Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I know you have heard of Megan Williams but

I bet you have never heard of Asia Adams. If you haven't it's not your fault. Because when she was murdered three years ago in her Germantown home, it didn't make national headlines, and there wasn't a cadre of bloggers focusing on her brutal and tragic death and calling for the equal and proper treatment of black women. No marches, no wall to wall commentary, and no moral outrage from all the usual suspects.

What happened to Asia Adams that November night in her home made even Philly hardened homicide detectives squirm in court on Tuesday.

I his opening statement, Prosecutor Carlos Vega said that two men grabbed Adams and threw her into a chair in the basement of her Germantown home. Vega then said that Adams watched the two men as they took a shovel and "whaled" it across her face. Then, he said, they took a knife and cut her throat. "In order to kill her they had to do it more than once. They had to saw it from ear to ear to break the skin and the muscle. What pain she must have felt when it happened." Vega went on. "During the basement beating Adams was naked from her waist down." According to Vega this was done to humiliate her. There is more. After murdering Adams, the two men then took her money and her ATM card and made numerous withdrawals. The next morning the men returned to her house and carried her body to a second floor bedroom, threw her on the bed, and started a fire.

Asia Adams didn't deserve to go out like this. She was a bright beautiful student at West Chester University with a promising future ahead of her. By all accounts she was the perfect daughter and student. Her alleged killer was a former boyfriend who took exception to Asia moving on with her life and doing the things that would make us all so proud of her.

The Megan Williams story is a sad one, and so is what happened in Dunbar Village. But as someone who knows quite a few stories similar to the one I just told you, I have to wonder what it is that makes a story news worthy? Why are some stories worth our outrage and our righteous indignation, and some like Asia Adams....well, we never even hear about?

If you have the answers I wish you would tell us. It's too late for Asia now, but for the rest of us out here who have heard far too many of these stories and looked into the eyes of too many of these alleged killers, we want to know. Because we understand that all the marching and writing in the world won't change the mindset that causes a killer to take the life of another human being. It's deeper than that. And sadly, there are killers out here among us who will take another life tonight. Another like Asia Adams, and the next poor innocent victim who doesn't have a name yet.


Anonymous said...

"I have to wonder what it is that makes a story news worthy?"

News is show business. Why does a critically acclaimed show get canceled while a piece of garbage gets a 6 year run?

With today' technology, cable companies know what their customers watch as they watch it. The data is aggregated and sold in realtime to the media producers, including the news media.

For example, if CNN runs a 10-minute feature, they will know within minutes after it concludes how many viewers changed the channel in the middle of it. Ever wonder how Nancy Grace can come back from a commercial break and be on the totally opposite side of a case? If too many viewers had changed the channel on her, the techs can relay that to the studio, and Grace can change her course.

Anonymous said...

To understand what makes a story newsworthy in white America, we have to understand power. The late great Egyptologist Cheikh Antor Diop defined power as "the ability to define reality and have others act upon it as if it were their own."

Today's White corporate media defines a story as newsworthy when it converges with its self interest, in other words, makes money. To make profits, it gives white Amerikkka not what they need (critical, timely information and analyses) but what they have conditioned to want: Stories that titillate, excite, increase fear and boost ratings. Whether Brittany Spears is wearing panties may not say much about how she became a superstar, but it will for sure give RISE to the imagination. OJ's hearing won't tell us much about the US judicial system, but it will tap into White-conditioned anger and fear of black men (They let that crazy Negro come into the house and what did he do? Kill a white woman and got away with it!) They know white Amerikkka wants his black ass in jail. They know that catering to their basic emotions of anger and fear is newsworthy because it sells an newsworthy and that information, like house Negroes, is secondary at best.

The war in Iraq is not so newsworthy now, but the hoopla leading up to it was. To make it newsworthy, they elevated a two-bit dictator in sandals to the level of the most crazed murderer and warmonger since Hitler-- and with a bunch of crazed dog, dark-skinned generals riding around in the sand in Toyotas with WMDs in the back ("Oh my God!")... Yes, bullshit stories that pit the US against supposedly scary non-white men sells.

As the OJ and Saddam media routine suggest, the white corporate media knows that a story isn't generally isn't very newsworthy unless it kicks with potential to either anger or fear the hell out of white Amerikkka, whose lower and middle class men are only couple of OJ-type incidents from making their KKK membership formal.

