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.