Dismantling White Supremacy in Social Work Education

We Build the Road by Walking


  • Charla Yearwood Connected in Community, LLC
  • Rosemary A. Barbera La Salle University
  • Amy K. Fisher The University of Mississippi
  • Carol Hostetter Indiana University




dismantaling racism, Social work


We are excited to share this special edition of Advances in Social Work with you. When we distributed a call for abstracts, we were inundated – in a good way – with proposals. The need for social workers to discuss the role that white supremacy occupies within our history, education, and practice was obvious. Because of the number of abstracts received, we made the decision to publish a double edition so that the important information contained in these articles can be widely shared. The submissions fell into three general themes--historical, instructional, and institutional examinations. Each set of articles offers much for us to reflect and act upon moving forward. There is a reckoning happening and we are thrilled that this special edition is part of that reckoning.

In all, we hope that this special issue will help advance our conversations in social work education around white supremacy and how it influences our practice, research, and education. Recognizing that our Code of Ethics calls us to “pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups”, we believe it is important for social work as a profession to consistently evaluate its own institutions for ways we can practice what we preach. As social work educators, we have the ethical and moral responsibility to learn, grow, and challenge ourselves. We can do better. We must do better.

Author Biography

Carol Hostetter, Indiana University

Social Work Associate Professor


Almeida, R. V., Werkmeister Rozas, L. M., Cross-Deny, B., Kyeunghae Lee, K., & Yamada, A. M. (2019). Coloniality and intersectionality in social work education and practice. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 2, 148-164. https://doi.org/10.1080/10428232.2019.1574195

Associated Press. (2020, July 20). Explaining AP style on Black and white. Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/archive-race-and-ethnicity-9105661462

Day, P., & Schiele, J. (2013). A new history of social welfare (7th ed.). Pearson.

EsPoesía. (n.d.). Caminante No Hay Camino: Antonio Machado. https://www.espoesia.com/poesia/antonio-machado/caminante-no-hay-camino-antonio-machado/

Gray, A. (2019, June 4). The bias of ‘professionalism’ standards. Stanford Social Innovation Review. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_bias_of_professionalism_standards

Gregory, J. R. (2020). Social work as a product and project of Whiteness, 1607-1900. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 32(1), 17-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/10428232.2020.1730143

Lash, D. (2017). When the welfare people come: Race and class in the US child protection system. Haymarket Books.

National Association of Social Workers [NASW]. (2021) Code of ethics. https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Roberts, D. (2008). The racial geography of child welfare: Toward a new paradigm. Child Welfare, 87(2), 125-150.

Schiele, J. H. (1997). The contour and meaning of Afrocentric social work. Journal of Black Studies, 27(6), 800-819. https://doi.org/10.1177/002193479702700605

SWCAREs. (n.d.). Social work coalition for anti-racist educators. https://www.swcares.org/