March 6, 2008

Black and Missing, But Not Forgotten

I imagine that you know about the two young blue-eyed blondes that were murdered 500-miles apart the other day. One of the victims was the student body president at the University of North Carolina. It would be hard to miss the news of these two murders. These two crimes are plastered on the cable news networks, newspapers and the rest of the mainstream media (MSM) every half-hour.

I live in Cincinnati. Scores of people are killed in Cincinnati every year. Field tells us that his hometown is nicknamed 'Killadelphia' because over 300 people were murdered last year. Yet, I don't see these hundreds of murder victims splashed on the television screen around the nation. Do you have any thoughts why the value of solving the murders of the two young blue-eyed blondes is more important to the MSM than the hundreds of murder victims in Cincinnati or Philadelphia?

The same thing seems to happen when young blue-eyed blondes go missing. CNN is still doing entire shows on the young woman named Natalee who went missing over a year ago. Oddly enough, when a Black woman goes missing ... there is nothing but silence from the MSM. Over the past three months we have seen the following situations in the Black community:
  1. A pregnant woman that was due to give birth on Feb. 14
  2. A 15 year old abducted by a 20 year old sex felon
  3. Four children from Alabama abducted by their non-custodial mother from their separate foster homes
  4. Three children abducted by their father and is said to be in extreme danger
Villagers, where are they? Where's the update on these cases and so many other?

Deidra reminds us that there are still a LOT more missing and a LOT more that need our help. As such, perhaps it is time for all Villagers to begin to beat our own drums ... to keep ourselves informed ... to spread the word ourselves. Perhaps it is time for us to remember that these Black women are missing, but not forgotten.

Any other thoughts on action we can take for the growing number of Black women being abused, abducted or killed? What say u?


Deidra said...

Thank you Villager for this post. Sometimes I get tired of repeating the same thing over and over, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm proposing a couple solutions - I'll let you know what it is once I come up with a good plan.

Villager said...

Deidra - I think you are doing great things...

Aaron & Alaine said...

This problem of low visibility by black and brown victims of crime in media, while perhaps not solvable, is something that can be impacted. The black net presence is large, and as Color of Change has shown, it can be mobilized.

It seems to me that there ought to be some form of pressure tactics which can be applied to highlight some of the cases that have been talked about here and elsewhere.

Lets try to approach the problem in a logical fashion. First, what do we understand about HOW stories about white women crime victims make their way into the MSM? I think its clear that their is a profile that MSM appears to respond to. How can we influence that, effect it, change what they respond to? Secondly, if you assume they respond to cases fitting a profile, WHY do they respond to that profile over the profile of black and brown victims, in the context of the news business? There are I'm sure all sorts of cultural, racial issues but that stuff is too big to be addressed in a solution approach. So I think it makes sense to focus on the reporter's context. MSM is the infotainment business. So what about that business context is systematically devaluing the reporting of black and brown victims of crime? Who knows some reporters or people in news organizations? Does anyone know people within the cable news scene that can be questioned for insight about why white female victim cases are highlighted and profiled endlessly and black and brown victims are ignored?

Once we have some sense of that, then we try to come up with tactics to interrupt that process, tactics to push up into the awareness of the MSM cases of our black and brown crime victims, and tactics to bring some accountability on this issue to MSM outlets by exercising our power as consumers to move advertisers. Media sponsors are sensitive to their brands being damaged or associated with mess and they take steps to protect that. So thats an angle of attack, to get sponsors of these news programs to raise questions about these kinds of disparity in content, because they are getting heat on their brands. WAOD has had great success with these kinds of tactics on an episodic basis. I think there is an opportunity to create a systematic black blogwide, black net sites response that is effective in pushing into the MSM awareness these cases.

These victims ought to have a press pack in the hands of every cable show and news outlet, their own web page, a tip line, rewards for info, the whole deal. People, that is doable with black net power. There may already exist models to do it.

We analyze the problem, get very clear and specific about our objectives, devise the appropriate tactics, raise some money, start fixing the problem and stop talking about it. We start with five of the most high profile cases we know of that are not getting badly needed attention, for example any where the victim could still be brought home alive. And we get them noticed. Organized black effort can get this job done and the net provides many a tool for it.

I looked up the definition of a publicist - A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a public figure.

Chiomi Gray and all the others need us to become their publicist.

Villager said...

Aaron/Alaine - I shared your message with three other Black bloggers (Deidra, Gina & Yobachi). They may be in touch with you as they liked the ideas...