Note to house Negroes: It's newsworthy for the white corporate meda to play on the white populace fear. That means your status in the house will never be secure. That's why the OJ type stories will never stop, because they play on white fear of black men. The idea being that, no matter how formally educated, how well-spoken, how adept you are at remembering and regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's talking point, you're just another N***a and potential OJ.

Got that-boy?

Liz Dwyer said...

Reading that just made me feel so profoundly sad. I hope both men get the death penalty.

As far as what makes a story stand out and get noticed, our writing about can make all the difference. You've had the chance to be in the LA Times, on NPR...folks are paying attention to what you write about now. People are going to tell other folks about Asia now and they didn't know about her before. I might not be as aware of Philly's outrageous murder rate if it weren't for you. I knew about Dunbar Village way before homegirl over at WAOD took it on as a crusade, but hopefully she's making a difference for the people down there.

I do think the inundation of gruesome stories makes everybody tune out. It seems like we have a story like that on the news out here in LA 2-3 times a week.

Christopher said...

The MSM loves, and I mean, LOVES, missing white women stories.

Right now there's a Staci Peterson story that has captured the attention of cable news. The gossip and speculate and chortle about what could've happened and did her cop husband kill her and on, and on, and on.

These stories are basically local law enforcement matters -- they aren't national stories, but yet, they're elevated to the level of "National News."

I live in a suburb of Rochester, NY. Every week there's a crime story -- a horrific crime story reported in the local media about a girl, usually African American, who goes missing or is killed, but the national media never covers it.

Stories about black girls don't have "legs" unless the legs belong to Beyonce.

field negro said...

"Got that-boy?"

mac, I think they got it :)

You all gave some deep points about what turns on the MSM. But since they are driven by ratings, doesn't that say something about us as well?

peon said...

I work at a domestic violence shelter and pay attention to the "Asia Adams" of the world. Violence against women of any color by men of any color who are former or current "lovers" is epidemic. Brutal, vicious, violence against women by male lovers is epidemic. I don't know if it is not news-worthy because it is so common, or because no-one likes to look at the frequency of it.
Acknowledging the frequency and brutality of the violence against women would mean people would have to drop the idea that these acts are committed by the infrequent psycopath.
In the domestic violence groups I hold weekly with victims I often use the analogy of the brutal widespread, violence perpetrated against blacks in segregated America. White people do not like to see "normal" looking white people smiling at the foot of a tree with a black man hanging from it. They do not like to look at pictures of "normal" looking white women screaming with an ugly contorted face at a young black girl trying to go to school.
This disturbs people to see that this violence can be committed by people other than the hard-core crazy.
I think the same thing is going on with violence against women. The male dominated world does not like to look at their vicious sexism anymore than the white dominated world liked to look at their racism.

Ferdzy said...

Peon: - exactly.

plez... said...

as i told a white female co-worker a few years ago, "if all i knew about Black people was what i saw on the evening news, i'd be scared of us, too!"

the only reason we make the news is to scare the *SHIT* out of white people (do you have a good looking, macho, articulate, big dicked, ex-athlete, like OJ Simpson, in your life?) or to entertain them (they are really entertained by that articulate half-Black negro with the Islamic-sounding name, Barack Obama). if Obama is leading in the polls going into the Iowa Caucus, i have no doubt that his smoking pot in college will all of a sudden become an issue!

i guarantee, had Asia Adams been white and her boyfriend was still Black, we would've never heard of Scott Peterson and OJ would've gotten off with a slap on the wrist!

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

My heart breaks when I read of stories like Asia Adams and Megan Williams.

But, here's why the MSM won't give coverage as they should for any human life snuffed out this way.

Asia Adams isn't a white girl.

Megan Williams isn't a white girl.

And any other sista who has a promising life snuffed out by a sick ex-boyfriend, lover, husband; whatever - until the MSM and society places the same value and devotes the same amount of time to our missing sistas of ethnicity, stories like these fall through the cracks.

The absence of good black radio news also contributes to this. Glen Ford has more at Black Agenda Report:

Cobb said...

Support your local police.

La♥audiobooks said...

Field, I will say my take and it's not going to be sugar coated. In fact, it might make many of your black male readers uncomfortable or even defensive.

