Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missing white woman's syndrome

Media outlets seem to devote more coverage to white crime victims, than non-white crime victims.

Journalist Gwen Ifill uses the perfect phrase for this type of "selective" media coverage. It's called "Missing White Woman Syndrome." And the criteria is simple. Your victim, must be white, upper-middle class and attractive. I'm talking about the kind of woman or child, every reporter can describe as "petite" or say "she has the perfect life, until... ."

Sheri Parks, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Parks further describes this phenomenom as "pretty, white damsels in distress." These are the types of victims, who attract viewers 24/7.

A few familiar names, Laci Peterson and Jon Benet Ramsey.They were both murder victims. We know this because for days, weeks, and even months, their faces were shown on every tv news program available.

How many times did we see former prosecutor turned Court TV reporter Nancy Grace's "no-holds barred, in your face, point the finger" coverage of these females? Mrs. Grace really let's the public have it, to the point of convicted someone when a white female succumbs to tragedy.

When Grace appeared on the Larry King Show, August 18, 2003 she made her position very clear. "KING: ... you do "the killer" as if you think Scott Peterson is the killer? GRACE: Well, I think I've made it very clear all along...KING: Oh, OK.GRACE: ... that statistically speaking, that the most likely perpetrator in this case is someone close to a pregnant...KING: That's statistically.GRACE: ... murder victim. And in this case, placing himself at the scene of her dead body is a huge, huge clue. And I think to ignore that would be derelict in the duty of the police and the prosecutor."

Grace, along with other media made their rounds almost campaigning for these women. Which is fine, because oftentimes, it's the help of the public that aides in the capture of killers. But what about women like Dorothy Dixon or Sherri Iverson? Do you know their faces or their stories? Most likely, you don't. They too are crime victims, only they're black.