The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Lessons Learned Dismantling White Supremacy in a School of Social Work




White supremacy, academic innovation, positive education disruption


For the last several years, the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW) has worked to deconstruct the hidden nature of whiteness rooted in theories, methods, and practices of education. To that end, the BCSSW created two strategies designed to foster systemic change: the Latinx Leadership Initiative and the Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Initiative. This study uses narrative analysis to examine these initiatives as catalysts of sustainable change. We dive deep into: (1) strategies designed to disrupt a White supremacy approach to the explicit and implicit curriculums; (2) activities to engage stakeholders on dismantling institutional racism. Our ultimate goal is to draw lessons that may be useful to the profession. To that end, we discuss knowledge gained concerning academic innovation, shared governance, and alternatives to an Eurocentric epistemological approach to social work. We also include implications for the profession concerning the incorporation and validation of non-White ways to understand human development, health, disease, diagnostics, and interventions; and present some of the strategies we developed to de-center whiteness and support BIPOC students in a White-majority institution of higher education.


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