California just passed a new law called the “Ebony Alert,” which is ostensibly intended to find missing black children and young adults. It’s like the Amber Alert, but for black folks aged 12 to 25. The new program is apparently necessary since missing black children generally don’t get as much media coverage as kids of other ethnicities.
I’ll say this right out of gate: This program has nothing to do with helping black children. More on that later.
The bill became law on Sunday and will go into effect next year.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 673 into law on Sunday, making California the first state to create an alert notification system — similar to an Amber Alert — to address the crisis of missing Black children and young women.
The law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will allow the California Highway Patrol to activate the alert upon request from local law enforcement when a Black youth goes missing in the area. The Ebony Alert will utilize electronic highway signs and encourage use of radio, TV, social media and other systems to spread information about the missing persons’ alert. The Ebony Alert will be used for missing Black people aged 12 to 25.
The problem that proponents of the law highlight is a very real issue. A significant percentage of children and young adults who go missing are black. These individuals are often vulnerable to human and sex traffickers and other types of abuse.
About 141,000 Black children under the age of 18 went missing in 2022, and Black women over 21 accounted for nearly 16,500 missing persons cases that year, according to the most recent data from the National Crime Information Center. More than 30,000 Black people in the U.S. remained missing at the end of 2022, according to the center. Although about 38% of the people who went missing i in 2022 were Black, according to the Black and Missing Foundation, missing Black people are less likely than white people to have their stories highlighted in the media. Also, missing persons cases for Black people remain open longer than those for white people. Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the foundation, told CNN that a majority of the 6,000 cases of missing Black people in her database remain unsolved.
These numbers show why Carlee Russell’s hoax was so damaging to those trying to help black children who go missing.
But here’s the question: Why does California need a whole new alert system specifically for black children? There are already measures in place like Amber Alerts and others, to track down missing children. According to supporters of the law, black children are often labeled as “runaways” when they go missing, which means they don’t get an Amber. This is definitely a problem – but how will creating a whole new system address this?
The reality is that if California cared about finding black children who go missing, they would have already been doing so – without the need for a brand new program. The state already has existing methods of tracking down missing kids. If the systems are ineffective, one would think the solution would be to fix or improve them instead of rolling out a whole new program specifically for black children. If the current methods aren’t working, why should we believe that basically doing the same thing but slapping the word “ebony” on it would be more effective?
But this is the crux of the matter, is it not?
This isn’t really about saving black children. This new system is nothing more than a way for California’s government to make it look as if they are doing something to fix the problem when, in reality, they are not. It is a legislative virtue signal intended to send a particular message: “Hey, black people, we care about you. See? We rolled out a whole new alert system for you!”
This is the type of symbolic gesture that progressives – especially white progressives – love to use to appear as if they care about the plight of black Americans without having to actually do anything to help.
If black children don’t typically get the same level of media coverage as Gabby Petito or others, then perhaps California should do more to raise awareness. Maybe more people should start holding the press accountable for its skewed coverage. After all, isn’t the establishment media full of bleeding-heart leftists who claim to care about black folks?
Unfortunately, this program might even do more damage because it lulls Californians into the false sense that their government is working to solve a problem when it really isn’t. This means more black children will continue going missing while the government isn’t doing much to solve the problem.