Mar 16 2015

HBO Film ‘Muted’ Highlights Biased Police and Media Response to Missing Children of Color

GUESTS: Danièle Watts, actor whose film credits include Django Unchained, and who appeared on Uprising last year after an altercation with police.

*This show was originally broadcast on Uprising with Sonali on March 04, 2015.

It’s every parent’s nightmare – your child does not come home from school, or never shows up at school. There’s a search, Amber alerts, media coverage, and all too often, a heartbreaking discovery. But, the script for what happens when a child goes missing can be dramatically different depending on the race of the missing child.

For years academics, activists, and others have noted the dramatically disproportionate response from law enforcement, politicians, and the media when a white girl is missing compared especially to a black girl. But FBI data shows that a whopping 40% of missing people black.

So pervasive is the societal blind spot on missing children of color that it even has a name among academics: “Missing White Girl Syndrome.” Activists have even formed national non-profit organizations one named Black and Missing But Not Forgotten, and another called the Black and Missing Foundation.

Now, a short feature film airing on HBO, highlights the ordeal of a fictional African American family when their 15 year old daughter goes missing, and how they experience indifference from police and the media. Muted is an award winning film by Brandi Ford, Rachel Goldberg, and Tara Tomlcevic, which has been recognized at a number of film festivals and stars Chandra Wilson from Grey’s Anatomy, and Danièle Watts.

To learn more about ‘Muted’ and Danièle’s role, go to:

One response so far

One Response to “HBO Film ‘Muted’ Highlights Biased Police and Media Response to Missing Children of Color”

  1. dougiequickon 05 Jun 2015 at 4:03 am

    Welcome to real life bias …I personally think the issue highlighted is not directly related to racism …prejudice YES …even predjudice toward a segment of American society that is black, which at first blush sounds like so much BS I realize ….but consider that no matter what color a child is, IF the child meets whatever criteria is in the pea brain of the individuals working for the powers that be, they are going to act accordingly. For instance, no matter WHAT race a celebrity is, they WILL get the attention that many others might never get. (both bad and good attention btw)

    However the powers that be gauge the potential of whatever individual case to play to whoever butters their bread, THAT is likely to prevail as to credibility, playability, likelyhood of being legitimate, or HOWEVER such folks have the perception adjusted to … people are not near as likely to be fair as they are to be self serving.

    Sadly, I think, the more pressure gets applied via demanding people to ignore such thing as social status, then the less credibility will prevail towards the cases that most deserve it! Let’s face it, in whatever neighborhoods/ cultural segments have the worst reputations based on legitimate statistics, then the more justification of assigning the lesser likelihood of foul play toward an innocent teen….less innocents will correlate to this…then I THINK it becomes like the boy who cried wolf actually making things even worse than they are! A system flooded with so many reports, becomes sensory overload for all involved and become mostly completely ignored … particularly for example if a LAW were passed that forced every agency to treat EVERY SINGLE report of EVERY 15 year old that does not come home on time!

    I don’t know that there is any answer so long as we have such diverse neighborhoods driven by whatever social economic cultural factors that perpetuate things….that work so against things improving for so many families…it sucks…I would just like to hear more things that offer more realistic things to DO about it other than crying “hate!” and demanding GOVERNMENT to fix it! Like more LAWS and programs are what REALLY changes anything!

    SO many people would just love things to get fixed, but as long as the number of people that don’t give a crap, outnumber the ones that do…WHAT is going to change? Having unrealistic minds supporting extreme lobbies on any side of a thing only makes things worse than ever …only encourages racism if that is all anyone sees on the media…because then people are attracted that an entire race thinks the way these representing the most extreme lobbies think!

    My 2 cents, if it is worth anything