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SOCW 6051: Week 2 Journal

For this Week’s Journal, complete the following activities:

Part A

According to section 1.05(c) Cultural Awareness and Social Diversity of the NASW (2017) Code of Ethics, “Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability.”

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

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Instructions: The table below shows a list of Social Identities. Place an X in the box to signify whether you hold privilege or lack privilege based on that identity. Then briefly explain why you identified as holding or lacking privilege. Provide a concrete example to demonstrate your understanding of privilege related to this specific identity characteristic. In the final column, provide a brief narrative about why you hold or lack privilege based on that specific identity.

Your place of privilege is often determined by the perceived social group in which society places you, and privilege varies depending on the context and intersecting identities. You may hold a position of privilege with one identity, while simultaneously holding a position which lacks privilege from another identity. You will not be graded on how you self-identify. The goal is to engage in self-reflection and critical thought. You may choose not to disclose any identity. If you prefer not to state, explain which groups hold privilege based on that identity characteristic and how that affects other groups.

Social Identity Hold

Privilege

Lack Privilege Prefer Not to State Why?
Example:[Social Identity] x I identify as OR Other people identify me as ____. This identity holds [does not hold] a position of privilege in society because…

In US culture, [this identity] is considered the “norm.”

A specific example of the privilege [or lack of privilege] that I experience is seeing [not seeing] positive representations of people who look or believe like me in the mass media. This is a privilege [or lack of privilege] because…

My experience with this identity characteristic is…

Race/Ethnicity X I identify as an African American. As per the African American history, most of the forefathers of the race migrated into the US as a result of slavery. It is due to such a history that African Americans have been an inferior race in the US as most of the other races do not consider African Americans as belonging in the US. Such inferiority has resulted in a lack of privileges among African Americans.

For instance, African Americans often have a hard time accessing public resources or even funds as they are viewed as a lower race compared to others. The same goes for positions of leadership where few African Americans, after a lot of struggle, have managed to get the positions. Take the case of the presidency where among the 45 presidents in the US, only one was of African American race.

My experience with this identity is that I have to put more effort than my counterparts since most people have a negative mindset about African Americans in the US.

Color x I identify as black. This identity lacks privilege in the US since white is considered as the default or norm. Such lack of privileges is evidenced by the small numbers of blacks in governance and in ownership of property among others.

In the US, blacks are considered untrustworthy and violent. An example of such a perception is shown in stores when blacks are followed around when shopping as they are thought to be prone to shoplifting.

My experience with this identity has been discouraging as I have lost opportunities due to my race sometimes even without knowing.

Sex x I identify as a female. Due to the male-dominated society, especially in terms of power and influence, the female identity lacks privileges. An example is a case where a leadership opportunity occurs and the society readily accepts the idea of a man taking the leadership role as opposed to a woman. Such a mentality explains why among the 45 presidents the US has had, no woman has made it to the seat so far. Moreover, most religions advocate for men to take leadership roles, which makes it harder for women.

My experience with this identity, a black African American female, is that my views or opinions are often undervalued and thus making my career progression slow down.

Sexual Orientation x I identify as a heterosexual. This identity holds privilege as it is considered the norm in the US culture. Being a heterosexual is readily accepted in the US and in most cases advantageous. For example, it is easier for a heterosexual family man or woman to obtain a home in almost all neighborhoods as opposed to their counterparts.

My experience with this identity is that I am readily accepted in most societal organizations such as schools, religious places, neighborhoods.

Gender Identity or Expression X I identify as a cisgender since my self-identity is in line with the gender I was assigned at birth. Being a cisgender holds privileges as it is considered the norm in the US culture. For instance, I experience no opposition or conflicts when buying items related to my gender such as clothes or makeup or even going to the bathrooms.

My experience as a cisgender is that I rarely have a hard time getting a partner due to a large number of heterosexual cisgenders as they are considered as the norm in US culture.

National Origin
Immigration Status
Age
Marital Status
Political Belief
Religion

PART B:

According to the preamble to the NASW (2017) Code of Ethics, “The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.”

However, addressing social oppression often means challenging our own positions of power and privilege. This can evoke difficult emotions, and there may be times you will want to disengage from the work. As a social worker, it is essential to engage in critical reflection so that unexamined personal bias does not negatively affect client interaction.

Instructions: Based on your experience completing Part A, answer the reflective questions in the Table below. Responses should be short answer and demonstrate critical thought and self-reflection.

Question Response
What feelings did you experience when identifying positions of privilege?
Why do you think you experienced these feelings?
What feelings did you experience when identifying identities that may lack privilege?
Why do you think you experienced these feelings?
How may these feelings help or hinder your ability to competently engage in culturally aware social work services?
What does it mean that social identity and privilege are socially constructed?
What are specific steps that you will take during this quarter to develop your understanding of concepts presented and be willing to consider diverse perspectives?

PART C

Social Workers advocate for human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. The reasons that social workers engage in critical reflection is to be able to identify their own positionally, disrupt their role in oppressive structures, and use their power and privileges to advocate for social justice for all groups. For this part of the journal, you examine environmental justice.

According to the Council on Social Work Education (2015):

Environmental justice occurs when all people equally experience high levels of environmental protection and no group or community is excluded from the environmental policy decision-making process, nor is affected by a disproportionate impact from environmental hazards. Environmental justice affirms the ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, respect for cultural and biological diversity, and the right to be free from ecological destruction. This includes responsible use of ecological resources, including the land, water, air, and food. (p. 20)

CSWE. (2015). 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/Accreditation/Standards-and-Policies/2015-EPAS/2015EPASandGlossary.pdf.aspx

Instructions : Using the table below answer the following questions. Responses should be short answer and demonstrate critical thought and self-reflection.

Questions Response
How is environmental justice related to human rights, social justice, and economic justice?
Describe two different locations within your community that when compared demonstrate environmental injustice. If possible, insert an image into this document showing the environment.
How do the identity characteristics you identified in Part A of this Journal influence your relationship to these two locations in your community?
What is the social worker’s role in addressing environmental justice?
What are specific steps you can take to address environment justice in your community?

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References

Joseph, R. P., Ainsworth, B. E., Keller, C., & Dodgson, J. E. (2015). Barriers to physical activity among African American women: an integrative review of the literature. Women & health55(6), 679-699.

Horsford, S. D., & Tillman, L. C. (Eds.). (2016). Intersectional identities and educational leadership of Black women in the USA. Routledge.

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