Session: Gatekeeping As a Mechanism of Systemic Racism: Bipoc Student Perspectives (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

123 Gatekeeping As a Mechanism of Systemic Racism: Bipoc Student Perspectives

Friday, January 14, 2022: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Marquis BR Salon 8, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity
Stefani N. Baca-Atlas, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Erum Agha, PhD, MSW, LCSW, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Latoya Hogg, MSW, Howard University, Alicia Mendez, MSW, Rutgers University and Javier Garcia-Perez, MSW, University of California, Los Angeles
The word systemic has power to absolve individuals of responsibility. However, systemic racism requires individuals to be accountable for internalizing white supremacist culture and executing racist behaviors. Consciously or otherwise, even social work scholars impose practices that slow progress, limit scholarly growth, and ultimately harm the very people social workers seek to benefit. Specifically, gatekeeping in its many forms cost scholars of color acceptance into programs and fellowships, mentoring, publications, funding, and eventually, appointments to academic positions. This is not to mention the undue emotional and intellectual burden that BIPOC students face as a result of feeling excluded from academic spaces. Scholars of color can infuse lived experience into research and generate new lines of inquiry, but when this work is devalued, scholars are left wondering if their methods, ideas, or skin color are the reason their research stalled. Gatekeeping serves to perpetuate the notion that Eurocentric ontology and epistemology are those that hold value; education is mired in this form of colonization. Potential contributions to the field are stymied by perceptions BIPOC students are not similarly qualified as white peers. A well-documented tactic following gatekeeping is to gaslight an individual. This combination produces consequences for scholars of color that create risks for erasure from the academy. While other students generate novel ideas, progress in their studies and apply for funding, students of color are forced to take remedial steps. Additional time requires additional funding and delays gainful employment. Equally important, failure is a heavy burden as any blunder is seen as evidence that BIPOC students are not a "good fit" for such "rigorous" programs. The connections between gatekeeping, wellbeing, and research are not often discussed among BIPOC students. Removing silos of institutions and their gatekeepers allows scholars of color to collaboratively generate contemporary theory to describe social problems in safe environments. BIPOC doctoral students of today are poised for leadership positions. By embracing values of collectivism and equity, BIPOC doctoral students have potential to change systems rather than reinforce them. This roundtable seeks to provide space to discuss the mechanisms and consequences of gatekeeping on mental health and social work research. The speakers are multi-racial and ethnic with various intersecting identities. They will discuss how "good" social work researchers can act as gatekeepers; gatekeeping as a mechanism for silencing marginalized communities; and the overrepresentation of white scholarship in the academy. The goal of the roundtable is to share up-to-date literature describing the phenomena, engage in critical discourse about gatekeeping as a mechanism of systemic racism as well as opportunities to disrupt the practice. Finally, attendees can look forward to identifying opportunities to collaborate on scholarship related to the elimination of systemic racism.
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