‘Red Table Talk’ Takes on ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’

Families searching for missing loved ones were given a platform Wednesday on Red Table Talk, as the online talk show addressed the media phenomenon known as “missing white woman syndrome.”

The Facebook Watch series started out with a clip of Gabby Petito’s father who implored the media to give the same amount of attention to other missing persons cases that his daughter received. 

After Petito’s case made headlines, conversations shifted to why missing women of color don’t receive the same level of attention as missing white women.

Co-host Jada Pinkett Smith praised Joseph Petito by saying, “They’re using the memory of Gabby and this opportunity to shine a light for everyone. I have to be honest with you, I don’t know if I lost one of my children in that way, I don’t know if I would have the wherewithal to do that, so when I saw that, it really touched me.”

Related Story: Joy Reid Rips Media for ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’ Over Gabby Petito Coverage

Elizabeth Smart appeared on the episode to talk about how she overcame the trauma of being abducted at the age of 14, and her mission of helping spark hope for families of the missing. 

Former federal prosecutor Laura Coates also joined the women at the red table to explain why women of color become someone’s “perfect prey.”

“Women of color in particular, if there’s not that coverage, if there’s not the attention, if no one thinks that anyone will look for you, you become a target and now you are somebody’s perfect prey,” Coates said as names of missing women of color flashed on the bottom of the screen.

The Red Table Talk co-hosts then spoke with the mother and father of Daniel Robinson, a 24-year-old geologist, who was last seen at his job site four months ago in Buckeye, Arizona outside Phoenix

“I grabbed everything I could, and I just started driving, and been here since June the 26th,” Daniel’s father David Robinson told RTT about relocating to Arizona. “I’m searching for my son, we’re going to find Daniel,” he continued.

“It was very difficult to even get movement. The first search for my son was three days later. I haven’t gotten any support from the police department. I mean nothing,” Robinson explained.

The distraught father added that he had to get his own search team together, and gave details on how his son’s car was eventually found in July with Daniel’s clothing, wallet, computer and phone, but no sign of Daniel.

“What his father said at the end, ‘I want you to know he has contributed to society,’ tells me almost immediately what stereotypes so many families, particularly families of color, have to endure talking about how to get people to value the investigation to find their child,” Coates said.

Watch the full episode of Red Table Talk below: