As we examine the silence of the mainstream media in the United States regarding the murders of Zi’Ariel Robinson Oliver, A’Miyah Hughes, and Te’Mari Robinson Oliver, we must first acknowledge the historical and systemic factors that contribute to the devaluing of Black lives in our society. From slavery to Jim Crow to the current era of mass incarceration and police brutality, Black people have long been subjected to violence and oppression. In this context, it is sadly not surprising that the media may fail to give adequate attention to the deaths of Black children.
Furthermore, we must recognize that the media is not a monolithic entity, but rather a complex system of various outlets, journalists, editors, and owners, each with their own biases, agendas, and constraints. While some media outlets may have covered these cases extensively, others may have chosen not to for a variety of reasons.
One possible explanation for the lack of coverage is that the cases did not fit the typical narrative of a missing or murdered child that captures the media’s attention. Zi’Ariel, A’Miyah, and Te’Mari were all Black children from low-income families, and their deaths were not the result of a high-profile abduction or a sensational crime. Instead, their bodies were found in various locations under mysterious circumstances, leading to speculation but no clear answers.
Another factor that may have played a role is the prevalence of “missing white woman syndrome,” a phenomenon in which the media disproportionately focuses on cases involving young, attractive, white women who are deemed more “newsworthy” than other missing or murdered individuals. This phenomenon has been widely criticized for perpetuating racial and gender biases in the media.
In addition, we must also consider the impact of corporate ownership and advertising on media coverage. Many media outlets are owned by large corporations with their own financial interests and political affiliations. In order to attract advertising revenue and maintain their relationships with powerful entities, these outlets may choose to downplay certain stories or ignore them altogether.
Furthermore, the media landscape has changed drastically in recent years with the rise of social media and citizen journalism. While these platforms have the potential to amplify marginalized voices and bring attention to underreported issues, they can also perpetuate misinformation and distortions. It is possible that coverage of the murders of Zi’Ariel, A’Miyah, and Te’Mari was relegated to social media and alternative news sources that do not have the same reach or influence as traditional media outlets.
Regardless of the reasons for the media’s silence, the fact remains that the deaths of these three young children are a tragedy that deserves attention and action. We must resist the tendency to overlook or diminish the value of Black lives, especially those of children who are among the most vulnerable members of our society. We must demand accountability from our media and our leaders to address the root causes of violence and inequality in our communities.
In conclusion, the silence of the mainstream media in the United States regarding the murders of Zi’Ariel Robinson Oliver, A’Miyah Hughes, and Te’Mari Robinson Oliver is a reflection of the historical and systemic factors that contribute to the devaluing of Black lives in our society. While there may be various reasons for the lack of coverage, it is ultimately up to us as individuals and as a society to challenge these biases and demand justice for those who have been victimized. As Dr. Cornel West has said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Let us work together to create a more just and compassionate world for all.
- “Missing White Woman Syndrome” by Charisse L’Pree, Psychology Today, 2019.
- “Black Lives Matter: The Growth of a New Social Justice Movement” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Journal of African American History, 2016.
- “Media Representations and the Criminalization of Black Men in America” by Travis L. Dixon, American Behavioral Scientist, 2018.
- “Beyond the Hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the Online Struggle for Offline Justice” by Deen Freelon, Charlton D. McIlwain, and Meredith D. Clark, Center for Media & Social Impact, 2016.
- “The Devaluation of African American Lives: Intersectionality, Identity Formation, and Implicit Bias” by Sabrina N. Ross, Howard Journal of Communications, 2017.
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