Session: Anti-Black Racism and Historical Trauma: Pushing the Positive Youth Development Paradigm (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

09 Anti-Black Racism and Historical Trauma: Pushing the Positive Youth Development Paradigm

Thursday, January 12, 2023: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Desert Sky, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Black and African Diaspora Focused-Research
Anna Ortega-Williams, PhD, Hunter College School of Social Work
Troy Harden, PhD, Texas A&M University, Jaime Booth, PhD, University of Pittsburgh and Anna Ortega-Williams, PhD, Hunter College School of Social Work
CURRENT KNOWLEDGE BASE: The Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework transformed the direction of youth work in the United States twenty years ago (Lerner, Fisher, & Weinberg, 2000). PYD, while embraced in many sectors of youth work, has faced criticism for its emphasis on positive personal change and adaptation without an emphasis on social justice and culture, which are especially relevant for African Americans (Travis & Leech, 2014). Additional models of PYD have emerged to address these conceptual gaps by supporting Black youth to develop critical consciousness through critical thinking, reflection, and action to promote social change (Christens, Winn, & Duke, 2016; Diemer, Rapa, Voight, & McWhirte, 2016). However, few PYD models explicitly address anti-Black racism, historical trauma, and colorism as it relates to African American youth development.

PROPOSED ROUNDTABLE: In this roundtable, viewpoints on PYD will be examined, such as Empowerment-Based Positive Youth Development (EB) and Critical Positive Youth Development (CPYD) for their strengths and limitations in supporting social work research and practice for Black youth development in racially hostile environments. Perspectives on historical trauma responses among Black youth and anti-Black racism will be discussed, as related to positive youth development, along with culturally appropriate interventions.

IMPLICATIONS: An extensive literature base documents the negative impact of racism, psychologically and physiologically, although it is not explicitly addressed in dominant PYD frameworks (Loyd & Williams, 2017). PYD scholars with an Afrocentric or culturally-oriented perspective contend that the PYD field would be remiss to not address anti-Black racism (Grills, et al., 2016). Confronting contemporary and historical patterns of racialized violence and recognizing the context of collective cultural strength, PYD programming can be reconceptualized to support Black youth to heal from historical trauma and anti-Black racism (Ginwright, 2018).

In the roundtable, common tools of PYD, such as promoting civic engagement and prosocial behavior will be deconstructed and reimagined in recognition of healing from historical trauma and anti-Black racism as key developmental tasks for Black adolescents. The conversation will also envision healing-centered engagement as a paradigm shift in how youth development organizations can support Black youth to thrive. Healing-centered engagement is defined as an approach to holistic youth development that emphasizes culture, spirituality, collective healing, and civic action (Ginwright, 2018). Incorporating healing from anti-Black racism and historical trauma shifts the purpose and focus of typical strategies used within PYD to promote responsive youth development, which actively interrupts white supremacy.

See more of: Roundtables