WINNIPEG – The mother of a girl who went to school with white supremacist symbols drawn on her body didn’t see why her daughter should have to sit next to Muslims, a social worker testified Wednesday.
Nor did the mother appear to understand why it was hateful to laugh if someone beat up a black child, the worker said.
The social worker, who was testifying at a custody hearing, told court that the mother didn’t see anything wrong with having “white pride” either.
“White pride is worldwide,” the social worker recalled the mother as saying during one of several interviews last year. “It’s not a crime to have pride in who I am.”
Manitoba Child and Family Services is trying to gain permanent custody of the girl and her younger brother because of concerns about their home environment. It’s believed they were exposed to racist teachings and that drugs and alcohol were being abused in the home.
Child services removed the children last year after the girl showed up at her elementary school with white supremacist symbols and slogans drawn on her skin in permanent marker.
The mother has denied raising her children to be racists.
Custody of the children is being contested by the stepfather, who is the biological father of the boy. He argues his constitutional right to freedom of expression is being violated.
The mother does not have a lawyer, but has said she plans on attending court next month when the case resumes.
No one involved can be identified under Manitoba law.
The social worker testified that the mother recalled an incident where someone she knew “beat up a kid” because he was black.
“If I laughed, I am apparently full of hatred,” the social worker quoted the mother as saying.
Child and Family Services has alleged the girl was frequently absent from school, but her mother told the social worker that the girl didn’t want to go because she was beaten up. Her school was full of Muslims and Pakistanis who “didn’t shower,” the mother told the case worker.
The mother questioned why her daughter should have to sit next to a Muslim classmate when that child’s religious beliefs ran counter to her daughter’s, the worker said.
Court has already heard how the girl casually and frequently used racial epithets, and talked calmly about killing black people.
But her mother told the case worker that the girl must have picked up racial slurs from listening to the radio or watching movies such as “Mississippi Burning” and “A Time to Kill.” The girl’s stepfather told the worker: “Every good joke uses the n-word.”
The parents have said they did not teach their children hate but rather instilled them with pride in their race.
The mother has said she believed her daughter was coached by social workers into saying hateful things.
While the custody case has revolved around allegations of racist teachings, both parents have also been accused of physically abusing one another, neglecting the children’s emotional needs and allowing them to miss school frequently. Child welfare officials also allege the children were exposed to drug use, something the mother has denied saying it’s “not a white thing to do.”
In court Wednesday, the social worker testified the mother admitted to being on anti-depressants while the girl’s stepfather had done heroin and smoked marijuana.
The parents haven’t testified in court but their side is expected to be presented later in June.
In a sworn affidavit on the court file, the stepfather said they were “excellent parents.”
“I believe that there is no legal basis for the children having been apprehended in the first place,” he said.