Finding Shelter in the Storm

Undoing Racism in a Predominantly White School of Social Work 




anti-racism, White Supremacy, undoing racism, Critical Race Theory, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, social work education


This paper presents the case study of a 100+ year old school of social work recently shaken by acts of racial aggression targeted toward our Black/African American community. Following campus incidents that received national attention, minority social work students urged faculty to organize action to voice values of equity and justice, and to provide an intentional safe space within our school. In response, a volunteer faculty committee dedicated themselves to the group’s formation and implementation of the Undoing Racism Principles from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB, n.d.), beginning internally and expanding outward. Representing multiple identities and positionalities of power, committee members use these principles to process our privilege. We reflect on our journeys with racism as social work educators and as individuals who are, and have been, influenced by internalized historical and contemporary racism. Guided by Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire 1970/ 2002) and Critical Race Theory (Sulé, 2020), the praxis of reflecting in-and-on our work has evolved (Schön, 1983, 1987). Authors share their personal experiences, professional impacts, and efforts to implement anti-racist pedagogy. Contextual implications for schools of social work that aim to become anti-racist within their implicit and explicit curricula are provided by this case study.


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