Social Work Educators as White Allies?

An Integrative Literature Review


  • Michael Massey The Catholic University of America
  • Kynai Johnson Catholic University of America



White Allies, Social Work Edcuation, Antiracism


White educators represent the majority of social work faculty. Current research suggests that many White social work educators are not prepared to address racism in classroom discussions and model antiracist behavior. An integrative literature review was conducted by the co-authors—a White man and Black woman, both social work educators—to examine how recent literature characterizes the “White ally” educator and explore concepts designed to prepare White faculty for purposive action to dismantle White Supremacy. Integrative review is a methodology used to summarize empirical/theoretical literature to provide a comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon. Twenty-two articles met inclusion criteria for this review. The analysis involved two steps: First, a synthesis and integrative model of the literature on educators as White allies. Second, an application of the critical race theory concepts interest convergence and anti-essentialism. The integrative model of the White ally educator suggests a White identity process; necessitating critical self-reflection and multi-level, antiracist action. Critical examination of the literature troubles the concept of “White ally,” pointing to the potential re-centering of Whiteness. Further research is needed to help social work educators recognize racism in their work and prepare future social workers to engage in antiracist social work practice.


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