This past month I’ve had a few conversations with fellow social work graduate students of color. I have wanted to write an honest post for some time now about what it is like on a daily basis to be a social worker of color and navigating through this profession that professes to be about equality, empowerment and social justice but often continues to perpetuate oppression for any of us who are not White, straight, cis-gendered, able-bodied, middle-class, native-born, English-speaking, non-Christian and/or highly educated (and woe to any who claim more than one of these identities or statuses).
I wrote a lengthy post today, but ended up erasing it all. See, I realize that I might just come across as whiny. Inevitably, as I’ve had these conversations more often than I care to, I’ll just be called “angry” or “reverse racist,” that I only see the negative side of things and that I’m ignoring all the good that has been done in the name of social work and social workers. That I’m not recognizing that they just want to HELP PEOPLE.
In my experience,there are two kinds of social workers. Those who want to “help people” and those who want to “work for social justice.”
My fear is that this is actually the future of social work.
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4 thoughts on “The future of social work?”
And I, for one, would have loved to read the blog post you described (and erased). But the videos convey the message beautifully.
At some point, Nancy, I might go back and attempt to re-write that post. There is much to say, and I think it is important for our field to hear what many social work students and social workers of color have experienced in our education and out in the field. And in research as well. Thanks for commenting and for the retweet!
Those videos are fantastic and cutting in a way that make me wish everyone could watch them at interviews for social work courses. I’d also love to have read your post.
There is a lot to be angry about. In order to improve and grow as a profession, we have to face uncomfortable reasons that we sometimes have as to why we want to ‘help people’ and what that actually means.
Power in the profession and can be as important as the power dynamics we learn about as professionals.
Thanks for the comment, cb. I think what is most disheartening for me is that while we’d like to think those videos are just made up scenarios, in actuality I have heard or read some of those statements *almost* verbatim by members of our profession.
I think all of us need to be cognizent of the power we have just by being members of this profession as well.