Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Plight of Missing Black Men and Boys

Delshawn and Rakaem Green

I understand that it is normal for most people, male or female, to have less concern about the well being of men as compared to women as well as to have less concern over the well being of boys compared to girls. Men traditionally have been viewed as the stronger sex and traditionally viewed as being in less need of aid, comfort, support, etc. As flawed as this is, it is something that I and most men accept even with today’s growing one sidedness regarding gender double standards (expecting a man to fulfill the manly role is fine but expecting a woman to fulfill a “woman’s role” is chauvinistic).

The problem is that in order to justify their victimism, the so called “black women empowerment bloggers” love to declare that society, the media, black community, etc. show less concern over the well being of black women than they do all other groups including black men. They truly express that there are those who jump to the aid and rescue of black men and boys while turning a blind eye to black women and girls in distress. Where they got this from is a mystery, but when you really dig for the truth, you find something quite the opposite from their assertions. For example:

Missing black men get even less media than black women
By: Diasia
Ellerbee, NNPA Special Correspondent

Posted: Monday, April 20, 2009
12:37 pm

"Why don't you talk about me? Don't you care where I might be?
Am I the wrong color to have my story on TV?"

"Why don't I get air time?
Is it the fact that I don't have naturally
straight hair? Is it that America
isn't interested? Is it that America just doesn't care?"

CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News Why don't you talk about me?! Don't you care where I
might be?! Am I the wrong color to have my story on TV?!"

Each one above
is from the poem "Black Woman Missing" by George L. Cook III. The poem
represents the lack of national media focus on missing Black women
- but, Black males get even less.

According to Connie
Marstiller of the National Crime Information Center, there were 614,925 people
missing in 2008 under the age of 18. About 16 percent, were Black men.

During that same year there were 163,239 people missing over the age of
18, according to Marstiller. Approximately 14 percent, represent missing Black
males over the age 18.

African-American men and boys such as William Van
Croft IV, 17, Wallace Richards, 23, Dennis Palmer, 44, and Adji Desir, 6, are
currently missing and have not yet received the national media attention as
other missing people such as Laci Peterson, Elizabeth Smart, or Haleigh
Cummings; white women usually get more attention than men of all races when they
are missing. is an online blog site that is
dedicated to informing the public about missing Black children both male and
female that may or may not have been heard about in the media.

to, Adji Desir is an
African-American boy who
has been missing since January 10 from Immokalee, Fla. Desir is developmentally
disabled with the mental capacity of a two-year-old.

If you put both
these names in Yahoo's search engine, Adji Desir name will produce 478,000
results. Haleigh Cummings name will produce 4,440,000 results, which is 10
percent more.

Both children went missing around the same time and in the
same state. Although conditions of their disappearances are different, does race
or gender play a factor in the national media attention that they receive?

Clearly, yes, says Derrica Wilson, president and CEO of Black &
Missing Foundation, Inc., an online website that provides exposure and
educational training for the missing persons loved ones.

Wilson believes
that when it comes to African-American boys, people are more likely to associate
their disappearance as being a runaway. Wilson mentions that the Black
men on her website never receive national attention and are never seen on

"Therefore there is no amber alert and without an
amber alert there is no media coverage locally or nationally," said Wilson. "Now when it comes to Black men, there are more missing Black men in the
United States than missing Black women, according to the FBI missing person's
The reason I believe that Black men do not receive media
exposure is because society, media, and law enforcement like to relate their
disappearance to drugs, crime, or violence."

Missing children's
activist and founder of the online blog "," Alonzo Washing_ton agree
that African-American men and boys get the least amount of media attention among
missing people.

In terms of Black males, the only Black males
that would receive coverage would be someone of high stature, according to
Washington. "If you're grown, a man, and Black, then you can forget
about it," Washington said. "Young Black boys may get a little teaser, but never
an ongoing investigation like Caylee Anthony, Elizabeth Smart or Samantha

"The mindset of the media is that if it bleeds it
leads," said Detective Richard Adams of the Youth Investigation Division Missing
Person Unit in the District of Columbia. "Media wants something sensational,"
Adams said. "They have to have something fantastic and that's going to catch the
viewer's eye. It's all about numbers and ratings to them."

