Racism is a doctrine or teaching that does three things, discussion help – Excelsior Writers | excelsiorwriters.com
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Racism is a doctrine or teaching that does three things. First, it claims to find racial differences in things like character and intelligence. Second, racism asserts the superiority of one race over another. Finally, it seeks to maintain dominance through systems of beliefs, behaviors, language and policies. Racism ranges from the individual to the institutional level and reflects and enforces a pervasive view, in white dominated U.S. culture that people of color are inferior to whites (Adams et al., 2013). White privilege is a preference for whiteness serving several functions. It provides white people with benefits they do not earn and that people of color do not enjoy. It also creates real advantages for whites

Mary was raised in a racist household and she and her family believe that African Americans and people of color are “untrustworthy and bad” She also stated that she takes “…after my father, and he thinks black people are just evil” and that she “…understands her feelings about race are not right.” To excuse her affair Mary believes that bad people (African American in this case) are capable of “brainwashing” good people to perform bad deeds. Mary no longer leaves her house unaccompanied and began therapy by taking her sister whom she referred to as a caretaker and minder, who knew her better than she knew herself. Mary believes if she talked for herself she would get “it wrong.”

It is obvious Mary has an issue with trusting herself and her judgement. This probably a result of having desires and beliefs that contradict the family values. She cannot accept the fact, nor take responsibility for, that she engaged in a relationship (an affair actually) with a black man. Instead, something must be wrong with her and her decisions cannot be trusted. She is a danger to herself.

A social worker could take two approaches in helping Mary. (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2012). Empowerment is the “process of increasing personal, interpersonal, or political power so that individuals can take action to improve their life situations (Zastrow and Kist-Ashman, 2012). Focusing on “…client resources, capabilities, knowledge, abilities, motivations, experience, intelligence, and other positive qualities that can be put to use to solve problems and pursue positive changes (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2012)” provides a basis for empowerment. The therapist could also use the approach from a systems theory and the ecological perspective. The ecological approach emphasizes the importance of people’s involvement with multiple systems in the social environment, including macro systems, and examines these systems’ significance (Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, 2012).


Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Hackman, H. W., Peters, M. L., & Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2013). Readings for diversity and social justice. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Plummer, Sara-Beth, Sara Makris, Sally Brocksen. Social Work Case Studies: Foundation Year. Laureate Publishing, 2013-10-21. VitalBook file.

Zastrow, Charles; Kirst-Ashman, Karen K.. Brooks/Cole Empowerment Series: Understanding Human Behavior and the Social Environment (Human Behavior in the Social Environment) (Page 13). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.


Race is the cultural and social construct, it is your biological being. Racism takes these physical attributes/or social identity and use them to as a way to discriminate and show prejudice supported by power and privilege. Privilege is the advantages available to a particular higher social hierarchy of society that allows for access to power and wealth (NASW, 2007).

With the case of Mary, Mary’s family put a hierarchy on their family above that of African American families and caused this sense of shame and guilt upon Mary for choosing to be with an African American. They had this since of power based on their perceived social hierarchy.

The impact of racism and privilege on social worker practice is that it marginalize individual and when individuals are marginalized the are left with this feeling of being powerless and as a social worker our code of ethics explain that our job is to “ enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty (NASW, 2008).” Thus this is the core of our work and set the tone of how we work with our clients.

When working with Mary the social worker could employ the use of an empowerment perspective with Mary by using the generalist practice skills of empathy and social perceptiveness and persuasion. For instance when using an empowerment perspective you are assisting the client to develop and increase skills in the exercise of interpersonal influence and the performance of valued social roles by a collaborative relationship between worker and client, the Social worker promotes the client’s power through self-actualization, self-determination, and the fulfillment of personal goals (Walden, 2016 as cited by Gutierrez, Parsons, & Cox, 1998). In the case of Mary, the social worker for a relationship with Mary to allow her to verbalize why she wanted to perceived as the crazy sister she empowered Mary to face head on her self-actualization of race of her position of the family and their family’s ideas about race and their view of themselves as separate and unique from non-family members (Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M., 2014)


National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/Code/code.asp

National Association of Social Workers. (2007). Institutional racism & the social work profession: A call to action. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/diversity/Institution…

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