The media, the police, care less about the missing black people. HBO’s new doc wants to change that.


The flood of news coverage after Gabby Petito’s disappearance last summer also surprised her own father.

“It’s a shame if you don’t do it to the other people (who) are missing, because it’s not just Gabby (who) deserves it,” Joseph Petito told the media at a Sept. 28 press conference. “See for yourself why it’s not being done.”

The 22-year-old Petito has not returned from a summer road trip with her fianc ಬ್ Brian Laundry, and has since died of strangulation. Nestled in her bright blue eyes, blonde locks and bright smile news programs, Natalie Holloway is another young, white woman who disappeared in 2005 while celebrating her high school graduation in Aruba.

Tamika Huston, a 24-year-old black woman who lost her life in 2004

Promoters say in HBO’s documentaries, “Black and Missing” (Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 EST) / PST). “I think in my mind, ‘Well, here’s my niece. She’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s missing. Her story is equally fascinating. The only difference is that Tamika’s black; Natalie Holloway is white.’

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Doesn’t matter Gabby Petito needs justice and accept the thousands who are still missing. We have to.

The new series focuses on the black and missing foundation co-founded by Sisters Natalie and Derica Wilson in 2008, when they noticed the same imbalance for Derrick’s hometown, Huston from Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“Black and Missing” brings to light a number of such cases and, as the series states, “black cases are four times more unsettled than white people.”

Adrian Sebro, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Texas at Austin, attributes the gaps to victims’ media coverage. “With mostly white male-led newsrooms, it’s usually ‘what’s the market for?’ Or ‘Who wants and is respected?’ Who gets attention, ”he says. “All these missing people are entitled to coverage, but when white women go missing there is a clear overrepresentation in the media and when black, brown or Native women go missing.”

Adrian Sebro, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Texas at Austin, believes that greater media coverage of black-eyed individuals will reduce the time spent resolving these cases.

Natalie and Derica are “willing to be the solution,” says Derica. “My background in law enforcement, (and) Natalie’s background in public relations, are two critical careers needed to find our missing persons.”

Adds Natalie Wilson: “We can name Natalie Holloways, Chandra Lewis, Gabby Petitos. This is not only disrespectful to their families, but also our missing thing.”

According to the FBI (using the National Crime Information Center’s missing person and unknown person files), black people account for 32% of the 89,637 missing persons cases in 2020, but only 12% of the population according to the census. Data.

“As African Americans, we are more vulnerable to being hunted by predators and traffickers, especially when it comes to grooming and luring,” Natalie says in the documentaries. “These predators know no one is looking for these black children because their lives are not worth it.”

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Natalie Wilson, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Black and Missing Foundation, has been featured in the HBO documentaries on the agency and its fight to enhance missing persons.

Derica Wilson says missing cases of black people are often ignored. “Our children are often classified as fugitives,” he says, meaning they are not eligible for the Amber Alert, an emergency message issued when a child is abducted.

“When it comes to the colors of missing men and women, their disappearance is associated with some form of criminal activity that dehumanizes and undermines the fact that they are missing (s).” It starts with law enforcement and then it goes on. , Of course, the cases are not shared to the media because the cases are not taken seriously. “

The organization helps families with missing children learn how to tell their argument to the media.

“There are a lot of biases: if you look a certain way, if you speak in a certain way, even the photos we share on social media. If it’s not relevant, people don’t tend to ‘like’ or share them,” says Natalie. “We want families to connect with the audience and know that they only have a few seconds to do so and we want to change the narrative that the missing person is involved in some form of criminal activity or that their life doesn’t.

“I’m quite honest,” he continues, “as a black mother, you can’t come across as an angry black woman because people see black women with anger and we are not. We are frustrated with the system many times.”

Sister-in-law Natalie and Derica Wilson founded the Black and Missing Foundation in 2008, then noted the difference in coverage for people of color.

Journalist Gwen Eiffel spoke on “Missing White Woman Syndrome” at the 2004 Unity: Journalists of Color Conference. He joked: “If there’s a missing white woman, we cover it every day.” But 17 years later, “Black and Missing” executive producer Soledad O’Brien says the scope of inequality in media attention is limited. “People are just starting to say, ‘Who are these other women? What is happening systematically?

Sebro welcomes new attention, embraces new awarenessRacial injustices, police brutality and systemic racism.

“Media companies know it’s time to talk about these kinds of things,” he says. “These things can’t be ignored anymore.”

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