back on the 13th grand challenge, by defining the problem and demarcating the scope of social works’ task. Correspondingly, within this same pronouncement is a subtler,
and potentially overlooked, calls for social workers to engage in the preparatory act of critical, professional self-evaluation. Put differently, contained within their 2020 release is a call for social work to examine, as part of the larger society, its own investment in ideological and behavioral practices that promote “...racist policies, bias, and discriminatory practices...” (GCSW, 2020).
Methods: A critical review of social work literature focused on engaging racial inequalities suggests the persistence of a series of neglected conceptual and behavioral models that actively reinforce existing practices of racial marginalization in social work curricula.
Results: Social work has long been self-identified as a progressive, helping, liberative profession. However, this personal hypothesis has been largely sustained independent of any persistent critical interrogation of its epistemological, pedagogical, and performative assumptions, practices, or outputs. Unfortunately, this oversight, which has gained considerable attention in the past few years, has rendered social work susceptible to participating, unintentionally or otherwise, in the same systems of racial injustice it publicly castigates. Therefore, this presentation will explore the intersectional conflict between social work’s ideological assumptions, educational practices, research, and its professed desires to decolonize the profession and eliminate racism.
Conclusion: To the extent to which social work desires to manifest its professional ideals, a congruent culture of human interchange, and body of curriculum, it must prioritize investments in the development, promotion, and proliferation of research and evaluative efforts that call attention to the unique and often unacknowledged ways in which social work actively and passively reinforces systems of marginalization it desires to eliminate. However, doing so is not easy, and will require social workers to recontextualize voices and experiences that have been historically relegated to dismissible, a-historical, subjective, and individualized abnormalities. This does not mean that these voices should be elevated or centralized to the exclusion of others; rather, they should be fully integrated, thus expanding the existing discourse in ways that are edifying, sustainable, challenging, and scalable.