Session: A Colorist-Historical Trauma Framework: Culturally Responsive Practice with African Americans (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

117 A Colorist-Historical Trauma Framework: Culturally Responsive Practice with African Americans

Friday, January 17, 2020: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Archives, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity (R&E)
Anna Ortega-Williams, PhD, Hunter College School of Social Work, Jandel Crutchfield, PhD, LCSW, University of Texas at Arlington and J. Camille Hall, PhD, LCSW, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Research has shown that racism is a source of trauma for African Americans and a social determinant of health (Carter, 2013; Pinderhughes, 1989; Robinson, 2001). Colorism is a key factor of racism and has been shown to negatively impact the psychological and physical well-being of African Americans (Hall & Crutchfield, 2018; McBride-Murray, Heflinger, Suiter, & Brody, 2011). Violence and harm based on the color of one's skin is not new. It is a part of a larger historical context of racial subjugation and oppression of African Americans, which has had different sociopolitical and economic manifestations over time (Keith & Monroe, 2016). Culturally responsive practice in social work has evolved over the past thirty years to strengthen macro-, mezzo-, and micro-level interventions addressing race-based trauma. However, there is scant conceptual or empirical research that has examined well-being among African Americans in the context of historical trauma, through the lens of colorism. This roundtable discussion will explore the intersectionality of historical trauma through the lens of colorism. The dialogue will inform a “colorist-historical trauma framework” that can inform social work research, practice, and education that is culturally responsive.In this roundtable, discussants will: 1)define colorism and historical trauma, in the African American context, 2)examine dominant approaches of culturally responsive practice with African Americans, 3)explore intersection of colorism and historical patterns of oppression among African Americans, and 4) identify contemporary color-based disparities in well-being, for example in housing access, school discipline practices, sentencing within the criminal justice system, and health care. The discussants, who all identify as African American and who vary in skin color, will offer their perspectives on this research topic and lived experiences as context. They will compare and contrast the differences and commonalities of their experiences in the Northeast and in the South at the intersection of historical trauma and colorism in the United States. Participants will engage in a thorough investigation into the functioning of colorism within racism, and how this relates to historical trauma among African Americans. The goal is to inform the multidimensional strategies needed to address the SSWR 2020 Conference theme, and the social work Grand Challenge, of reducing racial and economic inequality.
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