I’m a hopeless and profound news junkie. There are few things I enjoy more than scouring through apps like CNN, Fox News, BBC News, et al. for the latest stories from around the world. So imagine my surprise and subsequent consternation that, when news of the missing girls of DC went “mainstream” among the black and Latino community on social media, I was hard-pressed to find any extensive coverage of it on the sites or apps associated with the big brand name news outlets.
To be fair, there are serious things occurring with this Donald Trump and his rocky presidency. The man has a dark sort of charisma that makes it almost impossible to not cover him. This country has never beheld such a glorious train wreck with our collective eyes.
But we are talking missing girls, here. MISSING GIRLS. Someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, friend … Human life in jeopardy. And it should terrify us that each of these Black and Latina children are all girls.
But along with he justifiable outrage, one must ask why … Why is it that there is so little mainstream coverage regarding an issue that is so horrendous and horrifying in scope? Why aren’t there Senate hearings, an FBI probe or at least a solid commitment by the Attorney General of the United States to get to the bottom of this horrendous situation? The meager response from AG Sessions’ office when called on by members of the Congressional Black Caucus for resources to resolve the matter was, “The Attorney General is aware of the reports and is looking into the issue.” Really, Sessions? That’s all these girls deserve? A flippant, curt retort that amounts to nothing more than a polished way of saying, “I can’t be bothered”? In the very least the nation’s top law enforcement officer should have put together a press conference and, even if he didn’t mean it, expressed his sympathies to the families of these missing children. It would’ve been good optics for him and provided some assurance to the families. A win/win, as they say. But no, Mr. Sessions couldn’t be bothered to even fake that he cares about these girls.
And herein lies the symptom that belies a larger, historical issue that has been a cancer on our society since the establishing of our republic: America has historically devalued the lives of minorities against the lives of their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. The Three-Fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787) declared that for purposes of representation Congress, enslaved blacks would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. During the most violent, egregious and turbulent moments of the Civil Rights Era, Blacks, Latinos and anyone who sympathized with their cause for equal justice were humiliated, beaten, tortured, shot and lynched en masse and with impunity.
In recent times we’ve seen the systematic slaughter of African American men by police officers for petty offenses with predominately no consequences (And in truth, this advent is nothing new, it’s just that in the day of portable live streaming and camera phones, these officers are getting caught in the act more often). By comparison white mass murderers such as Timothy McVeigh (168 murdered, 600 injured, Oklahoma City Bombing – 1995), James Holmes (Aurora Colorado Theater Shooting -12 murdered, 70 injured) and Dylan Roof (9 murdered, 1 injured-Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church) are taken peacefully and without a single scratch into custody. So it would seem that, even in the wake of committing of the most heinous crimes, white individuals are seen as more valuable that minority lives.
And if you’ve followed me, this blog or my podcast for any time at all, you will know that I’m not saying that “white people” are the problem. No, not by a long shot. What I’m saying is, whoever holds this backwards, racist, dismissive, egregious and insidious mindset that would so readily dismiss these missing minority children, is. As I write this, AG Jeff Sessions is holding a press conference about immigration and sanctuary cities but not a single word about these missing girls, nor is anyone in the press corps asking questions about what’s being done to locate these young women.
It’s a shame what’s going on in this regard and it’s an even deeper shame that for many Americans this is seen as normal and ok. That the authorities can sweep this under the proverbial rug by stating openly that the reason that there hasn’t been a more concerted effort to find these children is because when children of color go missing, it’s assumed that they’re runaways rather than victims of abduction.
This is sad on so many levels but the hope here is that it will inspire all Americans from all backgrounds and ethnicities to come together and care more about one another and realize this one incontrovertible fact: we need one another.
More as this story develops.
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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