Friday, 5 November 2010

Mothering in The Dominant Culture and Social Services

Reading "Until our Hearts are on the Ground" a study of Aboriginal mothering, and the oppression Aboriginal Mothers and Families have endured at the hands of The State, in Residential Schools, in Australia, Canada, North America and Africa, and susbequently through the action of 'Social Services' aas those progams were shut down over the past 20 years, I noticed that the 'Social Services' approach to the Aboriginal Mothers (most of whose parents were survivors of the Residential Schools)  AFTER the Residential Schools were shut down mirrored the approach of 'Social Services' inthe UK, Ireland, Australia, and Europe as they operate amongst the poorest sectors of Society, and various Minorities, such as Roma, Gypsey, Traveller and others like them.The sense that certain classes of people are 'targetted'. - newspaper article on how Aboriginal Mothers are discriminated against by Social Services and mostly Male Band Leaders (many of whom are 'appointed' or legitimised by the State)

I was struck by the clarity of that mirroring. I realised that 'Social Services' operates as a form of Societal Oppression, blaming those the Instutuion seeks to help, effectively masking those Power influences on peoples lives that do cause distress, deprivation, poverty and that do lead to the emergence of further dysfunctional behaviour.

Social Services as an Institution NEVER effectively confronts the System of Power with regard to deprivation and it's intergenerational effects - why would they, the system pays their wage.

Ther ARE many good Social Workers in the system, yet those who see the truth find it very dificult to organise a movement within the Institutional setting to bring about that confrontation. None of what I am writing about here is to be taken as judgement; this is an assessment of the facts.

In any Institutional setting it takes immense courage and strength to confront the Institution with the truth. And it puts one's carreer at risk.

As Bradly Manning is discovering right now, as he sits in a US Military Jail, having been shopped to the Military by a 'colleague'.

That masking, even it if turned out to be an accidental outcome of the work Social Serivces Policy and Practice as determined by Govrnment and think tanks, rather than personal failures of the Social Workers themselves (which in 99% of cases it isn't)  protects the Middle Classes who also happen to make up the bulk of 'Social  Services' trained professional staff and management and the Powers that influence peoples lives across society.

Those Powers that originate at some distance (distal) from those people most adversely affected by the exercise of that power refuse, of course, to accept any responsibility for the distress they cause.

Tony Blair on Iraq. "I did what I believed was the right thing to do at the time, knowing what I knew then." Chilcott Enquiry February 2010

It's VERY easy to judge others by what we read in the media because it is portrayed in a manner to serve that masking. I do not want to my words to be taken as if I am being judgemental in any way. The matter is far to serious for that.

You rarely hear about the childhood background and lived experiences of those mothers, nor the history of their parents, all of which form part of the whole picture. You certainly will not hear the stories of deprivation, generation after generation, that much of what 'Social Services' handles...

You do not hear about the ACE study, or the roots of deprivation, trauma or the true histories of the Aboriginal and the poor and how Society relates to these groups.

None of  this is to give any abusive parent an excuse or get-out clause. It is to point out that the responsibility is partly, largely down to the way Power is transmitted throughout our society. Both the individual AND Society share responsibility. A parent CAN accept responsibility and change that much easier if Society handles it's responsibilities in the matter. If ALL those responsibilities are laid at the Parents feet, then that change is far less likely.

And the hypocrisy of doing, of laying ALL the blame onthe Parent, that ought to be obvious to anyone with a rational mind and honest heart reading this material.

If, instead of pillorying or demonising the mothers who are reported as abusive in headlines, (often the MOST extreme cases are used, and then held as typical of a certain class or minority) the media and the general public were prepared to ask the questions and engage with the answers, the data that would outline where responsibility lies, and if those parents who are under stress were practically and materially supported in learning more empathic parenting practices (which would go a long way towards helping them recover) then progress would be made in reducing abusive parenting.

That is clearly NOT happening. Why?

And furthermore, in a Society that wards off the wisdom of Mothering, that ensures that Mothering wisdom does not enter into the discourse of Boardroom or Parliament and instead ensures that Mothering remains unpaid, minimally supported (more money is spent on early child care by the state than on maternity leave - the state pays for poor Mothers to work rather than support the Mother as a Mother) and to a large degree defined not by mothers, but by Society (Power), as an overbearing and limited frame of reference (Nurturing is for the home and early years, if at all; nurturing is deemed successful if the child becoems a worker, a consumer) women are under extreme pressure.

A double bind exists - join the corporate world and get a career, and if you become pregant, become a surrogate Mother by virtue of the committment one has to make to 'succeed', and all this to gain access to Power on the same basis as men, using Power in pretty much the same way.

It's extremely clever, and extremely unjust. And absolutely stupid.

Usefull resource on Social Services reform, from people whsoe research proves that supporting the whole family, parents and children, leads to much better lonr-term health outcomes for the families and the chidlren AND saves huge amounts of tax payers money at the same time!

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

Kindest regards


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