Monday, March 19, 2007

CP: Memo to the Style Section

The City Paper's blog City Desk slams the Washington Post's U-Turn on H Street (not only is it a turn around on H, but it's a turn towards U Street, clever, huh?) in the blog's latest post Memo to the Style Section: Do Some Goddamn Reporting!
Also, check out the comments because Rae, the former Argonaut bartender, has left a comment relating to the article.
Check out the Post's online chat about the article, and here are some other opinions on the piece:
DCist: Morning Roundup March Sadness
Rebuilding Palace: Time Passages


Rob said...

After reading the WP on-line chat I had two random was that the author doesn't really seem to have a lot to add or to say, suggesting to me someone who only has a passing understanding of the situation based on a few anecdotes and meetings. The other is that the Englert-centricity continues in the discussion as she mentions him twice early on. There was a comment earlier attributed to Joe Englert (gone now) saying he thought the story was ok. I think from his perspective anything that makes H St look "edgy" is good, but to me playing up racial tension doesn't help the situation much.

hard truth said...

I agree with the first comment - the piece lacked anything fresh or insightful about H Street and was essentially a retread of stories we've all seen in the Post over the last five years in reference to other neighborhoods. Not that some of the same forces aren't at work, but I don't like seeing my neighborhood getting this kind of treatment in the paper when I don't think the author really spent a lot of time and effort on trying to talk to people (both recent arrivals and oldtimers) who actually make their home here.

Anonymous said...

Here's a comment from the "Rae" mentioned in the article. Found this in the comment section of the City Paper's blog City Desk:

Rae Says:
Mar. 19, 2007, at 5:18 pm
I’m the one quoted in the article, and I’d like to say a couple of things about this. First of all, the incident in question did not go down exactly as the article states…there were a few minor differences. I wasn’t waiting on this group (I wasn’t working at the Argonaut at the time) but it’s true that I did confront the group about their behavior at the table after they’d been asked by the bartender to stop drawing on the table. Not everyone in the group was rude, but there was one woman and one man in particular who I certainly felt took the altercation to a racial level (and yes, they were drinking). I don’t accept responsibility for having taken it to a racial level. I related this incident to DeNeen NOT because I thought that it was representative of the average H St. encounter (because it DEFINITELY is not!) but because it was so extreme (yes, one of the women really did say that I should be glad she bought a $500,000 house in my “ghetto black neighborhood”). I agree that most racially-charged incidents these days are more subtle. This was not one of them. I have experienced my share of subtle and overt racism in my life (being asked if I had a tail, being called a nigger and having a bottle thrown at me, etc etc etc) and this ranked up there with those two incidents. The Argonaut is a comfortable place to be–H Street is a comfortable place to be. There is a lot of character and love on that street. While I’m glad this is sparking conversation, I would like the chance to have a less emotionally-charged conversation with those involved. Don’t know how that could happen, but I’d be open to it. I’m not of the mindset that gentrification ruins a neighborhood, but these kinds of miscommunications can.

Rosedale Neighbor said...

Just catching up on the reaction to the WP article which I (like many of those relative 'newcomers') found very alarming. Besides what has already been noted in the earlier blog post about the article and in this CityPaper response, there were two things that were really off about the article:

1) The focus on 'knowing history' when you move into an area. In an ideal world, we would all respect and love learning about the history of where we live but how much does this really happen, anywhere? No matter what the skin color, income level, etc, it is unrealistic to expect that newcomers to any area will know all about what happened in their neighborhood in the five decades before they moved in.

2) Ms. Brown's ignorance about the neighborhood really shows when she mentions the 'area elementary school' getting new landscaping. She refers to the big metal flower sculptures in front of the Pierce School LOFTS that are on the corner of Maryland and 14th. That place hasn't been an elementary school for many many years.