Why Don’t Missing Black Women and Girls Get the Same Mainstream Media Coverage as Gabrielle Petito?

(l-r) Tawny Reed, Aneesa Reed, Ashantay Jones and Keaisha Hayes-Prater (PHOTOS COURTESY OF NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN)

As outspoken Black people, we’re often asked: Why make everything about race?

It must be an easy question to ask when you’re white and severely limited in the capability of fathoming what marginalization looks and feels like since whiteness is America’s default. So when any given situation arises—whether it be a case of police brutality, a school fight, a crime committed, a lost job, an application rejection or what have you—and Black people wonder out loud how things would be different if the people involved were of a different race, we’re often met with rolled eyes, willful indifference or outright scorn and condemnation for “race-baiting.”

Many of you have probably heard about the story of 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito, the woman who left New York on July 2 for a months-long cross-country trip full of sightseeing and camping with her fiancée, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie. If you’re not familiar with Petito, you can simply Google her name and see her name, face and story pop up on the New York Times, the New York PostInsiderNBCCBSABC, the Washington Post and countless other local and national mainstream media networks.

On Aug. 12, close to a month and a half after Petito and Laundrie’s trip began, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a report of a “domestic problem” after the couple had “some sort of argument” that turned physical and ended in the two having to be separated with Petito keeping the van they were traveling in while police arranged for Laundrie to stay in a hotel. According to the police report, the couple convinced the authorities to classify the disturbance as a “mental/emotional health ‘break,’” rather than a domestic assault because they were in love and “desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.” (Right now you might be asking yourself, “What if they were Black?” and we’re not even at that part yet.)

Laundrie returned to his house in North Port, Fla., on Sept. 1 without Petito, who was reported missing 10 days later. Laundrie is now considered a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, but not a suspect.

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SOURCE: NewsOne, Zack Linly

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