Introduction: Anti-Racist Social Work — A Critical Issue for White People

Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


The electoral successes of the Far Right in Europe since the late 1980s, including the election of a councillor from the British National Party in a by-election in Tower Hamlets, London in 1994, are overt manifestations of the growing respectability being accorded to right-wing extremists who popularise racist sentiments, aimed specifically at ‘immigrants’ — a euphemism for black people1. Others include the rise in the number of life-threatening racist attacks in Europe (Bjorgo and Witte, 1993); the increasingly vociferous white backlash which is legitimating anew the racist discourses being articulated, for example, in both Britain and America (see Dunant, 1994; Murray, 1990); the advent of ‘Fortress Europe’ with its overriding preoccupation of keeping people from the Third World out of the European geographical terrain, whether they are seeking admission as labourers or asylum seekers (Gordon, 1992); and the spread of narrow-minded nationalistic fervour (Cheles et al., 1991). Set against these developments are black people’s struggles for liberation and the elimination of racial oppression (S. Small, 1994); the promotion of equal opportunities legislation (Dalrymple and Burke, 1995); and antiracist struggles initiated by both individuals and groups.


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© British Association of Social Workers 1997

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