Throughout history, there has always been a discrepancy between the treatment of minorities and white people. When it comes to the missing person epidemic, it all started because a 6-year-old white boy named Etan Patz went missing in 1979. His picture was the first to be displayed on milk cartons, as a part of a campaign run by the National Child Safety Council to increase the spread of missing faces. Obviously there were people missing before this but this white boy was a priority and from it came more media attention. Authorities started to realize that the best way to spread the word of people's disappearance was on the side of a milk carton because it was published with more frequency. A police commander Joe Mayo said “Their faces will be there at the breakfast table…. People will have to think about it.” This started a major trend of tunnel-visioned media towards missing white Americans. But as time continued America's focus drifted from young white boys to young white girls. This pattern has continued until today with television broadcast, Amber Alerts, and laws and legislation that prioritizes missing white females. Two of the most popular missing people cases are white women that are in their late teens or early 20’s, Natalee Holloway and Maura Murray. These women and other missing white women have gained such presence in the media ranging from conspiracy theories to Netflix docuseries. Young women of color disappear at a disproportionate rate yet their stories never get told simply because of the color of the skin. Regardless of where they come from, the skin tone determines the way in which authorities and media support the families in their troublesome act of finding their children. Black children only make up 7% of media references and when mentioned in the media it is after a ton of push back. An example of this would be The Missing DC Girls Movement. It gaged media presence because people were demanding for authorities to help the families through the #MissingDCGirls.
Most of these women are labeled “runaways” causing them to be overlooked by the system and increasing the likelihood of them being sex trafficked and/or murdered. The disregard for these young women has always been present and continues to be as indigenous, black, and Latinx women become the targets of countless crimes. The question is, when will we give a voice to those communities who are frequently targeted.