When it comes to missing persons, not all cases are created equal. Missing persons of color often are pushed aside, their case folders quickly abandoned. Friends of Kelisha Madden, 26, was last seen leaving her job recently at the Sting Gentleman’s Club in Detroit are trying to prevent that from happening in her case.
Just this past March, Baltimore teen Phylicia Simone Barnes disappeared, but the national attention received on this case was admittedly an anomaly.
Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post story on the teen:
“The goal is to reach into millions of homes to touch as many people as we can in the hopes that we find that person who knows something,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive of the Alexandria-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Former D.C. police chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. said the disappearance of African American teenagers often does not attract much media attention.
“For whatever reason, we don’t place the same value on young African Americans, female or male,” said Fulwood, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Parole. “We always assume that there is something that they did behind them disappearing, so therefore the news media, even the police, don't pay the same level of attention.”
Friends of Madden are trying to garner media attention, according to Black America Web.
Despite posting fliers and using social media to spread the word for the mother of six, her unfortunate story has not spread past Detroit. Her cousin, Nikia Scott of the District tried to generate attention for Madden because of the lack of urgency in finding Madden. Here is an excerpt from the Black America Web story:
Derrica Wilson, co-founder of Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., a Hyattsville, Maryland-based nonprofit, agreed, adding that she has been unhappy with overemphasis of Madden’s profession – exotic dancer – and her status as a single mother of six. Wilson said the media has downplayed the fact that Robyn Gardner, the Maryland woman who disappeared during a trip to Aruba in August, went to the island with a man she met on a swinger’s website. This and the fact that Gardner was in a relationship with another man at the time of her disappearance have rarely been discussed in the seemingly non-stop coverage of the case.
"When there’s a missing person of color, they associate the person with negative information. It just seems like our lives are less valued," said Wilson said, who co-founded BAMFI in 2008 with her sister-in-law.
According to the FBI, about 40 percent of all missing cases are of people of color. But it hardly seems like the missing stories we read, watch or hear about would substantiate this startling statistic. What do you think? Are missing persons of color given their fair representation in the media?
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