When an Ethiopian man in Alexandria, Va. killed his wife, the report in last week's Alexandria Gazette Packet tiptoed nervously around his motive. It said that cultural issues were involved and that he had ordered her not to interact with co-workers. In case the point still wasn't clear, the reporter attempted to explain: "In Ethiopia, women have more defined roles."

That's a cowardly way of saying that women automatically obey their husbands in Ethiopia but sometimes don't in America. The deliberate ambiguity would be comic if it were not attached to a tragedy.

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