Respond to at least two colleagues with a critique of their posts and alternative recommendations for how you as a social worker might respond to Mary and her beliefs. Be specific and provide examples from the case. Also, identify specific skills social workers might employ.
(To include 1 APA peer reviewed reference) minimum 150 word for each post.
POST 1: Adrienne Journey Post
Relationship Between Racism and Privilege
To understand the relationship between racism and privilege it would be beneficial to look at the definition of both. Racism is defined as “prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” (Racism, n.d.). Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people” (Privilege, n.d.). So, what is the relationship between the two? Race determines—while it is sad to say—what privileges you will be given. Racism evolves from those groups of individuals who believe themselves to come from a privileged group of people. Privilege corresponds to some form of oppression, in this case racism (Monahan, 2014). Privilege offers an understanding for oppression (Monahan, 2014).
The Case of Mary
Mary’s family backed racism and made it very clear that they thought their race was superior to the races of color. This idea made them think they were privileged and that if somehow someone in their family went against what they believed in—in this case, Mary—then it had to be the other race’s fault because they are “untrustworthy and bad”. Mary’s father’s idea that they were superior to others had Mary think that she could do no wrong—privilege—hence the reason she believed that the only reason she slept with a married man was because she was “brainwashed”. Mary exuded the attitude of privilege when she thought that the African American guy she was having the affair with was to blame rather than herself because of his race.
Impact of Racism and Privilege on Social Work Practice
Privilege keeps certain individuals in an oppressed position. Racism is a form of oppression. Social workers have an obligation to challenge social injustices such as oppression and racism (NASW, 2008). Social workers would encounter cases where they have clients that exhibit signs of racism and because of the NASW Code of Ethics they would have to address it. This can cause conflict when working with clients and make it challenging to work to with them.
The current challenge that Mary needs to overcome is finding her voice in her family. Mary took on the role as the “crazy sister” because she thought that was the only way to maintain a relationship with them. Using the empowerment perspective would allow a social worker to help Mary recognize her strengths so she can overcome the challenges she faces with her family. Mary knows her feelings about race are not right and that is a start in helping her. Empowerment perspective will help a social worker help Mary take control of her own circumstances and achieve her own goals (Rankin, 2006). In Mary’s family she is a bit powerless and it would be up to the social worker to help her reduce that powerlessness through an empowerment process (Rankin, 2006). To help Mary I would use skills such as empowerment through emphasizing strengths, reflective responding, and educating to get Mary to open up and make the necessary decisions to confront her family.
POST 2: Jeanie Truesdale Post
The relationship between racism and privilege is there were economic gains granted to white European Americans (Adams, Blumenfeld, Castaneda, Hackman, Peters, & Zuniga, 2013). Policies and possessive investments have created a wide gap between whites and oppressed racial communities (Adams, et al., 2013). Medical care also is considered when whites are more likely to receive the care than minorities (Adams, et al., 2013). White privilege is when all the ideas are considered of the white group and not afforded to other groups (National Association of Social Workers (NASW), 2007).
In the case of Mary, the first social worker was seen by Mary as being judgmental, because of the way Mary’s family believed in interracial relationships (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Working with individuals when the concepts of racism and privilege may relate to their treatment can be handled properly by the social worker. Mary felt the social worker was going against her racial beliefs, which may be a result of Mary insinuating that the social worker did not follow her values of normalcy (NASW, 2007). Mary felt by being attracted to the African American man, that she was different and going against the family values (Plummer, et al., 2014).
The impact of racism and privilege on social work practice is that when there has been success in ending oppression, racism, and poverty, it then changes the white privilege support (NASW, 2007). The idea of social work is to work towards ending injustices (NASW, 2007). Addressing any dominance within a social work practice and working with each other, regardless of race, will help end industrial racism over time (NASW, 2007).
Recommendations for how I as a social worker might use an empowerment perspective when responding to Mary would be to let Mary know that being involved with someone outside of her own race or beliefs does not make her different from the rest of her family (Plummer, et all, 2014). Mary felt judged by her previous social worker, so I would make sure Mary was comfortable speaking with me (Plummer, et al., 2014). While Mary may not have been able to continue her relationship with the African American man, because he was married, I would encourage Mary to not let others judge her and for her to make her own choices (Plummer et al., 2014).