Two Democrats, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, have introduced a bill that’d establish a special Department of Justice office just for a very specific demographic.
The racially preferential national Office for Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls within the DOJ would be dedicated to investigating only missing persons cases involving females of this particular race.
“My message with this bill is to provide hope. For it to serve as a beacon of hope to know that the stories of [the victims’] loved ones is going to create legislation that would make it so that other families and survivors don’t have to go through the same things they went through,” Omar told Vice magazine on Wednesday.
Do white, Asian, and Hispanic children not also deserve hope?
This spring, Minnesota became the first state to create a dedicated office for missing and murdered Black women.
As the mother of two beautiful Black girls, I am proud to lead the effort to address this crisis at the federal level. https://t.co/8b9dUSrhyZ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 20, 2023
The bill is named the Brittany Clardy Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls Act. It was reportedly named after an 18-year-old Minneapolis woman who disappeared in 2013 but was later found deceased.
In a separate statement made to Teen Vogue, Omar said the bill “is dedicated to the memory of Minnesotans like Brittany Clardy, and the countless other black women who have been the victims of crimes but whose cases were initially brushed off by law enforcement.”
Clardy’s sister, Lakeisha Lee, reportedly headed a task force that lobbied on behalf of the Office for Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls.
“All the hard work I’ve done and the sacrifices that I’ve made for my family and connecting with other families was worth it,” she told Vice.
“This [bill] will be truly giving me a new start, our family and also other families and communities all over. This is just the blueprint. It’s time that black women and girls are seen and heard and valued throughout that process,” she added.
Critics have responded to the bill by chastising Omar for once again embracing veritable racism:
Open racism runs wild and unchecked in the @DNC…
— KitchenTableNews (@KitchnTableNews) September 20, 2023
I can see starting a office that just for women that are murdered and missing this just seems like iihan omar typical racism
— Tim (@THEGODFATHER515) September 20, 2023
Are missing and murdered black girls more important than missing and murdered hispanic, asian, european, and native girls?
— Marcus Schuff (@MarcusSchuff) September 21, 2023
Why would missing black women need their own office, separate and apart from the offices which serve all missing women? Asking for my missing Asian friend…
— Adam Parker (@akparker) September 20, 2023
What’s your answer @ilhanMN ?
Why would missing black women need their own office, separate and apart from the offices which serve all missing women? Asking for my missing Asian friend and my missing Hispanic neighbor.
— Patrick Keschl (@PatrickKeschl) September 21, 2023
The fact that governments are creating dedicated offices for specific races is one of the more racist things I’ve seen… I’m not super surprised to see mega-racist @IlhanMN celebrating this… Why do we continue to go FURTHER towards segregation instead of away from it?
— Anonymous Denver Guy – non interventionist (@AnonymousDenGuy) September 20, 2023
There’s little to no evidence to suggest that missing black women and girls are treated any differently than other missing women and girls.
“Black women and girls are murdered at a rate three times higher than that of white women. And, over the last 5 years, black women accounted for a significant portion of missing persons cases, with some data showing 40%, a disproportionately high number relative to population size,” according to Teen Vogue.
“The plight of missing and murdered Black girls and women is only compounded by a media bias the late journalist Gwen Ifill called ‘missing white woman syndrome’ that leads journalists and pundits to over-examine cases featuring white women while ignoring those of Black women,” as reported by Teen Vogue.
Critics say these still don’t seem like valid reasons for opening an office dedicated to only serving black women and girls. What about black men and boys? What about white people? What about Asian people? Etc.
“The proposed federal office calls for research that involves local community engagement, incorporating focus groups and interviews with Black women and girls with lived experience. It also includes a focus on data collection efforts to build a tracking and reporting infrastructure for missing cases,” according to Vice.
There’s reportedly already a similar office on the local level in Minneapolis. It’s not clear why a federal office is needed.
Data from Statista shows that as of 2021, there were over 300,000 missing whites but only slightly over 175,000 missing blacks.
“Our communities are facing a crisis and we can’t wait any longer for action. Black women deserve to walk freely without the threat of harm,” Omar reportedly said.