William Van
Croft IV has been missing from the District since January 31, 2009. He has
Asperger's Syndrome and went missing a year after the death of his father.

According to Jason Cherkis who writes an online blog for the Washington
City Paper, the police department waited until February 11, 2009 to issue a
press release.

In his blog, he cited a comment by Cherita Whiting that
speculated an indifference in Van Croft's case. Whiting is a activist for
education in the D.C. metropolitan area.

"Billy's mother filed a missing
person report with DC Youth Investigations on Jan 31", Whiting said. "It sat on
a desk somewhere and they just started investigating this case on 2/10. I have
sent multiple messages to the At-Large Council members and every Police officer
that I can find who is associated with
Ward 1 Precinct 107. It would make
sense that a missing person, especially a special needs teenager could get the
attention of the police and public officials to at least have the police issue a
press release that the child is missing. This has not been done. When the press
release occurs, the media responds and starts spreading the word that Billy is

Washington also believes that when it comes to
African-American children especially males, the police will say that they ran

"When it comes to the area you live in, your color, and gender,
the more unlikely the police will be in finding you and the less the media will
cover you," Washington said. "Even when Jennifer's Hudson nephew was missing,
her story took the backseat to the Caylee Anthony story. They covered it for a
minute, and now it's like it didn't happen."

According to Detective
Adams, every police department has their own way of handling a missing person's

Tim Ryan is an assistant news director for KUSA, a local NBC
station in Denver, CO.

Ryan said that in almost every case, it's about
if law enforcement decided how important the case is. He believes that the media
needs some sort of belief or standard for the stories that they report on.

"Local news people like myself are not the ones who determines what
makes local news," Ryan said. "There are certain reasons why stories get played
or not. I can't tell you if race does play a role. There are cases that we
covered of all races that hasn't received national media coverage. Things that
national news is whimsical. I think it is important to state that local
media does not make those choices."

Martin G. Reynolds is the editor of
the Oakland Tribune in California. Reynolds said that they don't necessarily
have a reporter dedicated to missing children and that it would have to come
across the radar for us to report about it.

When told about the numbers
of missing African-American males, Reynolds said:

"They get less
positive attention...There is plenty negative attention.
We were not
aware that there was such a large number particularly in African-American
children. It was something I wasn't aware of, but something I will look into."

Reporter Kathy Chaney for the Chicago Defender believes that
Black males do get far less national media coverage
which leads to
families looking for other media outlets such as the Jerry Springer, Maury
Povich, or Steve Wilkos show.

Chaney admits that when the Chicago
Defender was daily they had a problem reporting missing children because they
would be found the next day and the newspaper would have already printed the

"I think they get far less coverage," said Chaney. "I think it's
because they are boys. It's just not reported of teenage boys running away. I
don't think that anyone expects them of running away or missing. You think of
foul play immediately."

Adji Desir and William Van Croft IV are still
missing and they need their stories heard.

"There is a defect in
journalism when a certain prototype is given more media coverage," Washing_ton
said. "There is clearly a standard in television. There are so many
ramifications we have to fight for. There are some disparities when it comes to
equality in the value of our lives."


Menelik Charles said...

@ Bro Rocky,

I 'stood' by and waited patiently for comments on this subject but I suspected all along that few would emerge.

Our collective silence pretty much confirms everything you wrote.


Menelik Charles
London England

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for the "something new crew" to show up.

Collective silence can also mean that we are in agreement of the article, too.

Emmett Till comes to mind. Racial profiling comes to mind. Third world babies (aka "stolen property") come to mind - sort of like slavery, exploitation of Africa, sweatshops, and the stolen legacy of ancient Egypt in Africa.


Anonymous said...

In order for people to care about random black men and boys, they have to believe that black men and boys are worth caring about.

Right now, people look at black men and boys as a "lost cause" - in other words, unsavory people probably engaged in unsavory activities (especially if you're talking about a black man or an older black boy).

For all intents and purposes, people feel that black men and boys are not worth being concerned about unless they're related to or have some connection to the "victim".

Black men and older boys (anyone over 12) need a new "brand" (a new image). Is anyone going to take on this monumental task or will it be the same old complaining about what someone else is (or is not) doing to (or for) the po' black man?

