Uprooting (Our) Whiteness
Keywords:White Supremacy, Antiracism, Social Work, Education, Whiteness
Social work education reinforces hegemonic Whiteness through pedagogies and practices that rely on an entitlement to and harvesting of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s lived experiences for the purpose of its tacit audience: White students. Despite this exploitative and harmful reliance on objectified lived experiences, White students continue to lack critical understanding of their racial positionality and connections to racism. Uprooting Whiteness requires sitting with what it means for White people to be “a White problem.” Drawing on the work of Yancy, we (group co-facilitators; our dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and three MSW student participants) describe the creation, organization, facilitation, and experiences of the first year of the Space for Uprooting Whiteness—a biweekly space where White social work students examine and uproot their relationship to White supremacy and domination. We argue for White social workers to take collective responsibility for racism in and beyond our institutions—requiring interrogation of our everyday practices and their (inter)dependence with and on systems of domination. This paper ends with three experiential narratives from student participants in the space and implications of critical intragroup dialogic pedagogy among White students in social work education and beyond.
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