Yesterday Salon published another of my essays, which they titled, "Please don't come back to New Orleans." They had actually wanted to title it "Don't come back to New Orleans" but I asked them to add the word "Please." They said they needed to be provocative in order to get people to click on the story, because no one really cares about New Orleans anymore.
Of course, my editor and I both knew that the story was likely to generate a lot of hate--because people don't hate anything more than someone who has been a victim of meaningless violence, and because we're only supposed to say nice things about New Orleans. And that is why we both felt it was important to go ahead with the piece. Initially, I'd imagined it as a lighter piece, in which I pine for the quiet days of my then-abandoned neighborhood. But in an early draft, my mugging appeared, and I knew that people would point to that, whether I wanted them to or not, and decided to just push that to the front of the piece.
I also decided not to read any of the idiotic comments that were likely to follow. But a few people have filled me. Apparently I deserved it. Because I moved to a black neighborhood, and I should have known better than that. Aside from the fact that this theory actually ignores the specifics of the story (the mugging didn't happen in my neighborhood), it is also a mortifying racist suggestion in response to a story that doesn't once mention race. But that's the internet for you, isn't it?