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The disappearance of Gabby Pepito has stoked the emotions of the mainstream media. However, many people, including MSNBC’s Joy Reid, wonder where the same energy is for missing women of color.
On “The ReidOut,” the journalist agreed that “answers and justice.” But the same rules should apply to non-white families too.
“It goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. And the Petito family certainly deserves answers and justice,” Reid said. “But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?”
Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has been named as a person of interest in her disappearance and apparent death. He returned from a lengthy road trip without Pepito. Laundrie quickly disappeared again after he refused to speak with investigators.
Reid says Pepito’s case is just one of many.
She continued: “Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White woman syndrome. The term coined by the late and great Gwen Iffil to describe the media and public fascination with missing White women like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway while ignoring cases involving missing people of color,” she added, referencing two well-known cases of missing women.”
Derrica Wilson of the Black and Missing Foundation, a panelist on Reid’s show, echoed her sentiments.
“It is definitely the issue,” said Wilson. “And we have been sounding the alarm for nearly 14 years because of this. When it comes to missing persons of color, men, women and children, our cases are not taken seriously, and no one is looking for us if we were to go missing.”
Lynette Grey Bull of Not Our Native Daughters Foundation added, “One of the main factors and one of the key factors that a lot of people don’t want to talk about is that it’s racism. It’s systemic racism. We’re still fighting oppression in our tribal communities. We are still facing inequality across the board, whether it comes to our community, housing, jobs.”
While we hope that Pepito’s killer faces justice, we also want the mainstream media to acknowledge our missing girls and women too.