Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 05, 2005


There is one reason and one reason alone why the disappearance of Latoyia Figueroa, a young, attractive, PREGNANT woman, hasn't had its own segment on the 24-hour news channels: she isn't white. Please digest that for a minute. I know this has been discussed and rediscussed all over the blogosphere, especially in blogs from Philly, where Latoyia made her home, but please take some time to consider the implications of our newsmedia's relative silence.

This presents a useful lesson about the history of racism in this and nearly every other country. Some truly hateful individuals notwithstanding, for the most part no one ever means to be racist. I'm sure that no one consciously chose not to run Latoyia's story, but the fact that no one meant to snub her is completely irrelevant. Most people take pains not to publicly act racist and they'd become indignant at any old relic who acted as though the civil rights era never happened. But put them in a situation where today's version of racism is happening right in front of their faces and chances are they won't even realize it. For cable news networks to run constant specula-thons over the missing white woman du jour, then completely ignore a missing woman of color is the definition of racism. Intended or not, the message it sends is while white women are worth the time to wonder about, black women are not.

We judge our ancestors and condemn them for their ignorance and tsk tsk the old racist symbols of yesterday, but we are utterly blind to what happens right under our noses. This is how it happened to the ancestors that we judge so harshly, and this is what is now happening to us. Most likely, our grandchildren will tsk tsk at us while they ignore the injustice in their own day. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, "how much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." It's extremely satisfying to judge the actions of others, but not so much to look inward and discern what prejudices we carry around in our hearts.

My personal takeaway from this? One more reason not to drink from the veritable font of cess that is television news.

This blog is based on a true story.