BLACK LIVES MATTER

Why Missing Black Women Won't Make Headlines As Gabby Petito Did

Systemic racism in media coverage ‘others’ Black and Brown women and desensitizes the public

Allison Wiltz
LEVEL
Published in
4 min readSep 22, 2021

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Photo by Francisco Andreotti on Unsplash

Every year, over half a million people go missing in America. That's a lot of people wholly unaccounted for, gone without a trace. And, while society should pay a lot more attention to these disappearances across the board, the very little air time allotted to these cases centers almost exclusively on White women. Experts dubbed this racially homogenous coverage "missing White woman syndrome."

When 22-year old Gabby Petito went missing for three weeks, her case went viral on social media, with major networks universally picking up the story of her disappearance. Their outrage was justified, as investigators discovered her body on Tuesday, which the medical examiner ruled a homicide.

Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, was characterized by law enforcement as a person of interest. However, since he returned to his Florida home alone on September 1st without Gabby, her family has continued questioning his role in her disappearance.

"He is not missing. He's hiding," Gabby's father tweeted last weekend. This story is heartbreaking. No parent should have to bury…

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Allison Wiltz
LEVEL
Writer for

Black womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola