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Thursday
Mar142013

Have You Seen This Woman?: Terrilynn Monette

New Orleans teacher Terrilynn Monette has been missing since March 2nd.From CNN.com: Terrilynn Monette is described as an African-American female, approximately 5'8" tall, weighing 180 pounds and having a light complexion with long brown hair. She was last seen driving a 2012 black two-door Honda Accord with Louisiana license plate WUN494. If you have any information, please contact the New Orleans Police Department at (504) 821-2222 or Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.

CNN and other cable news outlets have received their fair share of criticism in the past for an over-emphasis on missing young, typically blonde, upper middle class white women over everyone else. If you're a man, African American or not conventionally attractive, the cable news tends to not care. But CNN is covering the missing person's case of celebrated New Orleans teacher, Terrilynn Monette, last seen March 2 at 4 a.m. after leaving a bar in the Lakeview area. She'd had too much to drink and told friends she was going to sleep in her car, then drive home. She hasn't been seen since.

The complaint about the lack of news coverage when a person of color goes missing is valid because for our Amber Alerts, missing bulletins and kidnappings to go ignored often means them going unsolved, reinforcing the idea that some life isn't worth as much as others lives in America. We deal with this everyday. People care more about unborn fetuses than the children actually here. People care more about celebrity failings than the failings of their communities. Black people die or go missing in Chicago and Detroit and St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. In any other ethnic group, this would be an epidemic, but because of how we've become so numb and normalized the abuse of black people it is considered expected and endemic of what it means to be black in America.

It's an unfair assessment that keeps our government and our community leaders from focusing on solutions to the problems behind the problem -- long-term unemployment, poverty, lack of health care and lack of education. 

Terrilynn Monette being missing and being actually reported on is important because it easily could have been any of us. I've gone out drinking and had too much to drink and relied on my friends, a taxi or public transportation to get me home. You can make all the right decisions to not drink and drive and still have some potential terror befall you. 

For the sake of her family, I hope Monette is found. Losing a child is the worst pain for a parent. No matter what age you lose the child, it's akin to all your hopes and dreams for the future dying because all your hopes and dreams were transferred to your child after he or she came into your world.

If you've seen anything, please let someone know.

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