De-Centering Whiteness Through Revisualizing Theory in Social Work Education, Practice, and Scholarship
Keywords:Antiracism, de-centering whiteness, White supremacy, ecological systems framework, counter-narrative, pedagogy, practice, scholarship
Institutions that frame social work education and prepare future practitioners are firmly rooted in hegemonic philosophies and practices that perpetuate colonization, oppression, and white supremacy. In recognizing that white supremacy is a mechanism of social control, that our current social structure is grounded in liberal-patriarchal capitalism, and that social work conforms to prevailing social norms, we, as social workers, must acknowledge our complicity in perpetuating a white supremacist master narrative (Pewewardy & Almeida, 2014). The white supremacist ideology inherent within Western social work literature, teaching methodologies, and practice strategies only serves to perpetuate an oppressive system. This structure does not envision social workers as agents of change, but rather as essential cogs of the status quo who foster client dependence on a system that is inherently marginalizing. One mechanism for disrupting the white supremacy that has become a master narrative in social work is to create a counter-narrative (Pewewardy & Almeida, 2014). This paper creates a counter-narrative by using the pyramid of white supremacy framework (Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, 2008; Tuzzolo, 2016) to critique social work and deconstruct post-racial fallacies ascendant within the profession, and re-visualizes ecological systems framework as a mechanism for de-centering whiteness in social work scholarship, practice, and education.
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