Missing Women of Color and media disinterest

How many of you clicked every update and talked about your friends and/or family over the Emily Sander case? How much detail can you provide me? When it comes to missing females in the media, I admit to glossing over them. It’s usually a white, blond, attractive young woman. Ugly white ladies who go missing get more coverage than an attractive young black/latino/Asian female.

Early last month, I learned of Nailah Franklin. She was 28 yr. old who went missing after a series of vague text messages. Note I didn’t provide a link. Does anyone know much more about Ms. Franklin? Where did she live? Do you know what she did for a living. Did you know as much as Ms. Franklin as you do Ms. Sander? Do you even care? Note the past tense. I found about Ms. Franklin 4 days after her body was found.

Patricia Wilson-Smith says:

I want HOURLY updates on the Nailah Franklin case – I want consistent coverage on the progress of the search for her and I want it to go on forever or until she’s found, which ever comes first. In other words, I want her to get the same chance at the oh-so important exposure from the news media that any Natalee Holloway look-a-like would receive. In a nation that prides itself on its multi-culturalism, and that wants to believe it has left the specter of racism behind, why is it seemingly impossible for the media to give fair and equitable coverage to the missing/exploited minorities in this country?
(emphasis mine)

I admit to following stories of missing women of color closer than the media allows. I visit Black and Missing but not Forgotten. I’m always astonished at how little media coverage so many of those women receive. I’m amazed that our media has spent more time on a non-American white child missing in another country, than most of those American women combined. I’m am appalled that we get to learn (whether we want to or not) the details of Elizabeth Smart‘s hostage situation, yet Megan Williams ordeal was “too much” or “not family friendly” enough for the media. I’m blanking on the outlet, but I remember some spokesman said that the reason they weren’t covering it in detail was because there still needed to be a trial and they didn’t want to taint people. Yeah, I spewed coffee too. Considering mainstream media general seems to be judge, jury and executioner, I was gobsmacked reading that. Just a simple online search shows the discrepancy. Even though they have an almost even number of hits, Smart’s hits show many mainstream media stories, where Williams hits are mostly black bloggers blogging about the ordeal and the judicial outcomes.

Which brings us back to Sander. I saw a link earlier today that said something like, “Body found may be that of missing [wherever she’s from] teen.” What I did not see was this headline: Body found of Latasha Norman. (You’ll note that most of the hits are also mostly blogposts). I found out on Thanksgiving that Ms. Norman was missing via black blogs.
From AP h/t to Black and Missing but not Forgotten:

Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin said Norman’s disappearance should get “the same kind of concern” as that of Stacy Peterson, 23, a white woman from suburban Chicago who has been missing for three weeks.

“As far as the interest by the national media in the story, I think race probably had an impact,” said McMillin, who is white. “It’s a small college in the South. It’s the daughter of simple people who maybe are not important outside of their circle, and maybe we don’t attach the same importance to them that we do for other people.”

I found out today via black blogs that Ms. Norman’s body was most likely found.


2 thoughts on “Missing Women of Color and media disinterest

  1. I completely agree. It’s like black missing women are not worth the TV time and media attention. Look at how much media Stacy Peterson’s case has garnered. If her name was Lakeisha, I doubt we’d even know. sad but true.


  2. Yes and even though I too am bitching about the lack of media coverage, I’m wondering if black bloggers made more noise, not just to the traditional media outlets, but also to those niche media outlets, if something would happen more. This is also a case of where the media-adorned black leaders are failing. Instead of burying n-words symbolically, real women are being buried daily and they say nothing. They do nothing.


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