Racism, Odinism, and Custody Battles

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 11, 2008 — 13 Comments

The Winnipeg Free Press reports on a woman working to get custody of her two children back after her daughter arrived at school with a swastika drawn on her arm. The woman, an Odinist, claims to be “tolerant of all people” despite the fact that she is married to an admitted white supremacist, and admits to being a “white nationalist” who wears swastika-etched jewelry*.

“The day her seven-year-old daughter went to school in March with a swastika drawn on her arm, her mother said she tried to wash it off with nail polish remover but the marking stayed put. Her daughter forgot her sweater a mother gave her to cover her arm. When her mother arrived to collect her child from school, police were waiting for her. “The only thing that matters to me is my children. It’s not about politics, it’s not about anything else… it’s about what’s best for them … I’ve never forced my beliefs on my children.” The woman’s seven-year-old daughter and two-year-old son were seized by Manitoba Child and Family Services this spring due to concerns their father — an admitted white supremacist — was filling their minds with hate and marking one child’s body with racist graffiti. The children are now staying with relatives..”

One could reasonably argue that if her children have “pro-Hitler” markings on their bodies then she has done a poor job of “not forcing” the beliefs of the parents onto the children. Further, while the lines between being a merely “folkish” Germanic Heathen, and being a racist white supremacist Odinist may seem blurry and vague to some unfamiliar to the religious culture, it seems rather obvious that a line was crossed from mere Eurocentricity into neo-Nazi gutter-philosophy. Harboring a stay-at-home husband who she classifies as “flamboyantly bigoted”, and allowing Nazi-related markings to be made on her children (self-directed or not), speaks of a fundamental failure to insulate her children from toxic racism.

Now split from her husband after reading the Child and Family Service reports, the woman still entertains notions that the pro-Hitler markings were entirely self-directed, and refuses to admit any failings as a parent.

“The mother, who refused to comment on where the swastika marking came from, suggested her daughter may be responsible for other pro-Hitler markings CFS said they found on her body. “It’s entirely possible she could have drawn it on herself,” she said”

In this case, the references to “Odinism” by the mother and the press seem to be a red herring. This isn’t about religious discrimination, this is about her children being raised by a toxic racist with a criminal record who either drew or encouraged the children to draw pro-Hitler markings on their bodies. Removing them from his presence and placing them with relatives seems prudent. What do you think? Where is the line between intellectual freedom and abusive indoctrination drawn? What would you have done if you were CFS official responding to a concerned teacher’s report?

* I realize that there are some who want to reclaim the swastika from its racist/fascist connotations, but you can’t un-ring a bell. So long as the memory of Hitler, and idiots who seek to glorify him, persist, the immediate connotations of the symbol will be with racism and fascism.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • rin-x-x

    Wow. I live in Winnipeg and I can’t believe this made it to here. Though I haven’t heard the Odinist bit yet about the mother, the papers here pretty much claim that both parents have similar ideas and are unfit to raise their children.Unfortunately, the CFS especially for Manitoba is pretty bad. I agree with taking them away and putting them with more sane relatives, unfortunately things don’t always work out that way. If you look deeper in Manitoba’s CFS (or what hve you) you’ll find lots of recent cases where children have died and they’ve done nothing, and haven’t even noticed the children were dead until reported by someone else.

  • Mike

    Racism is stupid, despicable and dishonorable. There’s no excuse for it. What I find worse is state mandated morality. The last thing you want is a government mandating what is moral. This act of removing children from a home, not because of a safety issue, but for a moral issue nullifies all supposed freedoms of the people under the government in question. Let us not forget that Germany did not start out as fascist state under Nazism. It started out as a republic, moved into fascism and then state sponsored racism. Under Nazi Germany it was perfectly moral to have racist views. Both Canada and the United States are currently on the path to fascism, it’s just the US is moving faster towards it. How soon will it be until children have to go to state sponsored indoctrination classes for summer vacation?

  • Robin Edgar

    “Removing them from his presence and placing them with relatives seems prudent. What do you think?”I think it might be a good idea to screen the relatives for racist ideology. . .

  • Lea Petra

    As an Asatru, when I hear cases like this my stomach turns. Not only for the children, who we can only hope can rise above their parents monoscopic beliefs. But also for the bigots that claim they are following the same beliefs I do.I have to be so careful explaining my beliefs to others, because of cases like this. Too many times I have gotten lumped in with the white supremacists. Strangely, when I was Christian, if a hate group claimed to be Christian, no one would lump you with them.As for reclaiming the swastika, too much damage was done with it. Too much hatred. I don’t think it will ever be a symbol that we can reclaim.

  • erik

    Mike said… Racism is stupid, despicable and dishonorable. There’s no excuse for it.——-Funny… that’s exactly how I see religion.

  • genexs

    I think Jason hit’s the right tone. Taking the story just on its face, the woman seems to demonstrate a cavalier attitude towards her children. I agree with most of the posters, like rinxx who thinks there’s more to the story (mostly bad stuff) and lea petra, who thinks the stars of this story give Asatru a bad name. The tip-off for me comes early on, when the woman says she is ‘tolerant’ of others. Heh! How generous of her!

  • Kent

    As a Norse pagan and an Odinist ( no not a neo-Nazi dip shit). I find it sad that the marking of the swastika being connected to neo-Nazi BS sad, I wish it could be put back to its real meaning of peace and life, but as it is that shan’t happen for a long time, this just shows that some unthinking people in this world just do not learn from our collective past. I feel for the mother as a mother should never be taken from her children but she called it upon her self by being with that twit. Also just by being an Odinist doesn’t make one a Nazi that is a hateful misnomer. I hold no thoughts of blood purity. I feel that as a Norse pagan such miss understandings of my religion as painful and sad. I hope that everyone out there realizes that as a pagan we in general have no thoughts of one race being better than another but all are the same and equal. I reaaly hope that people out there would try to understand a religion before marking it with a black brush. Well thanks for listening Gods Bless all.

  • Anonymous

    For those of you who agree that the Government has the right to take away a parents children for this….think about this: Can the government take your children away if you smoke, drink, curse, vote republican or democrat,….or how about the reverse situation: Hispanic parents who teach their children about the theory of Atzlan and La Raza and the white race has oppressed their race…..or the African American family that plays “gangster rap” in the house (music about crime, drugs, and violence).Morals, values, social beliefs are the right of the parents to instill in their children. I raise my children to be proud of their European Heritage and as followers of Odinism……if the government (the thought police) come to my door…..Revolution

  • paul(ghost)

    if the writing on the childs arm said black power,would there be such a fuss???

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  • Wiser

    "Racism is stupid, despicable and dishonorable. There's no excuse for it."

    In Asatru/Odinism (fyi Asatru/Odinism was never racist until the Nazi's corrupted the religion) one is required to be honorable and no where in the ancient Asatru/Odinist texts is there anything about having to be "fair-skinned" and "blue eyed" to follow such a path. The ancient Druids aka the real Odinists/Asatru peoples never had a problem with skin color because they knew that there is only one race – the human race.

    Bottom and undisputable line, Odinism/Asatru aka Druidism only became racist when Hitler and his inner circle got their genocidal hate mongering hands on it. Hitler successfully corrupted Druidism to the 10th degree plus. Thankfully most normal intelligent people now and days know that racism is primitive and has no barring in religion and Science – in this case Genetics.

    • Don

      Druidism and Asatru/ Odinism are two different religions from two different cultures, one is Celtic and the other Norse/ Germanic respectively. And Hitler and the Nazis had little to do with Asatru/ Odinism.