Social media has sparked another outcry.
About two months ago, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department’s commander Chanel Dickerson, made the following statement; “find our missing girls.” Well thanks to social media and the idea of spreading of profiles of missing black and Latina girls, there is now a call for a federal investigation by the Congressional Black Caucus. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey, lawmakers stated “(W) hen children of color go missing, authorities often assume they are runaways rather than victims of abduction,.”
Many are taking to Twitter and asking why these girls have been missing for so long, and with little to no coverage of their predicaments. Celebrities like LL Cool J and Taraji P Henson have been increasing awareness for this issue and asking why the general public outcry is lacking. Many people of color are scared to just go outside, “We can’t go nowhere by ourselves,” an unnamed woman told the crowd through tears, according to a report by the city’s WJLA. “We can’t do nothing without being worried about somebody trying to take us.”
And it is true, black children who go missing receive less coverage than white children. “A 2016 analysis of online coverage of missing persons published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology found some evidence that cases involving white women not only draw more attention, but more intense coverage.”
But now sharing information about these missing children is instant. Anyone anywhere can know who is missing and report any information right away. But why has it taken social media to draw attention to all these cases?
According to the Black and Missing foundation, an organization that brings awareness to missing children of color, 36.8 % of missing children nationwide are black…“We also noticed that a lot of African American children that go missing are initially classified as runaways,” Natalie Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation. “They do not get an Amber Alert or media coverage.”
Do authorities just not care about missing people of color?
Children of color are significantly underrepresented. “The study argued that “such things as newsroom diversity, news operation routines, media ownership, and commercial motives of media contribute to the race- and gender-related media bias… “What I can tell you from unofficial observation is that the media [are] already well aware of the fact that their missing children coverage is biased,”
Many believe the mainstream media does not place as much urgency on finding non-white missing people. But has the outcry this time been too much to ignore.
D.C. has witnessed a decrease in missing persons, according to some reports. Police say that over the past five years there were 200 missing persons reports every month, this year 190 cases have been reported on average each month. According to Metropolitan Police Department statistics, there have been 534 missing children reports in Washington so far in 2017, a statistic the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says is on par with most cities. As of March 27, just 14 cases of missing juveniles remain open in D.C.
What is happening is that people are starting to question, and care where every missing person is, they are noticing the trends and the bias and speaking up.
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