Last night, the FOX television show "Bones" aired an episode, part of which was about a detective wanting to pursue a lead in Anacostia. The opening dialogue of the episode shows a very typical outsider understanding of the Anacostia neighborhood. Clearly, there is still much to do to challenge and change assumptions.
Hannah: What do you know about Anacostia?
Booth: It's a neighborhood about a mile and a half from here: seedy, prostitution, lots of gangs, bad activity ... why?
Sweets: Anacostia? That’s a really tough part of town.
Booth: Not compared to downtown Kabul, it’s not.
Brennan: Or the surface of Venus, which is covered by clouds of sulfuric acid and hundreds of active mega-volcanoes. What?! We are talking about tough neighborhoods!
What do you think? What will it take to get the local and national media to stop scaring people? I think the neighborhood is on the right track, and am confident in its transformation ... but I represent a very small percentage of people out there.
It's gonna be a step by step process combining community building, new buildings, good role models, and investment of all kinds to get Anacostia off the "bad neighborhood name-drop" list. Have hope.
image courtesy of Real is Just a Matter of Perception