Media outlets care a lot more about missing white kids than kids of other races.
Take this recent story about a blond girl found in a Roma encampment in Central Greece for example.
Greek authorities were raiding the camp — because WTFN — when they found the girl and figured that she didn’t fit in there because her skin was lighter than the people around her.
This in itself could be troubling, but let’s just assume there was a legitimate reason to be suspicious. The bigger question is: was there a reason for this to become a major news story in the U.S.?
Reports described no evidence of anything wrong here aside from the fact that the child had fair skin and was found with people who didn’t. White kid + Roma family = global news story and investigation.
You don’t see the same story told inversely, even though there are plenty of non-white parents with missing children.
These type of stories have become a news cliche. And I don’t think reporters recognize the double standard they’re applying by elevating one type of story and ignoring another.
Back in November, it was a blonde beggar in Mexico who set off a firestorm of speculation in the media and on social networks. People wondered how a fair-haired, green-eyed kid ended up on the side of the road in Guadalajara, asking strangers for cash.
I can see why people might care — it’s a bit jarring. White kids aren’t usually begging on the side of the road in Mexico. But we should be asking ourselves why we care about a white kid who might be kidnapped, trafficked or abused, and not about kids of all backgrounds.
In an article last year, Fusion quoted human rights activist Yali Noriega about the girl Mexico:
"We need to see a white girl to worry about kidnapping, trafficking of children and the exploitation of child labor," she wrote in her blog. "I've never seen people wanting to circulate photos of indigenous, or simply brown kids, in order to rescue them."
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.