For the last few days we have all seen headlines like the one below in newspapers.
I want to ask you to think about whether this headline would be acceptable were the word 'gypsies' replaced with 'blacks' or 'asians'. No, it doesn't seem right does it? That's because this is racism, pure and simple. From what I gather, the child seized in Greece has been taken by the authorities on the basis of being blonde and not connected to her parents by DNA. On that basis, presumably in a few years time I should expect Police to come sniffing around me and my daughter. She will almost certainly have different colouring to me and definitely has no DNA connection to me. That doesn't make her any less my daughter. I helped bring her into the world, change her nappies, cuddle her, care for her and fear for the future for her, as most parents do. Of course, I am not a Roma gypsy, and therein lies my safety.
One of the most worrying things about this news story is the fact that on the back of this, two children closer to home, in Ireland, were taken from their Roma parents because they looked different to them. Following DNA tests they were returned. What kind of trauma is being inflicted on these families? I cannot even begin to imagine the horror of having one's child taken away.
So where will this end? I urge you all to think carefully about what parenting is really about, because in my view it has bugger all to do with DNA or ethnicity. It has everything to do with love and responsibility.