There are no easy answers for this, and we only have our opinions and observations. However, Megan was attacked by racist white hicks. Therefore, she could easily be made a racial pawn of interest to certain people in the black community (a safe topic and something to go after because no poor black men were to be blamed). White society could care less if a bunch of broke low life trouble making hicks go down. Many white people try not to openly associate with these kind, and they don't get marginalized like us either way. And it's the "oh well, I'm not surprise" response by them too, because only hicks are supposed to be the real racist white people in America, right? right. (not to mention, many of them still deny it might also be a racial crime anyway). Another thing, some blacks and more black men in particular had little sympathy for Megan. They said that's what she got for "wanting a white boy" (even though there is no real evidence of a romantic relationship had even transpired). Not to mention, she may have very well been targeted due to her race and mental handicap.

As for Dunbar, that almost went under radar for a colossal of reasons. Mainly due to her "welfare" status and the usual disassociating racial interest in our white supremacist society. But for the black community, it gets touchy because 10 more "poor" young black boys will go down in the "white man's" slave jail. There were some black men who only found sympathy for her son, another black male.

As for poor Adams and many many others, we already know non-black society could care less. In these cases which does not surround the "white man", who is there for us to go after besides yet another poor black brother who seems to need our protection more.

Now, thanks to sites such as and a few others (I can't remember all), Dunbar and Megan got some real attention and honest talk, at least among some of us black folk. In many ways the black female almost always get over shadowed by the black male perp or gets the blame in some way. Never mind racist cops, she can't even walk in her own back yard and feel safe among black men. This seems to be a sexist post and pre African slavery sickness among us black people. I honestly think the disrespect and constant dishonor of the black female is one of the main reasons why we as a people are not thriving like other races and other minorities, even here in America. It's all connected, we can't deny it any longer. Just my honest 2 cents.


La♥audiobooks said...

Oh, and I said all of that to say, as black people, we need to support each other and promote black unity and black on black love/family. We already know the black women/mothers support our black sons/black men by instinct. However, I think more black men need to step up and openly talk about supporting, honoring and protecting the black females. Not only form "the white man" but from other black men who are damaged predators. They also make you all look bad in the eyes of society. We can't depend on CNN, ABC, MSN or whoever to do it. They don't care and they don't relate to us, they say we only make up about ... %. They're already protecting their women folk and too many black men are protecting other women and not the black either..

What do we expect?

Anonymous said...

Black media oftentimes ignore these stories too. Why?!?!

Joel said...

This poor girl happened to be a victim of a sick and twisted individual. There's only so much a society can do to prevent that from happening.

Instead of obsessing over the lateast tabloid-friendly crimes, I do wish the media would instead talk about the root causes of so much killing of young black and hispanic males: lack of economic opportunity, a completely fucked up drug war that only encourages organized crime and turf wars, a gun-friendly culture that puts pistols in the hands of 16 year olds.

I think I learned more from The Wire than I ever did from CNN or the Eyewitness News Team.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, a sharp turn to the right!!

Why weren't you rapping about this a few weeks ago, instead of rapping about them Jee-Na Six Negroes?

Anonymous said...

" black people, we need to support each other and promote black unity and black on black love/family. We already know the black women/mothers support our black sons/black men by instinct. However, I think more black men need to step up and openly talk about supporting, honoring and protecting the black females."

I'm feeling this all over.

Angela L. Braden, Writer, Speaker, Professor said...

"Stories about black girls don't have "legs" unless the legs belong to Beyonce.: Christopher


Anonymous said...

If we are to take up the self-blame banner might we explore to what degree are discussions about black women over-empowerment fueling and justifying such cruelty toward women in our community. I would classify the discussion of child-support system observations as oen such discussion.

Christopher Chambers said...

Field, nsangoma just called you out!!!

Yep, Megan was hurt by rednecks and that alone and ironically will get you ink in certain circles, but not so much as if black or brown thugs were the perps? Acutally, it depends. The problem in either case is that the victim's of color. The HBO mini-series "Five Days" hit that head on, but then again the Brits always are unafraid to deal with these issues whilst we masturbate on Dancing With the Stars. And why do people masturbate? To relieve horniness, true, but the simple fact is that more often than not it's because we are bored, ignorant and too lazy to do something constructive.

On the flip side, yeah, we MUST take a right wing line on crime, for left wing reasons: we cannot keep giving black traitors like Shay/Booker Rising and white wingnuts cheap victories and PR points based on the behavior of these young bucks out here with no sense and no souls. Kill 'em all. Give Depro-provera to their girlfriends. ;-)

Don said...

