Amir Jennings, Zaylee Fryar and Joshua Davis

HuffPo has run an article with the headline: “Amir Jennings, Missing Boy, Neglected By Media Because He’s A Black Boy, Not A White Girl?”

I have written before that I think there’s a lot more to it than race. (I think it’s one of my better entries.) And yes, Amir Jennings should be getting more attention than he has. But I can think of a few babies who are getting absolutely no attention right now. All of whom disappeared the same year as Amir.

Babies like one-year-old Joshua Davis. And Zaylee Fryar, at a mere three months. The most recent article I can find for Joshua is from February, on the anniversary of his disappearance. For Zaylee it’s even longer.

Amir, Joshua and Zaylee all happen to be minorities. Certainly that’s a factor in the media attention, or lack thereof. But I think just as great as a factor is that in all three of these cases, it’s not clear the child was abducted by a stranger. Rightly or wrongly, there’s a lot of suspicion swirling around on family members in all three cases. I think, when there’s clear and convincing evidence of a stranger abduction (like, with Elizabeth Smart), the story becomes more popular with the media because it plays on people’s fears.

That kind of crime could happen to anybody, to any family. But people tell themselves that disappearances like Zaylee’s and Amir’s and Joshua’s only happen in messed-up families with crazy, drugged-up parents. Not families like yours. That would never happen to a family like yours.

I think that’s also why, in a high-profile missing child case, people are so anxious to go over the family with a microscope, exposing all their flaws, quick to judge the parents based on how hard they cry on TV. Because they don’t want to admit that this could happen to anyone. They don’t want to confront themselves with the truth that it happened to a perfectly normal family, because that means it could happen to you.

Do you think this theory applies to Amir’s case and others like it? Discuss.

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6 thoughts on “Amir Jennings, Zaylee Fryar and Joshua Davis

  1. Princess Shantae September 14, 2012 / 11:11 am

    You are probably right that there’s more to it than race. At least, I sure hope you are right.
    I think Joshua Davis’s mother was on one of the morning news shows not too long ago, a couple months?
    Lisa Irwin’s case is pretty similar: she was supposed to have disappeared from home in the middle of the night, maybe somebody saw somebody else carrying a baby around in the dark and maybe not. There is some doubt about the mother’s story, etc. Lisa’s case got a big amoutn of media attention but nothing lately. And she is as white as they come, even got blonde hair and blue eyes, if I remember right.
    I think the bottom line is the media and the public has a short attention span, and if no new leads pop up they move on to the next story. Caylee Anthony got a lot more attention from the media, and I think that’s because stories kept changing, new ugly facts kept turning up, and all that.

    • Meaghan September 14, 2012 / 3:33 pm

      Yeah, watching the story evolve is a big part of it. Look at Haleigh Cummings for example, and her family’s ongoing soap opera.

  2. Princess Shantae September 14, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    With Haleigh Cummings there was also the ick factor. You know that website People of Wal-Mart? Haleigh’s family is like that, they gross you out but you can’t stop watching the train wreck.
    Ever seen that new show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? It is a reality show that follows this nasty trailer-trash family around, and it focuses on the youngest daughter whose real name is Alana but her nickname is Honey Boo Boo. She’s an overweight unattractive child who still does beauty pageants, and she talks like she’s brain damaged or something. They have to use subtitles sometimes so you can understand what she says, that’s how bad it is. That’s a train wreck too. Not People of Wal-Mart. That show is People of Save-a-Lot. lol
    Anyway, my point is that sleazy sells.

    • Meaghan September 14, 2012 / 5:56 pm

      The Cummings family pretty much defines “white trash.” I feel so sorry for that little girl, and more sorry for her brother. Let’s face it, Haleigh is probably dead and her suffering is over. But her brother is going to grow up with that legacy.

      I’ve heard of Honey Boo Boo. I heard they actually had her walking around with a fake cigarette imitating some star or other. What’s next — her injecting saline into her veins for the cameras? That kid is going to be really messed up when she grows up.

      Last night — and I assure you this was because the remote had disappeared and I couldn’t change the channel — I watched a docu-bio of Britney Spears. I felt so sorry for her. That kind of life — superstardom — is not good for anybody, especially a child/teenager. It ruined her.

  3. Princess Shantae September 14, 2012 / 6:29 pm

    Its too bad that real talent no longer seems to matter. All you have to do to be famous is be famous. Britney Spears has nothing going for her except her looks. She cannot sing. Ten or twelve years ago when she was just getting famous I saw her on TV when they lit the national Christmas tree. She sang live, and she butchered a simple Christmas carol. She had no business being on the bill there with Enrique Iglesias and Natalie Cole.
    Then on American Idol you have these people that go up on the stage and say Oh, all my friends keep telling me what a great voice I have and how I should be a star, and they start singing and they sound like somebody strangling a goat or something. Either their friends have no taste or else they’re very mean and having a big laugh at the poor dumb singer making a fool of himself on national TV.
    My husband is a teacher and he thinks kids today get too much praise so nothing is of value to them. Their parents and teachers make a big deal out of every little thing they do, even if its just something they’re supposed to do anyway. There isn’t any reason to try to accomplish something special or to improve at something if all you hear is how great you do.

    • Meaghan September 14, 2012 / 6:32 pm

      Well you could always go the Asian “Tiger Mom” route I suppose. “Straight A’s? WHERE ARE THE PLUSES? Get back to your books, young man!”

      At college I met this girl and we were comparing ACT scores. Her first score was like a 32, which is Harvard-level. She re-took it. I said, “Why?” And she said, “Well…I’m Asian.” And I was like, “Oh, right, okay.”

      My first score was a 26, incidentally. In like the 75th precentile or something, and I was only 15 and had been entirely out of school for a year. I took it again twice, got it up to a 28 and decided that was good enough.

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