Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Avoiding Racism in Our Child Rearing

No Room For Failure

A colloquial description for "taking responsibility" is that there is a soul to damn and a butt to kick if things go wrong. 

In the endless, recurring debate over child welfare in New Zealand Maori are sadly over represented in the statistics.  Maori leaders and spokespeople appear to want two fundamental changes: they want Maori to have a far bigger say in how Maori children are looked after and raised.  Secondly, they want a racial division in New Zealand such that most Maori children will end up being raised by Maori--whether the birth parents or, secondly, the extended family of the child, or, if that fails, the tribe, or, if that were to fail, Maori in general, and only then, when all that has failed, will Maori tolerate a Maori child being raised by someone else from a non-Maori race.  Even then a Maori child being placed in a non-Maori household does not sit well at all. 

This arrangement does not seem right.  Nor is it something to which other racial or cultural groups in the country appear to be bound.  If a Korean child, for example,  needs to be placed in a family the placement selection process appears far more colour-blind than the Maori process.  Insofar as racism is fundamentally perverse, this does not seem kosher at all. 

MP Judith Collins has a more straight forward approach:  make sure you do no harm--and if you do, you need to take responsibility and be held accountable.
National MP Judith Collins has attacked suggestions of institutional racism at Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children.  "It's a real insult to the social workers who work so hard to try and keep children safe," Collins said on the AM Show on Friday, when asked if there was institutional racism at the ministry.

"People have been abusing their children, hurting them, killing them in some cases, and the Family Court is involved in all these uplifts.  It's not like social workers are wandering around the corridors of maternity hospitals looking for children. A Family Court judge has gone through and said this child needs to be kept safe from this particular family," she said.  "I actually think that it's good to hear some people saying they want to take some responsibility. I'll tell you what, just stop beating up kids, and you won't need Oranga Tamariki."
Collins wants a soul to damn and a butt to kick.  What this means is that child rearing needs to be under-girded by a commitment to fundamental responsibilities.  If there is abuse or neglect of children the care givers need to be held accountable.  Everyone needs to be thus committed from the outset.  Attempts to  shift blame to the "system", or the government, or an insufficient commitment to this or that aspect of Maori culture must be regarded as unrighteous and evil.  Someone needs to speak up for the defenceless children.

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