I often say that diversity is good for business and not just good for diversity’s sake.

Having a diverse workforce, especially in media and entertainment, can mean making more money because diverse voices can help a business reach multiple demographics.

However, diversity in the media can also mean life or death.

If not life or death, diversity in the media can make it more likely that someone is held accountable in someone’s death.

Have you ever noticed when an attractive White woman or cute little White girl disappears, it often makes national or international news?

When Natalee Holloway came up missing on a high school class trip in Aruba in 2005, her story dominated headlines and broadcasts for days, and rightfully so.

I can only imagine the horror that the Holloway family endured when they should have been celebrating their daughter’s high school graduation and entrance into college.

Who can forget when Jon Benet Ramsey was found dead in her Colorado hometown around Christmas 1996?

The toddler beauty pageant contestant’s death became a mystery that remains unsolved a quarter century later.

Was it Ramsey’s brother or was it some sick pedophile that saw her during a beauty pageant?

Regardless, we want justice for the Ramsey family just like we want it for the Holloway family.

But what if Jon Benet’s name was Jamillah?

What if Natalee’s first name was Nailah?

Would they have received the same amount of national and international media attention?

Obviously not, because Black and Brown women and girls turn up missing regularly.

However, coverage of their disappearances often regularly just appears in local news stories, if at all.

The reason is because every person that works in the media or law enforcement has prejudices regardless of if they admit it or not.

What we care about shows our bias.

And unfortunately, everyone has bias.

But our biases can mean life or death, or it can mean the differences of holding a criminal accountable or letting that criminal get away with their heinous crimes.

And do not get it misconstrued, all media is biased.

The fact that RegalMag.com focuses on issues affecting African-American men and wants to present African-American men in a positive light shows my bias.

The fact that newsrooms across the country do not represent the diversity of this country causes problems when it comes to which stories get local or national attention.

If a White producer, editor or reporter is moved by a story of a missing White girl or White woman because that missing person reminds them of a member of their family, they will probably be more inclined to report that story.

If that same journalist cannot relate to a story involving someone that does not look like them, they might not be moved to report it.

I have heard journalists turn down stories that do not move them.

Personally, I have turned down stories that do not move me.

Therefore, that does not make the White journalists racist or bigoted.

It just makes them human.

But it does point to the fact that we need humans from all backgrounds working in newsrooms and police departments.

 Furthermore, it is not a worker bee’s responsibility to increase diversity in the newsroom.

It is the corporation’s job to make diversity a priority.

But media companies need to realize that they represent everyone in their area, not just those from the dominant culture.

Therefore, they need to make more of a concerted effort to hire people to represent all their viewers, not just those from the majority.

When I see missing Black and Brown women getting local media attention and not as much national media exposure, it just shows me that while journalists of color can get hired for local positions, they have a harder time getting positions of power on a national level.

And that needs to change today because it can mean life or death for people of color.

For those who hate the so-called “race card,” the issue goes beyond race and reaches to gender and socioeconomic status.

Doesn’t it seem that missing women get more national coverage than missing men

Furthermore, doesn’t it seem that socioeconomic status plays a role in how much media coverage a missing person receives, regardless of race or gender?

This year, Starz released a docuseries called “Confronting a Serial Killer” that focused on an African-American male serial killer named Samuel Little who killed countless women of all races and got away with it for decades.

Little got away with his murdering spree because very little people cared about his victims, prostitutes and drug addicts.

Since the ladies did not mean as much to society as a future college student or social media influencer, the fact that they came up missing or were found dead under mysterious circumstances did not matter as much to media or law enforcement.

As a result, the worst serial killer in American history was able to go unpunished for his crimes for decades, which allowed him to kill even more women.

It is time for the media to give the spotlight to as many missing people as they can so their loved-ones can get justice and other people will not find themselves victimized by a violent individual.

It is shameful what happened to Gabby Petito, who was found dead after traveling cross country with her fiancé.

But Petito story is not unusual.

Unfortunately, it happens every day.

However, we do not see similar stories in national news unless the victim looks like Petito.

National media outlets have a responsibility to value all lives.

And they can prove that they truly care about all lives by showcasing stories that involve all races, not just stories about women from one race.

Todd A. Smith
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