Social Work and Race

Today in training, they were talking to us about some common values/traits in different kinds of families.  Well, they did not do the greatest job ever (although not awful either) and so we launched into a conversation about race, how we approach different families, and theories about why Black and Native American children are overly represented in the child welfare system.

So this got me thinking: does any other profession discuss race as much as social workers?  A core class in all MSW programs is a diversity/ cultural competency/ racism class.  Does any other profession have this?  Not that I can think of.  And I am glad that we do.  It is an important class and important topic for social workers to be thinking and talking about all the time.  Of course, it is not easy because we as a society have difficulty talking about it.  So maybe we social workers can be a sort of group of leaders on this front.

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2 Responses to Social Work and Race

  1. cb says:

    I can’t really speak for other professions but I have my doubts – and increasingly as I’ve worked I’ve found it more and more useful to draw upon these courses. I work in an area that is incredibly diverse and the importance of cultural and racial identity and an understanding of difference has been a key.

    One of the more interesting diversity training courses I attended focused quite specifically on our own reactions to our own identity and a deconstruction of our own attitudes to our own culture and ethnicity. It was a very interesting piece of work.

    I think the focus has to be there in social work in particular because the nature of social work is unsurprisingly change taking place within the context of the social and sociological models and relying on resources present in our own communities is a vital part.

    I think many people and groups don’t like talking about things that are uncomfortable – which is a shame as often I find its those things that are the most interesting to talk about.. !

  2. Jessica says:

    You social workers can be leaders for lots and lots of things.

    We probably don’t talk about it as much as you do, but educators often discusses race. And we wonder why certain races and ethnicities are overly represented in special education.

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