Imagine, if you could even think of the horrific situation, where a 20 year old “pretty white woman” was abducted by six black men and women, raped, stabbed, made to eat rat droppings, drink from a toilet, threatened with death if she tried to escape and tortured for around a week.
Imagine, not only what living hell that poor woman went through, but also the fact that she was still undergoing treatment for her injuries around a month later. Imagine the 24 hour outrage on the cable news, the papers, every caring human being, not to mention the outrage by the racist people who would be decrying this, “the culture that promotes animals like this”, how this was a hate crime and the potential revenge for these horrific acts.
Imagine that the suspects all had prior arrests and records for prior crimes, including one who was arrested for murder of an 84 year old woman but pled to a lesser charge of manslaughter. We would hear about this for months, and we would all know her name, the suspects names, backgrounds and every little development in her treatment, the case and the potential blowback to the community.
Now that you have finished imagining this hell that the poor woman was subjected to, ask yourself if you have ever heard the name “Megan Williams”. I bet you haven’t. I know I didn’t – at least before today when I got an email about this matter.
You see, Megan Williams is black. And all of what you just imagined actually did happen to her a few short weeks ago, yet there has been so very little reported on this case. No round the clock commentary on CNN. No “panel of experts” talking about the degradation and breakdown of the justice system that allowed these six to even be in a position to kidnap, rape and torture Ms. Williams. No calls for protests or help for Ms. Williams or her family in this time of need. No “on the ground” reporters with live updates at the local jail, courthouse or even interviewing the locals.
No “special segments” advertised on any of the major news networks and programs. At least none that I have seen. But if you look at ABC News’ web site’s US News page, you will find a story about Natalie Holloway’s mother “still holding out hope”. And the big poll on CNN.com is whether Britney can get her life back.
I am white. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the subtle racism or discrimination that occurs on a day to day basis. I wouldn’t even try to put myself in a position to discuss experiences, dirty looks, out of line comments or anything else. No matter how much I am against this and no matter how much I speak out against it, I probably can’t do it justice or appropriately capture the emotions, anger and frustration of those who experience this.
All that being said, I can speak and have spoken out quite a bit about the “missing pretty white woman” syndrome that has taken over the reporting arm of the US corporate media. When was the last time that a missing “non-white” woman was reported as missing for more than a few minute segment? What kind of coverage would a story like this get if Ms. Williams was a “pretty white woman”? And whose family has lots of money?
Yet, once again, we have a stark contrast here. Ms. Williams is not white. And I have no idea as to whether she is pretty or wealthy, but neither of those mean anything. What does matter is that she was kidnapped, brutally beaten, tortured and threatened with death by six white people in West Virginia. And that these six people have long records, her life is scarred beyond repair and unspeakable acts were committed against her while she was imprisoned by thugs and criminals for a week.
What also matters is that this got very little ongoing coverage, and the volume that the media silence speaks when the victim isn’t white, young, pretty and wealthy.
Why else wouldn’t this story get the coverage it deserves?