Social workers are often on the forefront in the fight against any form of oppression as against the marginalized society. These demanding but oftentimes unappreciated efforts are often addressed through the conscious use of skills and knowledge of the problems being solved against. When such oppression is however committed against them within the organization where they work, the social worker seems to be mum about the situation, or their efforts perhaps are rendered inutile. North America social workers experience this form of oppression within the social service institution. For this reason, I examine the arguments why the social workers need to be aware of the existence of this unique form of oppression. In order to eliminate oppression in the social welfare workplace, the social workers, in their pursuit of social change, must have a competent understanding of the theory around racism and oppression.
Empowerment and a strengths perspective which support the development of innate abilities and recognize differences in a positive manner are also helping social workers increase the individual client’s capacity to learn to use his or her own systems constructively
The goal of a social worker is to help others in tackling whatever problems they are currently facing and pairing them with the appropriate resources needed so that they can lead a productive and healthy life. A social worker lives by a strong value system that is referred to as social justice. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), “Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities,” (2015, para. 2). Paul Loeb, author of the book Soul of a Citizen, writes moving stories of ordinary people who inspire others to want to be better citizens. This paper will be a reflection on how the book made me feel, the affect it has had on my formation as a social worker, any experiences I have had in social justice advocacy and what vision I have of myself as a social justice social worker.
A Social Worker’s reflection on Power, Privilege and Oppression, this is the title of Michael Spence’s article, but what really does that mean? Spence talks about his personal experiences in life that dealt with all three of these aspects, power, privilege and oppression. In this paper this writer will also talk about power, privilege and oppression in regard to Spence’s outlook on the topic. What is power? How does it relate to Social Workers and social situations? Is privilege really something that can be given to you just based on race and where you grew up, or how you were raised? Lastly Oppression, what causes one type of social group to be oppressed?
According to Duffy (2016), there are two different types of social work practice when it comes to working alongside a disadvantaged population. The first kind, is used more often and is called conventional social work approach, which focuses its attention on undertaking assessment and ensuring that individuals are families are received the correct support through organised services and support. On the other hand, critical social work, the less utilized approach aims to challenge the inequalities and oppression in society, by targeting the societal structure via activism and research, in order to bring forth criticism and questions on discourses attached to particular marginalised groups. The author proposes that both social work practices are important, however, critical social work should be emphasized on more frequently, especially with groups such as the ageing population as it targets the stubborn discourses (Duffy, 2016). Mattsson broadens critical social work, by relating it to critical reflection. Critical theorists have proposed critical reflection as a method to understand how social work practices can uphold oppression due to seemingly everyday actions, words and attitudes. Therefore, this can have an implication on how social workers execute their practice, as ordinary and structural features of bureaucratic hierarchies may senselessly abide social workers to uphold and reproduce social oppression, even though they might be well-intentioned. Critical reflection
In 1963, minister and rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in front of Lincoln memorial to bring awareness to the unfairness of injustice for black people. King's speech was an effort to try and mandate the coming together of the black and white race and finally have the equality between us all be put into force for a free nation. As the speech left King’s mouth and entered 250,000 citizens ears, it left them to think about what point he was trying to make because he uses pathos, logos, and ethos.
In order to define critical social work, one must define the concept of social work - and in defining social work, one must also define critical thinking, and critical consciousness. This paper will attempt to define such concepts and ideologies and it will address and include themes of the intersectionality of social work and the Sociological Imagination, social structure and institutions.
Throughout this assignment I will Identity and critique relevant policies, values, theories and evidence underpinning Integrated care teams. I will reflect on major implications identified for service users and for the role and practice of social work. I will look at a framework for anti- oppressive practice of which would inform my intervention.
Taking into consideration my early childhood, youth and adolescence, I could say that I was surrounded by people, who were friendly and shared common cultural values. However, with the hindsight at my whole life, I could say why the sense of institutional racism touches me so deeply. I was raised by my mother and my grandmother, both of whom could not read and write. Thus, for the illiterate people there were no chances to have higher status in the society. The only way to survive for them was hard physical work. Institutional racism, as a form of oppression, is more consequential and involves policies and acts that affect a large number of people. Life of my family is only one example of its impact. Even though, a lot of time has passed since then, the most recent incidents with Rodney King, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmer, illustrate how a black man continues to be viewed as a menace to society in America (Blumenfeld, 2010).
