Session: WITHDRAWN: Is Antiracism in Social Work Doomed to Fail?: A Roundtable on Interrogating Antiracism through Critical Colonialism (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

205 WITHDRAWN: Is Antiracism in Social Work Doomed to Fail?: A Roundtable on Interrogating Antiracism through Critical Colonialism

Saturday, January 15, 2022: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Archives, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity
Claudette L. Grinnell-Davis, PhD, MSW, MS, MTS, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Campus, Justin Harty, MSW, University of Chicago, Autumn Asher BlackDeer, PhD, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis, Na Youn Lee, MSW, MIA, PhD, University of Mississippi and Maria Gandarilla Ocampo, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis
Social work has historically struggled to act against racism within the profession (Gilbert, 1974; Ladhani & Sitter, 2020; Trolander, 1997). Social work has, at various points in time, adopted antiracist approaches to address racism within the profession (Graham, 2009). These efforts have centered on promoting awareness of prejudice, biases, stereotypes, and power structures that produce and maintain racial oppression from White social workers against Black populations (Dominelli & Campling, 2002). Antiracism has been expanded to include Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) (Pon, 2007), but has not included anticolonialism in these efforts (Lawrence & Dua, 2005; Miller, 1969). These efforts have failed, and will continue to fail, until social work (1) critically examines the interrelatedness between racism and colonization among BIPOC populations; (2) has meaningful discourse around fragmentation and dehistorization of BIPOC racial disempowerment and colonial domination; and (3) addresses the unique needs of different BIPOC populations stemming from concurrent but divergent histories of racism and colonialism.

In this workshop, we bring together diverse BIPOC social work faculty and doctoral students to stimulate dialogue on how racism legitimizes colonialism and how antiracism struggles are essentially anticolonialism struggles, and vice versa. We leverage critical theory and Nancy Shoemaker's colonialism typologies to propose an antiracism model we named "Critical Colonialism Antiracism Framework" (CCAF). We will discuss how CCAF critiques racism as a tool of Whiteness used to construct and maintain different types of colonization including settler colonialism (Indigenous land theft), planter colonialism (Black enslavement), and imperial colonialism (political and economic dominance and exploitation of people with Native American, Alaskan, African, Mexican, Asian, and Indian ancestry). We will highlight how CCAF conceptualizes racism as a product of Whiteness that enforces various forms of colonialist BIPOC exploitation through neo-colonialism (economic, political, and social structures oppressing BIPOC populations), police colonialism (killing, repression, and suppression of BIPOC individuals), and welfare colonialism (enforcement of repressive social order through welfare programs and social services). We will share how CCAF is informed by repeated attempts by BIPOC social workers to compel social work to engage in antiracism work and historical failings of antiracism efforts within the profession. We will discuss how CCAF critiques ways social work has decoupled links between racism and colonialism thereby ignoring historical connections between slave trades, colonialism, and state-sponsored genocide.

Our workshop has direct and significant implications for social work research, policy, and practice efforts towards antiracism by providing insight into how one-size-fits-all approach of antiracism is insufficient to address racism for diverse BIPOC groups with universal experiences (e.g., dominance, control, and dehumanization by Whites), common aspirations (e.g., racial, social, economic, and historical justice), but divergent goals (e.g., Indigenous land reclamation, Black liberation, and non-White immigrant citizenship). We will explore how White intellectualization of antiracism in social work continues to silence, overlook, and invalidate BIPOC agency, autonomy, and self-determination-further perpetuating racism and colonialism. We will supply recommendations for how social work can tailor antiracism efforts that are simultaneously sensitive to shared BIPOC experiences and goals and responsive to distinct BIPOC colonization histories.

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