If you’re a frequent visitor to MMXLII.com then it should really come as no surprise that America faces a boom in diversity that’s impacting every level of our society. This is old news. And as the US becomes more diverse, there are a number of unfortunate and culturally confusing circumstances that can arise. Take for instance, the case of then 17-year-old Adnan Syed.
Syed was the child of Pakistani immigrants who ventured to the US for a better life and settled in the Baltimore area. But soon, Adnan found himself in quite a mess. Back in 1999, Adnan’s former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, daughter of Korean immigrants, wound up missing. When authorities finally located her body they discovered that she had been the victim of of a brutal murder.
Although tragic, this tale doesn’t drift too far from the usual set ups for crime drama’s that we see on Dateline or as fodder for a myriad of Law & Order episodes. But in the masterful retelling of the investigation along with new contextualized analysis by former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig on This American Life’s Serial podcast this particular story becomes addictive. It’s a real life True Detective.
While not at the heart of the case, it’s certainly intriguing to see that way that cultural and racial differences weave their way throughout every facet of the story. Oftentimes, they stand as a testament to how far we’ve collectively come in looking past them (like this Pakistani-American and Korean-American high school love story set against a backdrop of a majority black high school in Baltimore). Yet we also see how these issues complicate the following investigation of Hae’s murder.