As a strong advocate for the safe return of missing children everywhere, I am always amazed at the number of cases that are unsolved. I am also baffled by the lack of attention that many missing persons/children receive. This is in direct contrast to the amount of attention that has been received by cases such as Lauren Spierer. I have written about Lauren in great detail several times and the interest level in her case astounds me.
The first time I wrote about Lauren I wondered if the amount of attention she was getting fell into the class of "Missing White Woman Syndrome". According to Wikipedia, this is classifed as "a term used by some media and social critics to describe the disproportionate degree of coverage in television, radio, newspaper and magazine reporting of an adversity, most often a missing person case, involving a young, white, upper-middle class (frequently blonde) woman or girl. This degree of coverage is usually contrasted with cases concerning a missing male, or missing females of other ethnicities, socioeconomic classes or physical attractiveness."
Lauren is a white, petite blonde that comes from an upper-middle class family. The media attention has been off the charts. America's Most Wanted, Nancy Grace and countless other sources have continued to cover the case. My own reasons for covering it stem from my daughter having attended the same University and living in the same building as Lauren. Not because she is white, blonde or otherwise. Plus, I can only imagine the pain her parents are going through - pain as real as any other parent who has a missing child.
In reviewing the Illinois records on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are 45 active records for Chicago alone. (124 in Illinois). Please take a moment to review.
Of the 45 Chicago records, most are ethnic minorities. Many are classified as endangered runaways. Some are very recent; where is the media coverage for them?? They all have loved ones that reported them missing. They all are someone's child. Should the media should lend equal attention to all missing persons?
If a child is listed as an endangered runaway should they be acknowledged as strongly as a missing baby or toddler? Do you think that ethnicity prevails in the search for this category?
The Caylee Anthony case commanded a major force in the news media for a long period of time. Currently, there are a few other cases that are receiving nationwide attention. The cases in Chicago have either escaped my attention or as I suspect, not received the attention they deserve. This gives me pause to believe that there is credence to the theory of Missing White Woman Syndrome.
While searching for missing cases in other states I came upon a current one for a 5 year old African American girl, Jahessye Shockly of Glendale, AZ. During my google search, the news was primarily centered in Arizona; I don't recall seeing coverage here. Why? Why was Caylee Anthony nationwide while Jahessye is only local where she went missing?
All our children deserve attention when they go missing. It shouldn't matter if they are white, black, hispanic, asian or otherwise. They are our children and have parents and loved ones that pray for them to be found.
Do you have a loved one that is missing? Do you feel that the media should be giving it more attention? Do you feel that there is discrimination in who the attention is given to?
Please post your thoughts. The more attention this receives, the better chances at getting something done.