A 5 year-Old Black Girl Disappears and No One Cares
Posted by Jacqueline Burt
on October 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM
Missing 5-Year-Old Jhessye ShockleyThere are several striking similarities between the disappearances of 10-month-old baby Lisa Irwin and 5-year-old Jhessye Shockley. Both children are girls, both were last seen in their homes. Lisa has been missing for over a week, Jhessye has been missing for nearly a week. Police investigating both cases have been challenged by strings of dead-end tips and a lack of evidence in general. The mothers of both Lisa and Jhessye have made tearful televised pleas for their children's safe return.
Right about now you may be wondering why you haven't heard more about Jhessye Shockley, or maybe even why you haven't heard of her at all, when Lisa Irwin's story has been plastered all over the news.
The fact of the matter is, you probably haven't heard much about Jhessye Shockley because of the one striking difference between her and Lisa Irwin:
Lisa Irwin is white. Jhessye Shockley is black.
I know it's a hard and ugly truth to swallow, representative of a reality we don't want to believe exists anymore. But sadly, nothing else explains why the country is currently obsessed with finding Lisa Irwin and largely unaware that Jhessye Shockley is even lost.
We know everything there is to know about Lisa Irwin's mother, Deborah Bradley, from the details of her divorce to what she had to drink the night Lisa vanished. Meanwhile, Jhessye Shockley's mother was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2006 for "injury to a child" and deemed a "threat to the well-being of her children," and no one seems to know or care how or why she got out of jail early.
Jhessye's three siblings are now in the custody of Child Protective Services, while Lisa Irwin's two brothers are at home, being sheltered from the press.
The main thing, one might argue, is that both girls return home safely, not how much attention their individual cases get. But when it comes to missing children, often the higher profile a disappearance, the higher the likelihood that child will be found.
The situation is already tragic. Now it's tragically unjust.
Do you think Jhessye Shockley's race is the reason why she isn't getting as much attention as Lisa Irwin?