Nearly a dozen Black girls have gone missing without a trace in our nation’s capital and yet few of us are even aware it’s happening. While some girls have been located, there are far too many whose absence has been ignored by mainstream media in favor of the Case of the Missing Brady Jersey or dissecting the latest 140 characters from 45.
It is not that our media doesn’t have a practice of covering stories of missing children and teens. We’ve witnessed wall-to-wall coverage for the cases of Elizabeth Smart, Natalee Holloway, and Caylee Anthony — and rightfully so. New television programming often revisits evidence in the search for JonBenét Ramsey’s killer(s) over 20 years after her death. Like Smart, Holloway, and Anthony, these are all vulnerable young girls whose lives are in danger of being snuffed out. Like Smart, Holloway, and Anthony, these babies did nothing to warrant their victimization. Still, there remains no sense of urgency to bring back our girls. A chilling reminder that a girl child, particular a Black or Brown girl child, ain’t safe in this world.
“Honey, de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out. So de white man throw down de load and tell de n****r man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De n****r woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”
—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Do Black Girls’ Lives Matter?
The social hierarchy of our society, one that places Black women at its lowest ranks, is no secret. Black girls aren’t afforded the presumption of innocence, fragility, or vulnerability as their peers.