Response 1: Racism and Privilege
· 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.
References (use at least 1)
Mary believed in her mind that she has lost her dignity and value by going out with a married man who also is an African American. Mary came from a family resent the colored minorities based on personal vendetta against the colored population (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014).
“Border patrollers” has the perpetrators of multiracial discriminators are called (Adams et al., 2013, pp.101) has created an identity within which they are recognized and given priority in terms of education, medical and infrastructural amenities within our society. Discrimination against African-American dates back as early as1850s where there was segregation between white and African-American and till today despite government laws against white supremacy or white privileges, our mentality still remains questionable in terms of societal norms as regards multiracial discrimination and privileges. Despite campaigns against discrimination, African-American still face resentment and biases in selection procedure and work places.
Working with Mary was at the micro level of intervention (Plummer et al., 2013), Social workers should strive to empower the client through self-awareness, education, and also, using the strength based perspective to create positive acceptance of the multiracial or colored groups in our society. Social worker must practice without prejudice or biases and must strive to empower the oppressed or victims of social inequalities (National Association of Social Workers, 2007). Mary must first understand that relationship should not be based on color or racial identity but rather connection.
Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., &
Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New
York, NY: Routledge Press.
National Association of Social Workers. (2007). Institutional racism & the social work
profession: A call to action. Retrieved from
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies:
Working with Individuals: The case of Mary. Foundation year. Baltimore, MD:
Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
“Whiteness is everywhere in US culture, but it is very hard to see…White power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular” (Adams, Blumenfeld, Castaneda, Hackman, Peters & Zuniga, 2013, p. 77). This notion of “white power” within society is precisely at the core of the debate of racism versus privilege (Curran, 2005).. These two cultural concepts contribute to the maintenance of this “white” dominance within society. Racism is defined as the “cognitive belief that one ethnic group is superior to and dominant over another inferior group” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 445). This suggests that any individual, regardless of race, can hold racist views on the cognitive level. Privilege refers to a level of advantage granted to a person due, largely in part, to desired cultural aspects of society (Curran, 2005). Therefore, it can be determined that racism is a belief, while privilege is either present or not.
47-year old Mary was born into a white family, which automatically comes with some level of privilege (Plummer, Makris & Brocksen, 2014). Historically, simply being “white” lessens some of the cultural challenges unfortunately experienced by other races (Curran, 2005). Throughout her upbringing, her family maintained extremely racist views, believing that black people were “evil” (Plummer, et. al., 2014). As an impressionable child, views held by family members are not questioned or challenged. As a result, Mary spent much of her life believing in these views (Plummer, et. al., 2014). However, as a an adult, Mary clearly started questioning these views, as she pursued a romantic and sexual relationship with an African American man (Plummer, et. al., 2014). Contending with her family’s disapproving opinions, coupled with her own inner turmoil, Mary ended the relationship and developed subsequent anxieties that kept her from living a productive life (Plummer, et. al., 2014).
Mary’s internal struggle has had detrimental effects on her life (Plummer, et. al., 2014). As a social worker, using cognitive behavioral therapy to help Mary understand the struggle and then modify her behavior to achieve her desired outcomes, would certainly be an effective approach (Kirst – Ashman & Hull, 2015). Mary would benefit from a professional that can understand her struggle between her family’s values and her own personal beliefs that have morphed from her upbringing. By allowing Mary to understand that having dissenting beliefs from her family’s is a sign of growth, perhaps the process of empowerment can begin (Adams, et. al., 2013). Additionally, Mary has deemed it easier to label herself as “the crazy sister,” as opposed to acknowledging her different views as they started to unfold. Using a Strengths Based Perspective, the social worker can guide Mary to better understand her positive qualities, situations and experiences that have helped shaped her own set of values, separate from those of her family (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015). She was an individual who was able to hold a job and a relationship; there is simply no reason these same levels cannot be attained with increasing her awareness and understanding of what led her to her current set of circumstances (Plummer, et. al., 2014).
Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.
Curran, C.E. (2005) ‘White privilege’, Horizons, 32(02), pp. 361–367.
Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2015). Understanding generalist practice (6th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
Discussion: Values Consistent With Social Work Practice
· Respond to a colleague’s post by explaining why you agree or disagree with the concepts/values that he or she is trying to reinforce with Eboni. Please use the Learning Resources to support your answer.
References (use at least 1)
Eboni has shown to very mature for a sixteen-year-old child/adult. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016), adolescent behavior varies from person to person, with the point of maturity beginning somewhere around ages 11 – 12, and running up until the age of twenty. Puberty on the other hand, does have concrete stages that can be identified.
Eboni is a student that has a bright future ahead of her. She’s a hard worker and receives high honors in school. Her plans after graduation is to pursue a career in nursing. The impression is that she was reared in a close-nit family, attending an educational system that is geared towards higher learning. Her baby’s father is looking forward to continuing his education in computers upon graduation (Plummer, Makris and Brocksen, 2014).
Initially, the social worker showed insensitivity towards Eboni, but in spite of that, Eboni kept her composure. She’s shown self-respect, honesty, and self-control. At the following meeting, the social worker admitted to behaving unprofessionally, and did apologize. She asked Eboni for forgiveness which Eboni accepted, however after letting the social worker know how bad she felt after leaving their first meeting (Plummer, Makris and Brocksen, 2014). Eboni will do well in the future whatever decision she decides to make regarding her pregnancy.
If I were in the social worker’s position, I would have shown gratitude for Eboni returning to continue our micro sessions. I would make sure to ask her if she has any disdain towards me for my comments made at our previous meeting, and if she answers in the affirmative, I would apologize by letting her know that my behavior was inexcusable, and that she has every right to be disgusted with me. Hopefully, she would accept my apology.
Eboni is apprehensive about her pregnancy, which is understandable. To be such a young age, at every session, Eboni has shown a sincere interest in the opinions of those who are in her sphere of influence (Caputo, 2009); her parents, and the baby’s father.
Eboni has a very important decision to make regarding her education, housing, financial situation, and support system. She needs to listen to the opinions and advice of those whom she values the most. She needs to recognize that someone her age will face a multitude of problems raising a baby because of her lack of experience and because of her lack of financial stability. She needs to speak with those who have had children to get first-hand knowledge from someone her age, about being pregnant. She needs to realize that everyone is different, but there is wisdom in taking to heart the experience of others.
As Eboni’s, social worker, it is my responsibility to follow the guidelines set forth by the NASW. Therefore, I would help build her self-esteem by encouraging her to do what she believes is best, and by assuring her that she is not a bad person for becoming pregnant at this time in her life. I would help her focus on completing her education so that she could further her education and/or find employment no matter what her decision was. I would encourage Eboni to learn about child developmental stages by referring her to the following video link: http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized.html. Tsiaris, A. (2011). Conception to birth. I would provide Eboni information on abortion and her rights.
Each state has their own benefits and guidelines for teenage mothers as well as for mothers who are low to no income. The following benefits are generally the same for each state: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, Learning, Earning, and Parenting, or LEAP, General Educational Development (GED), and child care (livestrong.com).
Caputo, R. K. (2009). Adolescent sexual debut: A multisystem perspective of ethnic and racial differences. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 9(4), 330–358.
Live Strong Foundation. http://www.livestrong.com/article/187518-benefits-for-teen-mothers/. Retrieved on June 27, 2016
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., Brocksen, S. M., (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. The Logan Family.
Tsiaris, A. (2011). Conception to birth—Visualized [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/alexander_tsiaras_conception_to_birth_visualized.html
Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman (2016) (10th ed.). Understanding human behavior and the social environment. Baltimore, MD: Cengage Learning
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