Washington Post


Race and Class, everywhere.

At some point between Sunday evening and Monday morning, the body of American University Professor Sue Marcum was discovered by a friend who had been concerned about her. Professor Marcum had taught at the business school since 1999. This morning, police got a major break in her case when Marcum’s stolen jeep was noticed by a “a license plate recognition sensor” (more on those, here):

Police went to Benning Road and attempted to stop the Jeep, Bonilla said, then gave chase when Hamlin allegedly tried to drive away. The Jeep crashed into a crosswalk signpost at the intersection of New York Avenue and M Street NW. Hamlin, who police said lives in Northwest Washington, was taken into custody and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony fleeing.

I learned everything I know about Professor Marcum’s death through the Washington Post; after feeling shock and sadness over this violent, awful crime, what struck me about this story yesterday was how quickly readers turned to race, when discussing the murder. Seven of the first eight comments are solely about race, class and the Post’s coverage of homicide. Here are the first two:

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WaPo distorts our Kojo – updated


WAMU 88.5's Kojo Nnamdi, last Fall, Busboys and Poets

So yesterday, the Twitterz were burning up with a link to an opinion piece that WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi had written for The Washington Post. It’s a great read– except for one problem. The title. WaPo called it, “For D.C., Vince Gray’s election is a bold step backward”…but that’s not what Kojo wrote:

The District today is becoming more racially, ethnically and culturally diverse than it has been in my 41 years here. The tax base is expanding, something every mayor in every city finds desirable. But this also means more affluent residents are displacing poorer residents. And with our city’s troubled racial history,gentrification can be socially and politically volatile.

That volatility has resulted in Mayor Adrian Fenty’s ouster. Vincent Gray, a decent and thoughtful man, benefited from black voters’ anger at Fenty, a result of four years of real and perceived slights by the mayor toward his black constituents. But that anger has propelled us into a future that concerns me. While the past should inform the future, it shouldn’t handcuff it…

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