbed you? You need to borrow a sense of humor and balance from somebody. And get a thicker skin. What prompted the guy on the bike is his business/craziness but my guess is he meant ‘yuppies’ or something like that, just to get a rise out of you. And judging by your post, he got one…and he hit the nail pretty much on the head…cause your reaction is kind of ‘yuppyish’, naive and ‘priviliged’. Do you think he posts to a blog site every time he’s called the ‘N-word’ or other pejorative? I highly doubt it. The original poster follows up to say, “Thanks everyone for your kind and not so kind comments:) After living here for 9 years we were just surprised to be called that for no apparent reason other than the obvious. We love where we live and will continue to enjoy the uniqueness of the Hill, good or bad.”
Don’t Worry, We Know They Won’t Party: A member of the Burleith email list posts, “My wife and I were approached by a group of girls (students) looking for a place to live starting in the Fall of 2012. We had a lengthly discussion with them and it was obvious they are a serious group looking for quiet living conditions to help with their studies. If anyone know of a place that would take 6 serious students somewhere close to the University please let me know and I’ll pass along the information.”
Meat Space: “I want to know about your meat…,” writes a member of the Ward 1 email list. “Well, how you shop for meat. I’m a U Street and long term District resident doing some personal research on where you buy your meat (if you do eat it) and what’s most important in making those decisions. I’m not selling anything, nor collecting personal data.” They then ask list members to fill out a survey on the topic, with the possibility of winning an Amazon gift card. The message does not appear to be spam, but the purpose of the survey is unidentified.
Cleveland Park Problems: Over the weekend, topics of discussion on the Cleveland Park email list included, “Looking for boys size 7 or 8 black suit or tuxedo”; “Free: Playmobile galore” (“We’re cleaning out the attic, and we have a big box of Playmobile—plastic people, vehicles of all kinds, houses, cannons, and a lot of horses, etc.—that we would like to give away, preferably to a school or day care or other organization that serves less affluent children”); “Free khaki couch” (“The couch has three seats that can be easily attached/detached to form different combinations of couches/chairs depending on your layout”); “How quiet are Amana room air conditioning units?”; “Dentist recommendation”; “seeking Italian tutor” (“I am writing to the list because our great tutor is moving to Canada. We are looking for a new tutor. Usually we start by discussing the week’s events or whatever (personal, political, etc.), and then discuss the reading which is usually circa 35 pages per week”); “Recommendations for Jeweler to Engrave Cuff Links”; “High School (St. Albans) textbooks seeking a new home.”