August 28, 1963 (Eidenmuller) marked a very important day in history that had an impact not only on America, but the whole world. On this day, Martin Luther King Jr. presented his well known I Have a Dream speech that aimed to eliminate racism, inequality and discrimination. He strongly believed that one day people would put their differences aside and come together. So, what happened to that dream? Along with other equality initiative ideas, they rarely make it past the idea stages or end in the actual eradication result. It is clear to us that even after 51 years, our societies still struggle with accepting full equality. Within those 51 years we have made a mass amount of progress but, a common thought would be that after this long the issue should have been eradicated. Two essays that can be used as an example of proof that racial inequality still exists in our society are, Black Men in Public Spaces by Brent Staples and Who Shot Johnny? by Debra Dickerson. In these essays, both provide solid evidence to support their main goal with the use of different writing styles, tone, and rhetorical devices to display how African Americans are perceived and treated by society.
Consequently, in the professional literature, there is a wide gap to be filled in the need for a critical perspective within the profession. We feel that the important contributions made by outside groups- Gay liberation, the women’s movement, mental patients’ union, trade unions and tenants’ associations- reflect lack of confidence in social workers, usually with good reasons. It is not intended to demoralize those social workers who are themselves conditioned and controlled by the very institutional structures, in which they work, but to make them aware of contradictions, and to assist them to develop critical action.
Feminist and critical race theory both address privilege and social oppression in society. Though both theories seek to address the same issues, they have wildly different approaches to understanding the mechanisms behind them. It is imperative to know how these theories acknowledge oppression as well as privilege in order to decide whether it is appropriate to utilize them when practicing as a social worker. In doing so, the social worker will be able to more effectively know when to correctly apply one of these theories as well as when it would be inadvisable to do so.
According to Lum (2007) critical consciousness “is a process through which people come to an understanding of power, empowerment, and oppression. Developing critical consciousness is a two-step process that involves learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and action against oppressive elements”. Experiences throughout life assist in the multiple identities that people have. It is important to “understand people through their construction and enactment of their multiple identities” (Lum, 2007, p.48). In order to understand the diversity of a person, social workers need to:
The journey towards the attainment of the Bachelor of the social work degree has been an enlightening and educational experience, as the individual is exposed to the realities of many social and political issues in the society. As a student, I ventured into the degree, with minimal insight as to how the degree can influence and shape the way I perceive the social world, and the way I relate these matters to myself. However, throughout my endeavour, which encompasses years of theoretical studies, and two intensive placements at two drastically different organisations, I believe I have accumulated the bare minimal knowledge to possess a solid foundation about the unfairness and inequality that people in disadvantaged conditions face. Social workers are predominantly found in welfare organisations which Howe (as cited in Limber, 2015) suggested largely influences the practice, direction and values of the social worker, and impacts on their ability to act autonomously (Lymbery, 2015). During my placements, there was a dominant theme that frequently stood out and enticed my attention. This was the accepted practice of focusing on the individual’s problem, as opposed to the social problems that existed and the lack of acknowledgement about the social restrictions of the human agency that limited self-determination. The realization that organisations were managed this way was important in ensuring that I made a proactive effort to understand and untangle the reasons behind such
For this reflective journal, I have decided to draw parallels between approaches to social work that I have learned in my placement, and what I have learned during my academic career at Carleton University. Placement thus far, has been an eye-opening and rich experience, which has taught me about the profession that I aspire to be a part of. I am a third year student, and much of my time spent at Carleton, has been studying theories, and becoming exposed to different schools of thought. Theories are incredibly beneficial, to teach and inform the practice of the next generation of social workers. However, placement has provided me with the opportunity to apply theoretical ideals, to real life social work practice.