Social Working Black Families

Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


The white supremacist ideology deeply embedded in social work practice can be explored by examining white social workers’ intervention in black families. The family, as the raw material of practice, provides the major backdrop against which social work intervention occurs. White feminists have criticised at length white social workers’ involvement with white families (Dominelli, 1986; Wilson, 1977). When it comes to intervening in black families, white social workers pretend that there has been no such critique and that ‘the white family’, unlike ‘the black family’, is the source of all that is wonderful. Intervention in black families becomes problematic because white social workers treat black family forms as pathological and deviant for transmitting traditions differing from white, middle class, heterosexual ones. As one white social worker involved with an Afro-Caribbean family informed me, ‘They are not like us. They’re more strict with their children. They’re more ambitious for them’.


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© British Association of Social Workers 1997

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