Nov. 4th, 2011

loopychew: (Default)
Since I haven't figured out my tumblr yet, I'll be reblogging more or less manually. This is from my friend [livejournal.com profile] lirazel, and I think it's pretty important:

I rarely do this.

I rarely ask my friends to respond to a posting by linking to an article or some other post somewhere in their own blogs -- something that's called "boosting the signal" in a bold borrowing from broadcast media.

However, I came across this Boston Globe blog post today. Let me quote:

She is 5 years old, she is from Glendale, Ariz., she was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and pink flip-flops, and she is black.

The last characteristic matters, and not only because Jahessye Shockley's family needs the public's help to find their little girl alive. It matters because according to the Justice Department, children of color make up 65 percent of all missing children cases; 42 percent of those are African-American, 23 percent Latino.

It matters that Jahessye is black because despite those statistics, of which she has now become a part, the face of the missing child in America has long been, and continues to be, a white face. Six years ago, it was Baby Jessica. Right now, it's Baby Lisa.

A Google search crudely but clearly suggests the disparity in the cases of these two girls, who vanished within days of each other in October. "Jahessye Shockley," 143,000 hits. "Baby Lisa Irwin," 3.8 million hits. Another expression of the disparity, less scientific but sobering nonetheless: reward amount in the Shockley case: $11,000, offered by law enforcement and the group Silent Witness. Reward amount in the Baby Lisa case: $100,000, offered by an anonymous donor.


This strikes me as so unjust and so important that I am asking you (yes, you in the Comfy Chair) to post links to this story where and as you can. Here's another.

Warning -- when you Google this story, you will find that Jahessye's home life is complex -- her mother once pleaded no contest to child abuse charges, and when Jahessye was reported missing the State of Arizona took her three older siblings out of the home and has not, so far, provided a reason. The cute little white girls who have recently gone missing or turned up dead also lived in circumstances that were/are complex. The injustice comes when we care more about the poor white child than about the poor black child, as if the disappearance and death of children of color is only to be expected.

If you read the article, you will also come across another story -- a small black child kidnapped from his bedroom. His mother was accused of abusing and possibly killing him, when, as it turns out, he had brittle bone syndrome. He's never been found, and is probably dead. The reward offered for information in his case? $1,000 USD.

Jahessye, and other missing and exploited children of color deserve to be found and brought home. If we make enough noise, we can help make sure that money and attention are at least more equally distributed. It may not help, but it couldn't hurt.

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