Damn, that's effed up. Fo' real.

I don't remember hearing about ths story either, but like you, I would love to know why someone missing in Aruba is more important than what happened to Asia Adams.

peon said...

There is certainly more attention given to a young white wealthy women murdered by her intimate partner in a gruesome way. However, as a group white women are murdered by their intimate partners at more than TWICE the rate black women are.
Here are the Department of Justice figures for the last 10 years:
1995: black women 387
white women 865
1996: black women 416
white women 844
1997: black women 399
white women 749
1998: black women 392
white women 862
1999: black women 336
white women 797
2000: black women 330
white women 841
2001: black women 342
white women 792
2002: black women 362
white women 763
2003: black women 333
white women 774
2004: black women 316
white women 798
2005: black women 337
white women 789
Of the 1126 intimate partner homicides that were recorded by the DoJ in 2005 how many did you read about in the paper or see on the nightly news? Of course this leaves out people like Peterson's third wife who is being dug out of her grave to see if she really drowned in that bathtub. The stats would be higher if the incidents where her "disappearance" is never resolved, or where she has a suspicious "accident" were included.
Black women have shown a steeper decline in violence than white women over the last decade.
Go here to view the chart:
I think these stats show that all the talk about black men being scary and violent, and white men being more in control is crap.
Male terrorism is a problem for women of every color.

Shoesie said...

The lack of response from so-called black leaders on black-on-black crimes is just unforgivable. I’m so tired of their marches for things that really don’t have any impact on the lives of black people. It just gives them face time in the press. Yes, nooses are awful but has anyone actually been hung? Black women have been raped. Black women have been murdered. Black leaders won’t point out that the biggest threat to a black woman is most likely to be a black man. This is sad but true. It’s the ugly secret that no one wants to talk about. Meagen Williams gets all the press because her perpetrators were white. When the perpetrators are black, it gets ignored. I know that it’s critical not to paint all black men as criminals. The majority are not. But we have to acknowledge what is actually happening.

The same lame black leaders and other pundits talk only about racism. The real threat facing black people doesn't come from racism; it’s from other black people. As a black woman, I am safer walking alone through a white neighborhood than I am a black one. I’d like to see someone start talking about that.

Anonymous said...

that's a sad story

-D said...

Asia Adams; black on black crime.
I agree with what commentators have said, these stories have no legs.

I'm surprised people have only obliquely hit on the big element to why this story won't get traction; it's domestic violence, i.e. the most accepted form of violence in America. "Oh, they were lovers at some point... none of my business. I mean, serves her right. I wouldn't associate with guys like that." Look away, look away.

Random crime wakes people up because it makes Joe on the street realize you can be a victim even if you obey all the laws, live in a vacuum and associate with only straight-arrow people. But domestic violence crimes always always get buried, because without admitting it we tend to blame the victim and wonder why she didn't leave.

This is coming from the mouth of a guy who did family law cases for years. The women always get blamed just for being in the shit relationship to begin with.

Anonymous said...

"The lack of response from so-called black leaders on black-on-black crimes is just unforgivable." shoesie

Perhaps the best book on violence was written by Brotha Amos Wilson called "Black-on-Black Violence: The Psychodynamics of Black Self-Annihilation in Service of White Domination." Amos Wilson.

The literature is there. We know how to end violence. We (our so-called leaders, including that sorry democratic party) just don't have the political will to do it. Our black leaders don't fight for it, because they know it's about as popular fitty cent at a Polka convention.

One thing for sure: When people trying to dodge bullets, they don't want to hear any sermons about personal responsibility.

Jonne Austin said...

It didn't make news because as many posters said, it has to be profitable. There is nothing profitable to CNN and Fox about when a black woman is killed by a black man. Assuming her boyfriend was a black man. They already assume that we are animals, killing each other off. When a white person does it to a black person and vice versa they know it's going to get ratings and more money so they run with it.

This is sickening and my heart just weeps for Asia because she didn't deserve to go out like that. It WASN'T for them to take her life.

