Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I was recently interviewed for a WTOP article about the food gap in Anacostia and in Ward 8. You can read the article HERE. The article focuses on a real issue in Ward 8 --  lack of grocery stores and healthy food options. However, as important as that issue is I found myself flabbergasted when I read the reader comments. To be fair, the negative perceptions and misconceptions of Ward 8 are nothing new. I have addressed them before on this blog but I must admit even I was shocked at the level of  vitriol in some of the reader comments by people who I am sure think of themselves as educated. Comments by people who probably wouldn't classify themselves as racist or elitist but who must feel that only certain people in certain communities are deserving of basic things like quality food options.  That bias really disturbs me. As DC residents it should disturb all of us to realize that this is the message that is being received, at least by some.  If this was the perception of the District as a whole we would be in the midst of an economic and public relations crisis. The fact that is Ward 8 should make it no less important.  For anyone to think that Ward 8 and it's 73,000 residents should be considered of no value is a failing all of us (district residents, business owners, and government) should consider our responsibility and priority to change. By the way you can't tell me that this perception issue is not directly tied into the oversaturation of social service providers and residential facilities in the community, particularly the Ward 8 business corridors and that in turn has a negative effect on the economic fabric of Ward 8. 

Some may read this and think that the issue of lack of quality Ward 8 businesses (such as grocery stores and restaurants) is a separate issue from that of Ward 8's perception but I disagree. If Ward 8's  food gap is a 'failing of the District' then this type of disregard for an entire section of the District -- our nation's capital --  should be a failing of our sense of humanity . It makes me wonder are we really "one city" when all it takes is the anonymity of a screen name to show how we really feel?

Posting some of the reader comments from the WTOP article below but you can read them all HERE.

THE Original Mark JM
5:50am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
Anacostia, oh this one has ghetto laziness written all over it (Surprise Surprise)
Shevonne should get off her welfare-leeching as$ and walk that one mile to the Safeway to get her groceries. And to Hizzonor Marion "Teflon Don" Crackbarry, if you want more shops in your Dizztrict, that means you have to have shops that will also hire White People and Asians too. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if crime was reduced. I suggest sending in the Marines to take out all the thuggins that want to sling rock and smack...

John D.
10:07am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
Is Ward 8 the place teenagers are throwing rocks at Metro buses?
The same place and teens whom Courtland Milloy thinks the rock throwers deserve a place at the table to discuss NOT throwing rocks?

There is an old saying: "Don't s_h_i_t where you eat." It may take a few more years, but eventually people catch on.

6:58am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
Tough To Have A Food Store
When there are bars over the windows and the doors, people shop lift you blind and gangs run rampant committing crimes in the store and parking lot.
You get what you ask for when you do not get involved in your own neighborhood and put an end to crime.

THE Original Mark JM
10:00am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
And that's there choice
Maybe if they stood up and worked to clean up their neighborHood, more grocery stores would be willing to stay open. Additionally, not our problem if they can't get off their lazy behinds to do their grocery shopping. One mile to a Safeway, two to a Yes! I would understand if it were five to ten miles. But one to two and they don't want to walk there, that's ridiculous and lazy.

7:35am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
It's not hard to fathom
why there are no stores in this area.
Violent crime and shoplifting come to mind.
Then there is the problem of getting people to work in the area without giving them combat pay.

Giorgio B.
9:10am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
Marion Barry, time to turn your empty promises into something tangible
Seafood/chinese/carry out joints, liquor stores. What is he doing to attract more businesses where people can actually buy real groceries, real and nutritios food.

People of Ward 8, how long will you be fooled by this charlatan who will remain in business as long as you stay miserable, unrepresented, poor and ignorant?.

Take charge of your own future, demand solutions from your leaders. Not everything is due to The Man, the poverty you live in is the product of your own decisions and inaction.

DO SOMETHING.....otherwise, keep your mouth shut and stop complaining.

11:07am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
Ward 8 is a total hole ... and no amount of crying "racist" when a person points out ...
... the disgusting facts about crime and corruption in the area will change that. The whole disgusting state of affairs is summed up in the fact that the low-life scum who live their keep re-electing Marion Barry to "represent" them.

H U.
9:54am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
The word of the day
The word of the day is PeaPod. Fire up your free Obama phone and call PeaPod to order your groceries. You then are safe from a drive by, car jacking or mugging in your Ward 8 neighborhood. Food is delivered right to your home or apt, heck they will even drop the load right in your kitchen if you are on disability and socsec or dont feel like workin for da man and are collektn cause you ernded it. Please ensure to tip the delivery guy. Just like you tip your local dealers.

  • MikeM!!!!
    10:52am - Tue Dec 11th, 2012
    It's a lesson even a reptile could learn!
    Don't bite the hand that feeds you!

    So, why doesn't Anacostia and it's representatives get it?

    Here's another: If your section of town is a stinking dangerous heap, who wants to set up a business there? This is one reason why Captialism is better and more amenable to civilization. The Socialists want to force businesses in, freeze their prices, then subsidize them when they can't stay alive. Capitalists build in the price and it goes right back at the community for precise and nearly instantaneous feedback! It's truth. Too bad some people can handle it then change it!

    There is no substitute for civilization.

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inked said...

I clicked through to the comments when I first saw the link near the top of your post. Those comments are horrible. I don't typically read the comments on WTOP articles, so I'm not sure if they are normally that flamey, but WOW.

DaReslnt1 said...


DaReslnt1 said...


Anonymous said...

Those commenters (and those of the greater Metro area that carry similar opinions) have never sat down with a single resident of our so-called "stinking dangerous heap". Myself and my neighbors are good people, the salt of the earth. We work, we pay taxes, we are involved in our community and we feed our families, despite the limited food resources available in our neighborhood.

EVERYONE from government agencies, elected officials, businesses and society at large marginalizes an entire quad of this city because we have the wrong zipcode. I didn't believe it until I moved here myself from NW DC 3 years ago. I was educated at Georgetown University and guess what, crime happened there too, like it does in Penn Quarters, NoMa, Foggy Bottom, Eastern Market, U Street Corridor and everywhere else I've ever been in this city!

It's disgusting & offensive, the elitism. They should feel ashamed.

Neledi Tafari said...

How about a Whole Foods or community co-op in Ward 8? What's up, we can build our own grocery store. *rightfist*