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Culture can be deadly for kids- Yes dominant White Culture is a big problem for many children!

There appears to be a movement afoot to blame Aboriginal culture for the failings of the DOCS system. While not discounting the very real tragedies that sometimes occur, I believe that ‘the rights of the child’ are misused to commit harms not commonly considered. What exactly does the rights of the child mean? Does anyone really know? Arguably, the term is quite broad and vague, but there appears a presumption that the rights of the child are to prevail over the rights of, well something. Perhaps children’s rights are mean to be placed above those of parents; community or culture. However, rather than feed the propaganda and limited reductive commentary currently encouraged by the media, I vehemently assert that Aboriginal children, and children more generally are more at risk from dominant White culture than Aboriginal culture. I daresay a lot of commentary from certain privileged interests (such as certain psychology lecturers from Sydney, some Aboriginal spokespeople (ordained as such by the media) and white magistrates) blame Aboriginal culture for the failings of the dominant DOCS system. Aboriginal child removals are on the INCREASE, despite the Bringing Them Home Report (1997), and the 'Indigenous Child Placement Principle'. Blaming Aboriginal people and their culture and reconstructing Aboriginal people as the problem is a manifestation of RACISM. While it is difficult to recognise because it is covert rather than an overt physical application, it is still racism. It is racism because blaming Aboriginal people and their culture for a white cultural artefact and institution is an application of the idea that white society is superior and therefore the answer to the problem of Aboriginal people and their culture. The media and these other non-critical thinkers and self-promoters are not prepared to put in the time and effort required to think the whole issue through thoroughly. They are not prepared to peel back the layers to the ideas that inform and drive the whole DOCS system and the belief that it is a good thing to remove children from their parents and families. The approach is one of removal rather than family support. DID ANYONE LISTEN TO ANY OF THE MANY REPORTS THAT FIRMLY AND CONSISTENTLY FOUND THAT REMOVING CHILDREN HARMS THEM? When commentators continually refer to problems that exist in Aboriginal communities or that some families have there is no room in the discourse for real facts. All this garbage in the media profoundly distracts from any discussion or respectful conversation and dialogue around the whole notion of child removals. What these people mentioned above are doing is just debating process among themselves, they are not engaging with the ideas that are out there framing the whole debate and reconstructing Aboriginal people as the problem. If you look at who else have their children removed, you will find that single mothers, the socio-economically disadvantaged and the mentally ill predominate. YOU DONT FIND MANY RICH KIDS BEING REMOVED. And I doubt that the rich look after their kids any better. Instead they are entirely off the radar. This is a bigger issue than is realised and there are many pro-marriage and pro-adoption advocates out there behind the push to remove kids because there is a growing demand for small children and babies and a whole industry under way in the form of the foster care industry. I truly wish we could get some proper Toni McPherson

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media on this issue instead of the same old garbage. And I wish that self-proclaimed experts would engage some critical analysis or just go away and enjoy their lifestyles rather than demonising and stigmatising what they know little about.

Toni McPherson

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Culture can be deadly for kids