Missing Black Women in America

Balck Woman Missing

In the United States, a deeply troubling trend has emerged, one that is largely overlooked by mainstream media: the disproportionate number of Black women who go missing each year. According to a recent report by NPR, tens of thousands of Black women vanish each year. Yet, these cases often remain in the shadows, ignored by the media. It is estimated that one in every three missing women in the United States is Black, yet these cases rarely receive the same level of coverage and attention as cases involving white women. This disparity has led to a significant gap in the number of Black women who are reported missing and the number of cases that are reported in mainstream media.

The Media’s Bias in Reporting Missing Persons Cases

The media’s neglect of missing Black women is a growing concern. In her essay, “The Color of Justice: Selective Coverage of Missing Women in Mass Media,” Alina Ranee exposes the media’s bias in reporting missing persons cases. She highlights how race and gender are often overlooked in media coverage, leading to discrepancies in the number of reported cases. Despite the seriousness with which the police treat missing person cases, there is a stark difference in how the media chooses to report on them. Black women and girls are less likely to be featured in news alerts, on billboards, and flyers, and do not receive the same level of attention as their white counterparts.

The Silent Crisis: Missing Black Women

There have been countless cases where a Black woman goes missing, but the story never reaches the national news. For instance, the case of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old Black woman who disappeared from her workplace in Virginia, did not receive national coverage until weeks later. Her body was eventually found in North Carolina, yet it took weeks for the media to start covering her story. This bias in media coverage extends beyond missing women. A study by The Missing Project suggests that Black and Indigenous people are more likely to be reported missing, but less likely to be found. The study found that it takes longer for police and media to initiate search and rescue for missing Black and Indigenous people.

The Need for Change

The issue of media bias in coverage of missing persons cases is a sensitive and critical issue that needs to be addressed unequivocally and fast. Organizations such as the Black and Missing Foundation and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have made significant contributions by bringing attention to missing Black women and are working to rectify this problem. We need to continue to support agencies that strive to close this gap and encourage the media to report on these cases equally. We must do all we can to get these stories in front of the public eye to help find these missing Black women.


The disparity in media coverage of missing Black women is a crisis that requires immediate attention. By acknowledging this issue and taking meaningful action to address it, we can begin to build a more just and equitable future. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every missing person, regardless of their race or gender, receives the attention they deserve. Only then can we hope to bring these m