This frustration comes from national media coverage on the recent disappearance of Gabby Petito, a 22 year old woman, who was reported missing on September 11th, after not coming back from a road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie. On September 20th, human remains were found that were identified as Gabriella “Gabby” Petito at a Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Laundrie is a person of interest in the case and has now disappeared.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Wrote about so-called "missing white woman syndrome" back in 2014. Back then, upwards of 40% of missing folks were people of color and yet the media only covered white women like Gabby Petito who disappear. It's worth asking why. <a href=”https://t.co/zsnMxMuoun”>https://t.co/zsnMxMuoun</a></p>— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BritniDWrites/status/1440351599746895876?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>September 21, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
We cannot blame the media for “not caring”
As a black woman myself, I do believe that national coverage and outcry is needed for the 60,000 plus missing black women and girls, but I don’t believe that making Gabby’s story and lack of media attention the scapegoat is a wise decision. It is actually the wrong decision and gets us as community nowhere.
Just last week, The New York Times reported that suicide among black girls has risen by 6.6 percent each year since 2003. I didn’t see any other news outlet cover that story. Not one black celebrity or black media outlets didn’t mention it either.
Black women, I understand that you are frustrated and tired, but your energy is misguided and misdirected…
Last year, I wrote the article ” Awareness for Black Femicide: An Interview with “Our Lives Matter” Founder on ReadUnwritten. I got a chance to interview Rosa, co founder of Our Lives Matter (Black Femicide USA). After the assault and death of black lives matter activist Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, I felt it was my mission to write about femicide in the black community, unfortunately it fell under death ears.
Toyin’s died at the height of BLM in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. Her death got buried by the movement for the sake of the movement. Just like many other black women who have died or been assaulted by the hands of black men, everyone is afraid to speak up because it will be turning our backs on our men. That fear and dangerous loyalty is one of the many reasons why black women don’t speak up. Many black women are afraid to hold black men and black women accountable, nobody wants to “betray the race”. A prime example of this is when Tory Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion.
If we don’t hold our community accountable we will never find justice for our missing black children and women! We can’t say we want media coverage and then at the same time not want to speak up! And when black women do speak up we should not silence them because we fear of stereotyping black men.
The black community has not made black women’s safety a priority
What about our girls?
Black women experience higher rates of domestic violence than any other group of women in the US besides Native American Women. Meaning more black women are killed, sexually assaulted, and missing than white women. Ask yourself why it is that way. When black girls speak up who silences them? When black women get assaulted why do we victim blame? Our culture isn’t built to self-police or to protect.
We say policing should be the last result when we say DEFUND THE POLICE. What does that mean for justice for harmed black women and black girls? We might have meant for police reform when we screamed Defund the Police, but we forgot quickly that words have power and sometimes that power may not work in our favor.
When we talk about police brutality we forget about who needs protecting the most! Our culture hasn’t made safety or justice a priority within our own community so why are we expecting news media and outlets to do the work for us? In order for the media to care, we have to care!
Missing black girls don’t get coverage but who put BLM on the map? How did Defund the Police make front page news? Who made Sha’ Carri Richardson a superstar?
It wasn’t white media, it was us, and specifically black women. Black women, if you want people to care about us you got to care about us!