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2 Bumps

Missing People of Color Don't Make Headlines (rarely)

When you think of famous missing persons cases in America, what pops into your mind? If you’re like me, probablyNatalee HollowayCaylee AnthonyLaci Peterson, or Jaycee Dugard -- four people whose terrible stories all have different endings, but who share one thing in common: the color of their skin. But have you ever heard of Tamika Huston, a 24-year-old African American woman who disappeared from her apartment in 2004, or 14-year-old Justice Page (pictured here), missing from her home in Silver Spring, Maryland since mid-February of this year?

Probably not -- and that’s exactly what motivated Derrica and Natalie Wilson, two moms and sisters-in-law, to start the Black and Missing Foundation, a non-profit geared toward helping minority families find their missing loved ones.

The story on the inspiration behind the Wilson sisters' mission left me both frustrated and inspired -- what an eye-opening read! Derrica Wilson, who’s from the same town in South Carolina as Huston, was devastated to see how difficult it was for Huston’s family to get the media’s attention over their missing girl. "It was painful watching them struggle for any kind of media coverage -- local or national," Wilson said. "This could have been one of my family members." Heartbreaking.

A year later, Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba, and you know the story -- we’re STILL talking about it. So, Wilson, a longtime cop who currently works as an investigator for a D.C. agency, teamed up with her sister-in-law Natalie Wilson, a PR expert, to launch the non-profit that has so far helped locate more than 113 missing people -- 71 of them alive.

How incredible is that? These are just two "regular" women, both of whom have their own families and full-time jobs. They donate their time, energy, and own money to making a difference in the world, helping to right a terrible injustice, and reuniting missing people with their families, or -- sadly but importantly, helping them find closure and answers. In a recent interview with Ebony.com, Derrica says that she and Natalie are "mothers first," and that she is often haunted by the stories they come into contact with, especially the missing children. 

Currently, Black and Missing Foundation has 2,000 open cases they’re working on. A drop in the bucket, but what a powerful drop. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Department of Justice, 2,000 children are reported missing in America EVERY SINGLE DAY. And the Wilson sisters’ foundation reports that of the 661,593 people reported missing last year, about 40 percent of those were minorities.

That’s a horrifying number of people, amounting to a whole lot of scared, heartbroken family members. Of course, every missing persons case can’t make headline news (unfortunately). But there’s something really wrong when the ONLY ones who do make the news are white.

I can’t even imagine the horror of my child going missing, or my sister, or anyone I love -- but how much more awful it would be if no one would pay attention to my plight, or help me, because my loss wasn't perceived to be as newsworthy. These women are my heroes.

The story is from the stir

Can you think of any high profile cases of missing minorities? Why do you think these cases get so little attention?

I really don't like the race card being pulled but this is completely true. I just experienced it when my cousin went missing. No news stations would carry it and police wouldn't help search for just over a onth ago when a white girl went missing her face was all over the news and tons of search parties and she was gone the exact same amount of tiem as my cousin. My cousin didn't have a history of running away but the one they did a story on did. 

 
LostSoul88

Asked by LostSoul88 at 12:33 PM on Mar. 6, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 40 (119,476 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • I wish it didn't have to be "Black and Missing" or any color and missing. Just plain missing is bad enough!
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 1:12 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • I can't dispute that more white cases make the news, but I do have a problem with the articles statement of "ONLY ones who do are white." That is an exaggeration to try to make their already valid point seem more valid, and dramatic. And I have seen several missing children/persons cases in my area for someone who was not white.

    I think what these two women are doing is great, and skin color shouldn't play a role in determining whether a missing person gets publicity.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 12:50 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • i think its sad that these women had to make their group just to find minority missing persons. and while its untrue that "only" whites are reported it is true that white girls are way more likely to be given lots of media time for missing. i think the next is probably Asian girls & white boys.

    i think the mentality here (and its awful and not mine) is that the media assumes ppl expect black & hispanic kids to go missing, b/c many assume they are from the inner-city and that they are runaways or involved in something that got them abducted (gangs, drugs, etc). its sad.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 12:58 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • I had no idea.
    Why would they not look for your cousin?
    This is a sad state of affairs. Anyone reported should be looked for.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:06 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • http://www.wdsu.com/news/local-news/new-orleans/Family-of-missing-teacher-pleads-for-safe-return/-/9853400/19170438/-/mcm3qn/-/index.html


    Just saw this one on the news this morning.  While I can see both sides of the issue, I think it's the sqeaky  wheel that gets the most press.  All these cases are so sad.  And let's face it, the media feeds on sad stories.  Family members need to bring it to their attention.


     

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 12:39 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • Did they ever find your cousin?
    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 4:09 PM on Mar. 6, 2013

  • I have often had this conversation with hubby , and it is true that whites gets more coverage....
    older

    Answer by older at 3:01 PM on Mar. 7, 2013

  • Agree Ballard
    LostSoul88

    Comment by LostSoul88 (original poster) at 1:13 PM on Mar. 6, 2013