Past Event

Café Society: The Case of JonBenet

In 1996, six-year old JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered in her home. In the months that followed, the young beauty queen’s life and family was dissected by the media and public as theories of guilt and innocence were examined and discarded, and accusations of police incompetence erupted. Every major newspaper has featured the story of JonBenet countless times, news magazine television shows have devoted many prime time hours to the case, books have been published, and movies have been made about this previously unknown girl. Our interest in this tragedy is undeniable, yet what motivates this fascination?

Do we see ourselves or our daughters and nieces in JonBenet, the little child playing dress up for all of us at beauty pageants? Is it our sympathy, compassion, and concern that compels us to watch? Do we see in her story the American dream, and desperately seek justice to keep it alive for ourselves?

Is our interest a reflection ofa desire to absolve ourselves of contributing anything that might lead to our own children’s exploitation, eroticization or death? Media criticsargue that the coverage is overblown and accuse the media of focusing on this story while ignoring other more significant news. Others point to this as an example of the nation and media’s racism where only the fate and tragedies of white women and girls get significant air time.

Join us this week at Café Society to share your thoughts on the relevance of the coverage and interest in JonBenet Ramsey.

Suggested Readings:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.