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This Howard University Law Panel Drew Attention To The Legal Side Of Journalism


Although it would be desirable to live under an equal set of laws and customs, many a discriminatory case has pointed to the reality that factors other than justice make their way into the legal system. Discrimination in policing is much discussed, but it is not the only arena in which racial demographics play a role. Howard Law recently held a panel that talked about the ways that race and gender disproportionately affect black women who go missing.

Experts from across the country recently gathered at Howard University for a panel and candid discussion about missing black women and the lack of media coverage.

The event, held in the law school’s mock courtroom, also boosted the Audible original series “Finding Tamika,” produced by Alexander’s company, Color Farm Media.

The disappearance and death of Tamika Huston happened almost 20 years ago in 2004. Yet her death, and the lack of media coverage surrounding it despite best efforts, is still relevant to highlight the scale of the problem.

As Alexander said in her opening speech: “This series is not just a series about her life. It also leads to why and how national media distort the rules of engagement for so many missing persons.”

This distortion is nothing new. Its legacy is as poignant as this Patrice O’Neal piece from 2011:

It could be dropped at any point in American history and be just as accurate as this cutting monologue from American Gods:

The panel went on to discuss the ways in which the intersection of race and gender can complicate something as simple as making sure someone’s daughter finds her way home safely.

Hudson’s aunt, Rebkah Howard, spoke about her experiences as a surviving family member. As a publicist, she essentially made her cousin a client after her disappearance.

“I knew I had the skills, the contacts, the ability to get Tamika’s face out there, to get her story told, because that was the best hope for me to find her,” Howard said. “In my naivety, everyone will certainly also want to hear Tamika’s story.” … “So often as Black people we have to be perfect, in every capacity even in our death,” Cross said. “We have to have the most clean, pristine background to invite any kind of empathy from so many people.”

Called marijuana found on the bodies of unarmed black teenagers murdered by adults twice their age or passed over Ruby in favor of Rosa, there is a long history of respectability politics that determine how black people are able to raw and make the soil fertile enough for the possibility of correction. It is important to have these conversations everywhere, but the conversations are especially needed in places of higher education that will continue to produce lawyers, prosecutors and the journalists who will report on matters of life and death in our communities.

Rest in peace, Tamika.

Howard University Law School Hosts Missing Black Women Panel Honoring Tamika Huston [Afro]

Williams 150x150Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Before joining the staff, he appeared as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to attend Washington University in St. Louis. Louis School of Law to graduate. He is a former boat builder who can’t swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy and humor, and has a love of cycling that sometimes annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at cwilliams@abovethelaw.com and by tweeting at @WritesForHuur.

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