The mainstream media has now become fixated on the horrors committed in Nigeria by the extremist group Boko Haram. The terrorist group kidnapped over 270 girls at gun point on the evening of April the 14th 2014. The school in question had been closed due to previous violence by this same terrorist group but was reopened so the girls could take their final exams. Weeks later, the girls are still missing and word from Abubakar Shekau (Boko Haram’s leader) is that the girls will soon be sold as wives and into sex slavery. I can’t imagine the ordeal these girls are going through and regardless who helps in the process of getting them back to their families safely (US, Britain or the Nigerian Government) I’m thankful that the outcry for action has taken place. Nonetheless, I wonder where the outpouring of support, hashtags and Facebook groups were when this same terroristic group killed as many as 29 school boys between the ages of 11 and 18 on February 25th 2014?

…But You Can Kill The Boys

A couple of weeks prior to the 270 plus girls being kidnapped, reportedly up to 29 boys (early reports said 59 boys) were killed at the Federal Government College in the town of Buni Yadi. Boko Haram invaded the school at night and shot some of the boys in their sleep. Some that fled on foot were also gunned down or while others had their throats slit. In some buildings, Boko Haram locked the boys in and set them on fire, burning the boys alive. The female students present were spared and told by the militants to get married and reject western education.

There were a few obscure reports scattered throughout some media outlets concerning the slaughter of these boys but for the most part there was silence.  Zero protests and marches on government facilities. No comments from the President of the United States or First Lady; no congressman or senators forceful expressions of outrage or any hashtags like #BringBackOurGirls.

On the day of the massacre the US was going through NFL withdrawals after the Super Bowl and attempting to figure out if Richard Sherman was a “thug” or highly college educated. In foreign news, Syria and Ukraine were dominating the headlines while Nigeria was still hearing backlash due to President Goodluck Jonathan signing a bill in January criminalizes same-sex relationships and marriage with penalties of up to 14 years in prison. The media seemed to just not care about the mass murder of those “black boys over there” but why not? Honestly, this lack of coverage is nothing new. In September 2013 over 40 students were killed in their dorms by Boko Haram and so far in 2014 they have killed over 1500 (over 5000 since 2009) men, women and children. By the way, Boko Haram translates to “Western education is sin” which is why they attack so many students in conjunction with their “normal” mass slaughtering.

Maybe if the incidences concerning the murder of the boys and the kidnapping of the girls were not just a few weeks apart, I wouldn’t have questioned what comes off to me as the selective coverage by the mass media over these atrocities. I don’t even want to begin to speculate on what the media response would’ve been if 250 Nigerian boys or 250 Nigerian gay men were kidnapped.  Are we so desensitized to death concerning black males and engrossed in viewing black males as threats that stories like the massacre at  Buni Yadi are deemed non-news worthy? Perhaps but that doesn’t mean we can’t ask #WhatAboutOurBoys