I have been following the case of the two children removed by CFS from a Winnipeg mother after she sent her daughter to school with a swastika drawn on her arm. They have thus far accused the child of lying while claiming it is their right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to teach their children what is clearly racist and hate filled ideology. This case is important because it is a test of what we consider parental rights to cover.
Though they claim to be filled with white pride, the mother has yet to make an appearance in court and is instead in an undisclosed location. It seems she is not as certain of her convictions as once proclaimed. As reported by the CBC, she claims to originally have sent her eight year old daughter to school with a swastika on because the school was not doing a proficient job of promoting white pride.
The mother complained about discrimination against white people at her daughter's school, which prominently displayed posters boosting minority pride. The mother said the school failed to do the same for whites, according to the social worker.
The mother also said her daughter had been missing school because she didn't want to sit next to a non-white boy, the social worker testified.
The worker also said the couple named their son after a Nazi skinhead cultural icon. And when the children were taken by CFS, the parents used a photograph of them to create a poster titled: "Missing, Kids With White Pride," the worker testified.
Her argument is very similar to those who complain about black history month, or BET being discriminatory; it fails to acknowledge that because of the uneven access to power throughout society most things are already a reflection of whiteness. Her real issue is that she cannot tolerate even a momentary lapse in whiteness at the center of power and conversation, even though it serves as no direct challenge to white hegemony.
If her daughter did not want to sit next to a little boy of color, it is because of the racist teachings that she got in her home. Children see differences in race but it adults who teach them value laden stereotypes. As imperfect as the Canadian education system is, attempting to falsely construct Canadian society as a cultural mosaic is an attempt to challenge the systemic inequality that has become naturalized in our social discourse. Everywhere her daughter looks she will see whiteness affirmed as good.
It is white women that are constructed as morally upright and pure, whereas women of color are perceived as angry, slothful jezebels. White men are understood to be rational and calm, whereas MOC are constructed as violent, drunk and or drug addicted criminals. From politics to television there are no shortages of positive images of whiteness for her daughter to identify with and yet she feels threatened that in school her daughter is being taught that a Canadian identity includes bodies of color. This is nothing but illogical white fear on steroids.
To add insult to injury, the mother now claims that the social worker is lying. Being the child of devoutly racist skinhead parents the little girl at the age of 7 has supposedly discerned that such language is not socially acceptable and therefore would not repeat her parents racist propaganda publicly.
"My daughter would never say something like that. Ever," said the mother. "I think the social worker put a lot of ideas and words in her mouth and in her head."
Umm… I think putting a swastika on a child counts as “putting ideas in her head.” She was not born with a knowledge of these symbols or their meanings. It is clear that these parents are determined to deny responsibility for their racist behaviour, now that they are being socially castigated for their much valued belief system. At some level they must be cognizant that not only are their beliefs abhorrent but contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on which they stake their defence. It will be interesting to see what further twists and turns they invent when they present their side of the case in June. If racism was natural there would be no need to obfuscate facts to the degree that these two have done.