July 11, 2008

Media Craziness over Winnipeg "white pride" Mother

There is a story here in Canada about a woman who drew a swastika on her daughter's arm and then sent her to school. The teacher washed it off and the next day, the mother redrew it and sent her child back to school. After this, child protective services was called and the daughter and her younger brother were apprehended and have been for the last three months. The full story is here.

Now I don't know what the reasons for apprehension were, but from the articles, it reads as if it is only because of the ideology of the mother that led to the apprehension. The mother describes herself as a "white nationalist" who owns "white pride flags" and "a swastika necklace" that she wears. I would guess that it could also be argued that using her child to express herself would also come into play, but I can only guess at that. Here is what the article says about why the children were apprehended:
In court documents, social workers say they're worried the parents' conduct and associations might harm the emotional well-being of the children and put them at risk. 
I won't comment on whether this is enough to apprehend a child, as I don't have all the details and honestly don't have the knowledge to say either way even if I did!

What I want to talk about is how this is another in a long line of black eyes that social workers are getting because of the media. When a person reads this story, the blame is squarely on the shoulders of the social worker as the ones who took the children into custody over some flags and paraphernalia. Now, I really do understand about confidentiality and all that, but is there not some way in which more details can be offered to clear misconceptions up when a case is so public such as this one? We get the sympathetic side of the mother but the social workers and their agency are kept mute. The story portrays them as not wanting to say anything about it rather than not being able to. They look horrible.

There has to be a better way. There's already a shortage of social workers in general in this country and the shortage of GOOD social workers is even more alarming. This representation of our profession in this way only serves to turn more and more people away.


cb said...

I read the article - it's quite uncomfortable. I'm sorry but the woman says that she is for 'White Pride' and isn't a neo-nazi but she draws a swastika on her child's arm?? Hm.
I had a bit of a rant about the way that social workers are perceived by the media here a couple of months back - it remains a bugbear of mine, especially in relation to the way that nurses, doctors, police officers etc are generally the subject of more sympathetic press.
I think its because sometimes social workers remind a society of elements that it doesn't want to be confronted with. Everyone goes to a doctor or is treated by a nurse, but not everyone has a social worker. It is a part of looking at 'poorer' people as 'the other'.
That's my very basic and unresearched theory, anyway!

antiSWer said...

Hey, that's a really good theory. I'd definitely say that's a part of it.

Amanda said...

Hey, I am also a Canadian BSW student. I found your blog through another link.

I agree that the press often doesn't seem too concerned with getting the facts straight. A lot of it is sensationalization for ratings.

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