Despite detectives’ pleas to national media, the disappearance of a black 18-month-old South Carolina boy has yet to grab the widespread attention given to other missing-children cases, the Associated Press reports. Some advocates say the reason why might be as simple as the boy’s gender and race. From the still-unsolved slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey nearly 16 years ago to the killing of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, the public has watched as many cases involving young white girls unfolded.
Amir Jennings, the boy who hasn’t been seen since he was captured on surveillance video with his mother in South Carolina nearly a year ago, has registered scarcely a blip on the nation’s consciousness. “Media has always leaned toward the cute little kids,” said Monica Caison of the Wilmington, N.C.-based CUE Center for Missing Persons. “And unfortunately, a lot of times they think cute little kids are white.” Amir’s mother, Zinah Jennings, was convicted Friday on a charge related to his disappearance and sentenced to 10 years in prison.