Feature

Australia: A misplaced focus on ethnicity

Sometimes Aboriginal children, like children of other ethnic origins, need to be taken from their parents.

Miranda DevineSydney Daily Telegraph

Sometimes Aboriginal children, like children of other ethnic origins, need to be taken from their parents, said Miranda Devine. Yet the injustice of the “stolen generations”—the thousands of Aboriginal kids forcibly taken from their parents and raised by whites—has produced a new injustice: the state refusing to intervene when Aboriginal parents are abusive. This week Australians have been mourning little Kiesha Weippeart, a blue-eyed 6-year-old. She was returned to the mother who had already broken her jaw and fractured her skull—only to finally be beaten to death. The mother, Kristi Abrahams, is half Aboriginal, and the law requires welfare authorities to keep part-indigenous children with indigenous caregivers “even though Aboriginal foster carers are thin on the ground.” The sad irony is that Abrahams herself rejected her Aboriginal background because of the “extreme violence” she said she had suffered as a child. Against her wishes, she was placed at age 11 in an Aboriginal group home, an environment that “set her up to fail as a parent.” Wresting children from loving parents is wrong. But so is forcing them to stay with abusive ones. Our current laws do not “care as well for indigenous children as they do for white.”

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