Achieving Racial Equity Through Social Work: Gatekeeping and Manifestations of Racism

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definition needed

First, definition of the problem must be established from a social scientist perspective. That has not happened. Before the position is taken that "racism is manifest in the outcomes of systems" a strong, healthy discussion must include concepts of internal locus of control vs external locus of control and behavioral manifestations of collective ego defense mechanisms. This discussion must include a healthy discussion based on comparison and contrast of other ethnic groups and their achievement in inclusion practices in American society vs other ethnic or rAcial groups struggling for total acceptance. The notion that racism is based on a power differential has not been widely accepted in the social scientist community. So, this discussion must take place prior to individuals establishing their own definitions. To date, the recent discussions changing the definition of racism from the 1960s has not occurred. Yes, I reject NASW position because this discussion failed to take place. Lastly,, the discussion must include a working framework to measure the existence of racism in today's society extending beyond the emotional appeal.

Dee Kelley more than 6 years ago


Gatekeeping is the power to exclude, to serve as an obstruction to entry.
Social workers keep out the "unqualified" when acting in their gatekeeping role. It is the wrong tool to describe internal change agent behavior.
There is no such structural creature as an organizational system that is undefended and open to critique.

Presumably you are envisioning a hypothetical model of a system in a in the discription you envision in your post? Network, sing three choruses of Kombya and call me in the morning isn't gatekeeping; and it isn't likely to succeed at diversifying an organization in a real world situation.

Social workers, like all workers seldom have the power to change their organization, and those who organize are 80% likely to be fired, as those who whistle blow have a 90% chance of being fired. Then you are back to being an outside agent of change and have gate kept only yourself from you ability to pay rent.

Unions redistribute some power between those that can fire people who work for them (bosses) and those who can be fired (workers). Unionized social workers have been known to act in tandem (see Gapasin, Fernando "Central Labor Council Neighborhood Action Program" for description of anti apartheid struggle in San Jose CA for example in the real world). Social workers who "network" to change their organization's status quo of institutionalized racism without the protections of a labor accord are largely eligible to collect unemployment benefits in most states.

Ellen Starbird more than 6 years ago

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