“Theory’s Cool, But Theory With No Practice Ain’t Shit…”

Critical Theories and Frameworks to Dismantle Racism in Social Work Education and Practice


  • Dale Dagar Maglalang Boston College
  • Smitha Rao Boston College




social work education, theory, race, education, critical pedagogies, anti-racism


As it stands today, social work education falls short in providing critical theories and frameworks that reflect the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Such insufficiencies maintain racism and other forms of oppression that plague both social work pedagogy and praxis. To challenge and dismantle hegemonic curricula, social work education needs to do more to provide the knowledge and tools necessary for anti-racist social work. The purpose of this article is to present five critical theories and frameworks written by Indigenous and People of Color scholars that social work educators, researchers, and practitioners can integrate into their teaching and practice to raise the critical consciousness of social work students. These five postulations are Compa Love, Racial Triangulation Theory, Breath of Life Theory, kapwa, and cultural wealth. The article will also discuss implications for social work education and practice. Centering the voices of under-represented scholars whose epistemologies are rooted in the lived experiences and communities that the field of social work traverses provides a pathway for social work education and practice to be tailored towards self-determination for all.


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