A. Barton Hinkle: What the Hannah Graham Disappearance Says About U.S. Culture and the Media


Courtesy of Charlottesville Police Department

Nobody knows what happened to Hannah Graham, the University of Virginia sophomore who disappeared on Sept. 13—though a lot of people probably have their suspicions, given the arrest of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. Naturally, interest in the case has been intense. Search parties have combed Charlottesville and Texas, where Matthew was captured, in hopes of finding Graham. News outlets have covered the story heavily. But as A. Barton Hinkle observes, if you visit the missing-children page on the website of the Virginia State Police, you'll see scores and scores of notices for kids who have vanished. Some have been missing only a few days. Others have been missing for months. Others for years. Where are they? What happened to them? Unfortunately, Hinkle writes, when attractive young white women disappear, their disappearances tend to receive far more attention than the disappearances of people from other demographics.