No one is going to "rebrand" black men except black men themselves. Call me an "elitist" if you want but I don't think that a "rebranding" effort will work with underclass black males (it's too late for them). It will only work with middle-class (or higher) black males.

Anonymous said...

The "crew" showed up.

Here we go again. The "crew" needs to visit the klan sites.


Anonymous said...

"Here we go again. The "crew" needs to visit the klan sites. PacMan"

Why would anyone take someone who calls himself "PacMan" seriously?

I'm basically agreeing with the article: black males are devalued in the US. That is not going to change. The difference is that I believe it is basically the fault of black males themselves.

In approximately 30 years, black MEN will be practically extinct in the US.

For starters, look at the prison stats. Look at the HIV/AIDS stats. Look at the murder stats (both victim and perpetrator). Check out the levels of substance abuse among black males. Fully 1/2 of black men in New York City are unemployed. This mirrors black male unemployment trends nationally.

PS: Regarding the horrific HIV/AIDS statistics in black constructs, straight black men COULD join forces with BLACK GAY MEN to combat the black HIV/AIDS epidemic but the two groups are not on speaking terms mainly because of the extreme HOMOPHOBIA of UNEVOLVED straight black men. Too bad. Perhaps some of you will wake up before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps anonymous didn't read about the black female kindergartner who was arrested and charged with a felony and 2 misdemeanors. Racism plagues both genders.


Anonymous said...

No, I had not heard of the incident you are referring to. It's certainly not a TREND that black female kindergartners are being charged with felonies and misdemeanors.

Whenever someone comments about what is going on with black men and boys, someone ALWAYS responds by citing what's happening to black women and girls.

Yes, there are bad things happening to black women and girls. The difference is that black females are not considered a threat to the social order in the US.

Black men and older boys, on the other hand, are considered a threat to the social order. They are, therefore, being eliminated in subtle and not so subtle ways. The elimination is happening slowly but steadily so as not to be too obvious to the casual observer.

What are BLACK MEN going to do about it?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, it's like black men are so blind to what their peers are doing. It's desperate when you start blaming women. No other race does that. But then again no other race under-achieves like black men. Not even in their own continent of Africa do they have their shit together. They are a destructive mess WORLDWIDE!!
No one told useless blackmen to pick up guns and shoot each other, or stab each other or drop out of school at a higher rate than their female counterparts, then turn around and blame black women for wanting to get ahead in life.
I could go on, we all know that, why the hell aren't YOU seeing and addressing that.
Where exactly on this blog are you confronting what black men are doing to THEMSELVES?
Do not blame black women. The same way you blame black women being more in charge of their lives, fucking do the same! Be a man!

I will never respect any man who blames the whole world but himself for problems only he creates.

Anonymous said...

Look at Barack Obama. He wasn't raised by a black man, his useless father typically ran out on him. There's a famous example of the trend of black male traits, they run out on their kids.
He was raised by a white man and Asian stepfather, and white mother.Where was black daddy? Having more kids with multiple women, and this is an educated man remember.
I doubt he would have gotten far if his dad was involved. There are famous black and biracial celebrities who didn't grow up with their fathers at home.
Painful isn't it? That's why it cracks me up when black men want to claim Barack. He's biracial, NOT black.
Black men are very good at flexing their sexual prowess, understand THAT is what is at the root of it all. They are useless at taking care of their kids. We all know kids that grew up without their black dads. Black women at least stick around to raise their kids.
The black woman does what she can to raise those kids alone, taking on the role of the man as well and provide by herself. When she can't do it all you blame her, not the useless black man for not taking care of his responsibilties.
WAKE UP blackmen.
Talk to your own brothers, don't act like they don't exist.
You bash black women at their forums for ignoring their loud ghetto sisters but you too have your head buried in the sand about parasitic black men.
Without black women the black community would flounder, they are the heart of the community. It's certainly not black men, they are running it to the ground.
I for one give black women their credit where it's due.

Water said...

I reflexively regained my composure as if I had been sucker punched in the stomach. Such was the impact of this post on me as I held back the tears, almost ...

That could have been me missing or my brother, so yeah I take this issue to heart...

Smh no one gives a dam about us!

Thats for being awareness, peace!