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Céad Míle Fáilte? Racial Profiling in Ireland
dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis Thursday October 24, 2013 13:36 by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
Over the last couple of days we have witnessed massive media hysteria about the case of Maria, a young girl supposedly abducted by a Roma couple in Greece. DNA tests and Lombroso-style racial profiling  have come into action in a case that has stirred the irrational anxiety that feeds racism and bigotry. Beyond the fact that child abduction is a serious issue, the "whiteness" and "blondeness" of the alleged victim have been emphasised together with the "Roma" condition of the alleged culprits. Let us remember that this is taking place in Greece, a country where blatant racism (as expressed by Golden Dawn) is on the rise, so there are good reasons to be cautious about this whole case.
Now this hysteria has reached Irish shores. Over the last couple of days we have seen the Gardaí, the Irish police, forcefully taking away two Roma children from their parents. On Monday, a 7-year-old girl was removed for 48 hours from her family in Tallaght (Dublin), and on Tuesday the same thing happened to a 2-year-old boy for 24 hours in Athlone (County Westmeath). Eventually, the kids were returned to their parents after DNA tests were carried out, proving they were indeed related to their parents. What evidence did they have to proceed in the way they did? None, apart from their looks... Sure, they were too blonde to have Roma parents... suspicious, eh? Can it get any scarier than being white in a Roma household? As the dark-haired father of a young blonde, I can't help but feeling that I have become suspicious, too. The lack of evidence to proceed in such a way has prompted many to talk about the State's responsibility in the abduction of these children.