Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Missing Black Women? Uhhh, Seriously, Who The Heck Cares?!?

Not long after I started this blog, I stumbled across the case of a missing Black woman named Stepha Henry, and sorta kinda made it a mission of to keep the story in the news. Sadly, given the relative (compared to the wall to wall coverage of missing blondes) lack of media attention, Henry's case didn't receive the immediate attention needed, and she was later found to be murdered.

I really, really hope another young lady in California doesn't meet a similar fate.
Mitrice Richardson is afraid of the dark and always has been, says her mother, Latice Sutton, who remembers that quirk when she thinks about her daughter's release from a jail cell at a Los Angeles County sheriff's substation in Calabasas in the predawn hours of Sept. 17.

Wearing jeans and a dark T-shirt, Richardson, 24, had no car, no cellphone and no purse as she left the station about 1:25 a.m. The nearest Starbucks and fast-food restaurants are about a mile away in a shopping area. Beyond them stretches Las Virgenes Road, which turns into Malibu Canyon Road, winding through Malibu Canyon and emptying onto Pacific Coast Highway near Pepperdine University.

With the exception of a couple of probable sightings later that morning in the canyon, Richardson, a slender, 5-foot-5 black woman, has not been heard from since, her family says. Police have an unconfirmed sighting of her at a restaurant in West Hollywood early last week.

Her vanishing -- hours after her bizarre behavior at the restaurant Geoffrey's Malibu landed her briefly in jail -- prompted a massive but unsuccessful ground and air search Saturday by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles Police Department personnel aided by trained volunteers.

A strange set of circumstances on the evening of Sept. 16 set the stage for Richardson's disappearance. It began when the management at Geoffrey's called the Sheriff's Department to have Richardson arrested for not paying $89.21 for a dinner of Kobe beef steak and an Ocean Breeze cocktail of rum, vodka and fruit juices.

When sheriff's deputies arrived and found a small amount of marijuana in her car, they impounded it and took her into custody on suspicion of defrauding an innkeeper and possession of the drug. Richardson was released on her own recognizance. She had passed a field sobriety test administered to her at the restaurant.

Sutton, who had planned to pick up her daughter in the morning when she thought she would be released, said she believes sheriff's deputies should have realized something was wrong. "If the officer saw her behavior and decided to administer a field sobriety test, he must have realized something was wrong," Sutton said.

Most everyone agrees something was wrong.

Richardson is a Cal State Fullerton graduate who had passed a test to become a substitute teacher and works as an executive assistant for a freight company. She lives with her great-grandmother in South Los Angeles because it is convenient for work, her mother said. "She worked, she found time to volunteer, she's highly responsible," Sutton said.

Why Richardson was in Malibu on a Wednesday evening is unknown. She sat alone at a table overlooking the ocean, but then attached herself to a large group nearby.

When she couldn't pay, she provided the phone number of her great-grandmother, who offered a credit card number. The restaurant requires a faxed signature -- credit card companies insist on it in cases of disputes, Peterson said -- but the woman did not have access to a fax machine.

Things got worse.

Richardson "said she was from Mars and started speaking in a made-up language," Peterson said his staff told him. "She did tell my valet at one point that she was here to avenge Michael Jackson's death."

Peterson said his staff became less concerned about the bill and more worried about her driving. Sutton said she was shocked when told that her daughter had not paid her bill, saying Richardson had $2,000 in a bank account.
Given the number of black blogs I frequent, I've been aware of Richardson's story for a week or so, but outside this sphere of information, you'd be hard pressed to find anything. A Google news search only pulled up a couple dozen results, this on a day when there's a search of sorts going on for Robinson in Malibu.

While it's easy to start pointing fingers at a media establishment that obviously doesn't give a crap about missing black folks, I'm taking a different stab at this. Yeah, I know CNN Headline News could probably get away with rebranding itself as The Missing White Chicks Network, and nobody would flinch (cause it's true), but isn't that somewhat of a copout?

A better question is WHERE THE F*CK IS CATHY HUGHES!?!?

Seriously, between TV One, Syndication One, and Radio One, she's got the ears and eyes of millions daily. I could be very very wrong, cause I haven't been listening to Rebb'n Al, nor The Black Eagle lately, but I doubt there are Arr'Neeyshia Amber Alerts for Richardson playing between the umpteenth spin of "Birthday Sex" at the top of each hour on your local Hot/Kiss/Power station.

[Editor's Update - HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell had a few segments about this on last night's show. I stand corrected. Sorta.]

If black women, especially those that actually control what little black media actually remains (uhhh, Oprah?), don't give a hot sh*t about missing black women, then why in the ham sammich should we feign shock that the MSM doesn't care either?

It all sorta begins at home. Too bad home is too busy bumpin' "LOL, :-)" to notice.

Pray for Ms. Richardson.

Question: Does black media bear some of the blame for not highlighting missing black women? Can you blame the MSM for not?

Malibu-area search fails to find missing woman [LATimes]

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