Great post "Field Negro." I have more on why I think this is, but it is a lot. I'll have to expound on my own blog so as not to hijack yours.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the story, field. i'd never heard of asia until a moment ago, but i had heard about the crazy shit going on in florida. i just began reading 'the culture of fear: why americans are afraid of the wrong things,' by barry glassner. THIS IS RECOMMENDED READING TO EVERYONE OUT THERE! having said that, i read all the comments submitted here. i really, genuinely, hate it when we refer to women as females. dunno why, it just kinda rubs me the wrong way. i am a social worker in the 206 and deal primarily with homeless men right now, but have worked with homeless women before. domestic violence is not something that's gender-assigned. throwing out phrases like 'male terrorism' is mis-using language to perpetuate a fear, as opposed to looking for solutions. there's no question that society cares less about violence on black women than white women. unfotunately, there's no quesion as well that society cares EVEN LESS for black men. do you remember wv's sen. byrd calling vick and his buddies 'animals' on the senate floor? this is the same dude who wouldn't enlist because he didn't wanna serve with black men. over fifty years have gone by, and a senator hasn't changed his stance on black men. my point

Anonymous said...

is that msm just wants to move the needle. thank al gore for inventing the internets where we call all assemble and share the truth as we experience it! jon stewart and colbert are all the news i need from tv.

La♥audiobooks said...

2005 examople:
black women 337
white women 789

Peon, based on the averages of these very statistics you just provided, you didn't prove your case. In actuality it’s stating more black women do die at a higher rate as per-ratio. Black women make up a much smaller percentile (much much much less than half) compared to white women. Yet, black women are dying by the hands of men at basially half? Be fair.

Rent Party said...

Joel, reread Peon and La, up thread. It is *not* a "sick and twisted individual" about which "society can do nothing."

Anonymous said...

Wow. Excellent post. I vaguely remember Asia. I live in South Jersey and I go to Channel 6 Action News out of Philly for my "local" stuff.

I have 100 thoughts on the media. It seems the era of keeping our entertainment from touching our news is over. Now they're mixed all over the plate like peas spilling in the mashed potatoes. Not to mention the not-so-hidden agenda of the rich folks who control the MSM.

Anyway, this is why I am eternally thankful for the blogosphere (and subcommunities, e.g. the Afrosphere). It's like the emergence of beautifully-biased news (as opposed to maliciously-biased news). So many viewpoints are available outside the control of the MSM. I can see these sources becoming the new mainstream in 5 to 10 years. Heck, even political candidates are dipping their toes in the pools of MySpace, YouTube, etc.

Ever consider how that would change things???

Anonymous said...


To be fair, the media ignores when anything happens to hispanic and Asian women too. I saw a profile of a hispanic female on AMW about 3-4 years ago. She was from San Francisco,already a mother and pregnant again. She came up missing around the same time Laci Peterson disappeared. Laci completely overshadowed her and John Walsh acknowledged that race and socioeconomic status were the reasons. Although I get upset over things like this, I won't waste my breath waiting for the media/white America to right this wrong. It's not only black women who are devalued in this way...hispanic and Asians are too. When was the last time you saw a profile on a missing Asian or hispanic? I can't recall ever seeing one. It's not news that whites only value their own.
Nice to see that at least you're concerned about this, unlike most other black men.

Anonymous said...

"I won't waste my breath waiting for the media/white America to right this wrong."

that should've read:

I won't HOLD my breath waiting for the media/white America to right this wrong.

La♥audiobooks said...

Anonymous said...

"To be fair, the media ignores when anything happens to hispanic and Asian women too.... "It's not only black women who are devalued in this way...hispanic and Asians are too. "

I just want to mention something. I don't know if this anony is a black female or even a black person. If so however, I think some black people really need to stop trying to concern themselves so much about other minorities when we really need to start concentrating on our own state of affairs as black people and stop dragging everybody in. This is one of the reasons other minorities are now progressing and surpassing us in America and other places nation wide. (In America, they are even benefiting more from the civil rights movement that more black people fought for in the beginning). I hate to say it, but other minorities don't usually concern themselves with the issues of black people much less our statistics. Also, if this anony is a non-black individual, I think they were highly disrespectful trying to dismiss and negate this serious crisis for black females. Other minority women DO NOT get murdered even close to this higher rate than black women do in America and world wide.

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Unknown said...

Also, unfortunately African Americans have little to no representation politically either, therefore no voice and no media coverage. Many/most politicians who claim to represent the African American community are often in reality only paying lip service that they care but never really taking any meaningful action to give them a voice. Giving a man fish is not helping him, teaching him is