Monday, January 31, 2011

African American Parents...Are We Part Of The Problem?

January 12th was Phylicia Barnes’ 17th birthday. It’s a day when she should have been planning a party, eating cake, and opening presents. However, there were no celebrations. Instead, her family grieves because she disappeared several weeks ago without a trace. No, she did not run away as the police initially suspected. Anyone will tell you that Phylicia is an overachieving young woman and not a troubled teen with a history of hard partying. In fact, she’s the All American Girl Next Door…with a megawatt smile. This straight “A” and college bound student vanished on December 28, 2010 while visiting family members in Baltimore. As would be expected, her parents are devastated.

It’s easy to draw comparisons between her story and that of Natalee Holloway. Both of them are pretty, smart, and were visiting an unfamiliar place when they disappeared. However, this is as far as the similarities go because although Natalee received around-the-clock coverage, Phylicia’s coverage has been slim by comparison. That’s right, no initial Amber Alert, no news conference, and no 24-hr coverage by CNN. The evening news teams are not camped outside her parents’ homes, and her story has not made the cover of People Magazine or Newsweek. So why is Phylicia’s image not plastered everywhere we look? Is it because she’s Black?” 

Many are crying foul that a teen with such a stellar track record was all but shunned by popular media in the early and critical days of her disappearance. Instead, stories like Kaylee Anthony, Zahra Baker, Haleigh Cummings have consumed most of the airwaves. Don’t get me wrong, they deserve every second of the coverage that they have receive. But why can’t all children/ missing people be given the same attention regardless of race. The answer is simple, black children are lesser valued. Whether they are poor and under privileged, or a super star student like Phylicia, Black kids don’t appeal to the larger public like a White child does.  I doubt that this is a newsflash for anyone. We know the problem, but I want to focus on the solution.

So here’s where I flip it on you!  How can we expect others to care more about our kids than we as people of color do? Let me ask you this!  Do you know more about the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta or what’s going on in Hollywood than you do the names of missing Black kids. Like, do you know what plastic surgery Nene had, who Kim’s baby daddy is, and where Diddy spent the holidays, but don’t know if there are missing African American kids in your town???  Hmmm....You might be part of the problem.

But here’s how to be part of the solution…learn their names and stories. You would be surprised to see how many children of color there are that are currently listed as missing from your state…most without an Amber Alert. Next, is to share this knowledge with everyone you know.

There is so much that the African American community can do to help children like Phylicia and the countless others. Of course, we need to continue to demand that our missing children of color be represented in the news because they, too, are beautiful, valuable, loved, and missed. However, we need to do our part as well!  We can’t expect others to care about our missing children if we don’t even care enough to know learn their names. It’s our community. They are our children. Let’s make them a priority…starting today.

PLEASE..... If you know anything about Phylicia’s case, please call the tipline at 855-223-0033. AND...if you know anything about any missing the authorities.  It's EVERYONE'S job to save our children. :)

Much Love,

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

1 comment:

  1. If what you say is true then this is an act of discrimination. It is quite obvious that white children are more pleasant in the eyes of the public compared to black children. Try reading about how a kid thinks of a black and white doll and you will see the mentality has been passed to them at a very young age.