Paula Hill is the mother of missing Black Girl Shemika Cosey, who disappeared without a trace in 2008. St. Louis, Missouri police refused to look for the 16-year-old because they assumed she ran away.
However, Paula says that even if Shemika took off on her own, she didn’t mean to be gone for 10 years. Parents like her and loved ones of other missing Black children spoke with ABC News.
The parents say that just a fraction of the press used to look for Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, Laci Peterson and other missing Caucasian women could do a world of good for locating African American children gone missing.
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NCMEC Statistics on Missing People of Color
The Washington, DC based National Center for Missing And Exploited Children is the country’s most important agency when it comes to solving America’s missing persons cases.
And, as we know, there is racial bias… a glitch in the system that doesn’t protect, look for or help find America’s missing Black children.
Robert Lowery leads the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children. According to him, about 800,000 Americans disappear every year. He says that a whopping 60% of people reported missing in the US are People of Color, noting:
“I think it really breaks a lot of commonly held thoughts on who are really the missing children in the U.S.”
If you’re interested in the math, that’s roughly 480,000 missing People of Color added to the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children every year.
Black Americans only make up about 13.4% of the entire US population, according to a 2018 US Census Bureau report. Yet, 30% of all reported missing persons in 2018 were Black. AND ONLY ABOUT 1/5 of those cases ever make into the news.
This is according to a scholastic analysis entitled Missing White Woman Syndrome: An Empirical Analysis of Race and Gender Disparities in Online News Coverage of Missing Persons published by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
Let’s Do the Math on America’s Missing People of Color
Now, let’s see if we can break this math down…
- Of the estimated 327,167,434 people in the US, only 43,840,436 are Black
- Of the 800,000 Americans who go missing annually, 480,000 are People of Color
- Of the estimated 480,000 missing People of Color in America, only 96,000 ever make the news… and for most, that coverage is very limited
The Common Runaway Theory
Black families searching for missing kids say that their young loved ones are usually labeled as runaways. Police and media make loved ones feel as if their missing children are somehow not worth the attention.
And even when they are runaways, shouldn’t their loved ones still expect the media and police to react? They search for and rescue little white girls who run away all the time.
In the past few years, there have been dozens of missing kid cases with massive search efforts on the ground that make national headline news. HOWEVER, the common thread among these big news cases is that they involve missing white people.
When Mariah Woods, a 3-year-old white girl, went missing in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at least two black children in a neighboring county were also missing. Yet, only the missing white girl had over 700 people searching on foot for her. And the news coverage over her case went national.
Video: Nearly 800,000 Americans Go Missing Each Year… 60% Are People of Color… 30% Are Black #MissingReport
Check out this video about the missing People of Color, specifically women and children, in America. Learn why these missing cases don’t get widespread media attention and what’s being done to shed more light on our missing loved ones.