Prejudice and bias of the news media covering crime in my neighborhood
I live two blocks from 11th and P streets NW, where a young woman was stabbed to death in September while jogging. This unfortunate incident might have been avoided if the media had given more coverage to the man who was stabbed in the area on March 17.
He doesn’t live in our neighborhood, but he was there to visit his parents, who live near 12th and M streets NW. He got into a verbal altercation with some unknown men and it escalated into a street fight.
This young man happens to be my best friend’s son. He must have been getting the best of the men while they were fighting because one assailant pulled a knife and stabbed my friend’s son multiple times. The police were able to catch the two assailants before they could run away.
One of those stabs was to his heart. My friend’s son ended up at Howard University Hospital and is still in a comatose state. He is now living in a nursing home and has gone through some serious surgeries.
The local news has provided a lot of coverage to the stabbing of the D.C. Jogger, who happened to be white with Hispanic heritage and happened to have a high-paying job and many friends. They provided less to the other attack, which involved three Black men: the victim and the two who stabbed him.
The two attacks happened in the same area, only two blocks apart from each other, but one wasn’t important enough for the media to give a huge amount of attention to it. It wasn’t important enough to Council Member Jack Evans or Mayor Muriel Bowser that they would visit my friend or the family of her son. No one asked her or the local residents whether they felt safe in the neighborhood, as I was asked after the jogger was killed.
The media headlines for my girlfriend’s son read, “Man critically wounded in stabbing near D.C. convention center.” It was a short article that named both of the suspects and their ages. But the reporters didn’t go out of their way to find the name of the victim. As for TV coverage, it was less than a hot minute and less than a day.
The headline for the jogger read “Avid jogger stabbed to death in Washington’s Logan Circle neighborhood” and it got more attention. We have a lot of joggers in the city, but are there more joggers than Black men? The coverage acted as if it’s normal for two Black men to stab another Black man, whereas stabbing a jogger isn’t normal. Well, maybe if you had given as much attention to the first attack as you did to the D.C. Jogger, she might be alive today!
The D.C. Jogger’s attacker got media attention after he was arrested and when he was sentenced in court. Meanwhile, we don’t know the fate of my girlfriend’s son’s assailants at all. I had to ask my girlfriend who they were and what had happened to them. But I know more about the man who stabbed and killed the D.C. Jogger, such as witnesses’ suggestion that he was on the synthetic drug K2.
In my opinion, the D.C. Jogger’s life could have been spared if the news media had given more attention to my girlfriend’s son. Maybe the jogger’s mother wouldn’t be burying her daughter in her wedding gown and would instead be watching her on her wedding day.
The Shaw area, which stretches from U Street all the way to Massachusetts Avenue, includes rents ranging from $1,500 and $1 million homes. That should be a crime-free area. Nope. Because it isn’t gated, anyone can walk through our neighborhood. I would feel safer if they had more police officers on bikes or Segways or whatever to watch out for these kinds of people. This shouldn’t have happened to this young woman or to my girlfriend’s son.
The news media in Washington D.C. needs to give more coverage to neighborhoods that are actively trying to become crime-free areas. The residents can’t do it without the help of our councilmember, who seems to be a bit complacent in his job. The only time I have ever seen Jack Evans was during the coverage of the D.C. Jogger.
I have lived on 11th Street NW for four years, going on five. We need better news coverage and more police presence.
Aida Peery is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.