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1. Little blonde girl disappears. This is a terrible tragedy, of course, but because the girl is white and has a family with resources, everyone in the world is expected to care.

2. Some months later, a vacationing Spanish tourist spots an Arab-looking couple toting around a little blonde girl who bears a passing resemblance to the famous victim. He snaps a photograph and alerts the media.

3. The press completely flip their shit and immediately begin speculating that the girl has been kidnapped by nefarious Berbers. Al-Q'aeda terror scheme? Sure, why not?

4. Representatives of European media track down couple and begin harrying them. They are taken into custody and questioned by police for many hours.

5. Whoops! It turns out that the little blonde girl is their daughter. The press, having learned the shocking news that North African Muslims are sometimes blonde, wanders off to find new monster lurking under bed.

Hat tip to andrewlevine for this 'un.


Nov. 1st, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
Did the European press catch Missing White Blonde Girl Fever with the McCann case, or had they had it before?
Nov. 1st, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Beats me.
Nov. 1st, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
I think it's universal. Well, ubiquitous in majority white countries, which obviously is the universe.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
(1) I thought I was the only one who used "class with a 'k'". Extra-klassy behavior gets the "class with two k's" designation.

(2) If they'd watched the last third of Lawrence of Arabia they wouldn't have made that mistake. The next time you see them (the European Media, that is), ask them if they really watched it the whole way through or just stopped at the intermission. Do this in front of their girlfriend, if possible, to make European Media look like a shallow twit.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'm going to totally cock-block European Media next time I see it hitting on Asian Cinema.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Has anyone ever done an essay quantitatively comparing media coverage of abducted white children (and white, blond, Anglo-Germanic children, at that) and coverage of such children who visibly came from families of different heritages? Like by comparing the coverage of such cases that occurred at least almost concurrently?

If so, I'd love to read it and have it around the next time someone tells me I'm "exaggerating" when I point this kind of thing out.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
I dunno about a quantitative study, but I remember just before I left Chicago, there was a (poor, black) woman who had both her twin daughters disappear on their way to school, and she was practically begging the press to write about it. If it ever made the news outside of Illinois, I didn't hear about it.
Nov. 1st, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
The same day Famous Missing White Girl Elizabeth Smart went missing back whenever, an almost identically-aged black girl went missing somewhere else. The fact that I cannot remember her name, but remember that she was in fact a perfect control for the experiment verifying that the media ignore missing children unless they are pretty white blonde females, is telling.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
This would never happen in San Antonio.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
Not a lot of Berbers around here.
Nov. 1st, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Wait'll a couple of 'em go wandering by with a white girl in tow, then folks'll be seeing them everywhere.
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
dark children don't get abducted, they just disappear
ah, white women in trouble. i cannot WAIT to have my little half and half child; maybe i'll get cornrows and baggy clothes for the occasion. OR i could straighten my hair and get some robes from morocco...
Nov. 1st, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
Re: dark children don't get abducted, they just disappear
If your kid gets abducted, only half the media will cover it.
Nov. 1st, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
Re: dark children don't get abducted, they just disappear
but I doubt our little jewmaicans will be blond.
Nov. 1st, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was bizarre. In fairness, the real monster under the bed in the eyes of the press seems to be Kate McCann. Whose predicament is comparable to that of Heather Mills, according to Heather, but that's a whole other story.
Nov. 1st, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
I have neither opinion on nor interest in the McCanns' guilt or innocence, but I did notice, in that Wikipedia link, that their rental car -- which is, as far as we know, the sole piece of evidence which might prove them guilty of killing their daughter -- has been moved, by the McCanns, out of police custody and into the home of some billionaire friend of theirs, so they can do their own DNA tests.

Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that, in England and/or Spain as well as the US, the justice system is slanted towards protecting the rich. But I do kinda wonder what would happen if I, a non-rich white doctor, were suspected of murdering my child, and I told the judge "Hey, your honor, what say you let me take the one piece of evidence against me and hold on to it for a while? It's cool, I'm just gonna keep it at my friend's house for a while, run some tests of my own, the cops can have it back after I'm done."


flavored with age
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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