Amber Hagerman, JonBenet Ramsey, Caylee Anthony. What do these three young girls have in common? Well first, they represent some of the most widely publicized missing/murder cases in the country. Not only were their cases national news but every single update (ranging from clothing details to parent conversations) was considered breaking news. Meaning that these cases took precedent over anything that was happening in the world. This was probably because of that other factor that they have in common: the color of their skin.
Though this is nothing new, it still continues to baffle me. It literally short circuits my brain when the entire world is put on pause so that I can be thoroughly informed about the events leading up to the murder/kidnapping of a little white girl. Last summer, when the nation was sucked into the Casey/Caylee Anthony case, I tried to tune out or not invest my time and energy into a young mother who allegedly murdered her daughter. However, I quickly lost that battle. Why you may ask? I really don’t know why your asking when you know the answer. That trial was inescapable.
Quickly and steadily, I became well versed in exactly what was going on with the case. On my way to work, the radio told me about Casey’s partying, Twitter showed me the pics, Facebook gave me the background, and when I sat in front of my TV, I was in court with the entire family.
I say all of this because I was just informed via BlackVoices, that a black girl is missing. Her name is Gabrielle “Gabby” Swainson. According to BlackVoices, Gabby disappeared on August 18, 2012 around 3:30am. She was last seen in pink and black pajamas. They go on to describe that nothing was taken from her room and it is uncharacteristic for her to leave without informing her parents.
Now this is an improvement. At least her disappearance was acknowledged in the media. But that is just one source. Let’s find out what happens if I Google her name. Surprisingly, good news. Multiple online media outlets have picked up the story. You may say that this is a step in the right direction. But I have to disagree.
This country was founded on a lot of one liners. You know quotes and phrases from past presidents that are suppose to invoke pride and rouse a patriotic spirit. These phrases boast of freedoms, liberties, and justice. The meaning of those three words and the current state of the United States is definitely worth noticing. Yes, we know about Gabby Swainson but the truth is, the world has not stopped. Your five o’clock news is not repeatedly interrupted. On your way to work, crowds are not buzzing with the latest updates in the Swainson case.
According to The Grio, “Missing minority children make up 65 percent of all non-family abductions, with 42 percent being African American (a total of 24,44 missing persons), and 23 percent Hispanic (13,386). Though these number are substantial, this information is not reflected in media coverage. The sad reality is that Gabby will soon fade from our consciousness, whether or not she is found or not, simply because of her pigmentation.
Once again, the value of black people is reduced to something that is not even worth covering. It is 2012, yet we still seem to be operating on notions that promote the empowerment of one group of people at the expense of another. Making me slightly less optimistic about my status as a black woman in the “great” America. If this country sincerely wants to become a post-racial society or truly integrate, it must discard supremacist values that seep into every facet of American life preventing all the right to freedom and equality.