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article imageOp-Ed: The fallacy of Missing White Woman Syndrome

By Alexander Baron     May 16, 2013 in Crime
The elation over the recent case of Amanda Berry and two other women prompted one overpaid black academic to allude to this as a case of Missing White Woman Syndrome. But does such a phenomenon really exist?
This chimera was discussed in a recent article. For those who had never heard of Missing White Woman Syndrome before, it appears to have been discovered (read manufactured) some time ago, and even has its own entry in that font of all knowledge Wiikipedia, which (archived at February 20, 2013) lists the following American women who disappeared off the face of the Earth:
Polly Klaas, Chandra Levy, Dru Sjodin, Brooke Wilberger, Natalee Holloway, Taylor Behl, Michelle Gardner-Quinn.
The above are in chronological order, and of all these names, the only one anyone in the UK is likely to have heard of is Chandra Levy. This could just be because after her disappearance it came to light that she had been the mistress of Congressman Gary Condit. Although he was never in the frame, there was considerable innuendo before her body was discovered that Condit had murdered her. His evasiveness about her disappearance only added to that innuendo; there was also a direct attempt to implicate Condit by a false confession. If the victim had been black or white, male or female, this would naturally have been a massive story. Miss Levy's body was discovered a year after she disappeared, and eventually one of the usual sickos was convicted of her murder. Race had nothing to do with this story.
The same Wikipedia entry lists the following names for the UK:
Amanda Dowler, Sarah Payne, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, and Damilola Taylor. These names were supplied by Yvonne Jewkes whose interests include feminist criminology. What next, feminist geography, or perhaps feminist bricklaying. How much credence should we give these claims?
These were indeed very high profile cases, and with good reason. The Soham murders in particular saw two ten year old girls don Manchester United football shirts and walk off into oblivion. As they were in a rural area, there was obviously grave concern for their safety, a concern which alas was more than warranted.
So was the case of Damilola Taylor, although this was not a missing person investigation. Damilola, a 10 year old boy suffered an injury to his leg, and bled to death in seconds on a South London street. While it is true that there was no public hysteria attached to this incident, it is simply not tenable that there was no outcry. The story was big news, and resulted in a series of high profile trials. Although two brothers were eventually convicted of manslaughter, it remains to be seen if a crime was actually committed.
The first murder trial resulted in acquittals all round. The top black QC Courtenay Griffiths was given the task of defending the four suspects, and one of the points he made was that Damilola's last words were "I'm okay, I'm okay". Griffiths suggested the boy died in a bizarre accident. If he had indeed been stabbed, he never indicated so.
So does Missing White Woman Syndrome really exist? Only in the minds of opportunists and people who could find racism in an egg cup. Like the death of Damilola Taylor, the murder of Stephen Lawrence generated massive publicity, indeed far more so than almost any other murder here in the 1990s, as well as a ludicrous white paper. And the 1959 murder of another black victim on the streets of London, Kelso Cochrane, is still remembered to this day, probably in that case because it remains unsolved. But, no shortage of white victims have been stabbed to death or otherwise murdered since then. One might just as well ask if there is such a phenomenon as Stabbed Black Man Syndrome.
The simple fact is that for various reasons, some murders generate enormous publicity, while most generate relatively few. These factors include but are not limited to: the fame or notoriety of the victim; the way the crime was committed - the Hanratty case is a good example - and any controversy over the murder, including ones that remains unsolved. Murder is of course a despicable crime, but so is exploiting it in order to promote a political or racial agenda.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Chandra levy, Missing persons, amanda berry, Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor
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