Did you know today is Blog Action Day? Join bloggers from around the world and write a post about what inequality means to you. Have you ever encountered it in you daily life?
Having been born a white Australian in the 1940s I have had a relatively easy life. My eyes were opened for the first time when I saw how apartheid affected peoples’ lives when I visited Durbin in South Africa. I couldn’t leave quickly enough. I was horrified that people could be treaded as second class beings just because of the colour of their skin.
In the early 1980s I felt totally powerless as a house parent in a family group home in Cairns, Australia, when the following incident took place:
We had three children and up to eight children in care. I loved these children. We had three Aboriginal siblings amongst our group. The eldest had always lived with her grandmother in Cairns. The younger two had lived with their mother in Normanton, previously, but had ended up with their grandmother too. When they came to us, they were traumatized, as the grandmother had tried to commit suicide by setting fire to herself in front of the children.
These children were the most loving, sharing children and fitted easily into our group home. Children’s Services had a policy, and probably still have, of putting children back with their parents. This is perfectly fine when they have a safe home to go to. In fact, if this had been a white family, I think the outcome might have been different.
The mother of these children was brought from Normanton to Cairns with the promise of a house in Normanton, (in the far north, in the Gulf of Carpentaria), if she’d take the three children back with her. In my hearing she told the eldest child she didn’t want her. I did everything to keep that child, who didn’t want to go.
The children’s court decided that all three children had to be sent to Normanton. We cried when this decision was made. I pleaded, to no avail. Because I didn’t have qualifications at that time, my advice was disregarded.
So the three children left. Not long afterwards I heard that the alcoholic step- father had raped this wonderful 13 year old girl. This was something that could have been avoided, if only common sense had prevailed. Inequality does exist and it is to be deplored.