SW 3753


This course is designed to enable students to gain greater knowledge about the sources, manifestation and consequences of racism in contemporary Canada and to develop commitment and skills to practice social work in a culturally competent and antiracist manner. Students will evaluate different perspectives on race and ethnicity and consider the ways in which racism permeates traditional social work ideology and practice. A structural approach to social work in a multicultural context which links racism to other forms of oppression will be explored.


This course is close to my heart. I introduced it to STU and I have taught it twice at this university. I have spent the last three years carrying out research to understand what people in New Brunswick think that students need to learn to practice anti-racist social work. I have learned a lot from the research that I would like to share with you. I use the "heart," "head," "hand," and "soul" metaphors I described in "Introduction to Social Work," I attach a handout from "intro" to remind you or introduce you to them if they are new for you.


I reproduce below the following objectives drawn from the course outline for the first time I taught this course. We amended them and set priorities the last time I taught it. I hope that we will address all of them in some way but if we attempt to cover all of them in depth we will be unsuccessful. I suggest that we discuss them in the second class and decide upon our priorities.

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. define racism and describe how it is manifested in contemporary Canada, with particular reference to New Brunswick

2. demonstrate a general understanding about the historical roots of racism in North America and a particular knowledge about the local context.

3. describe ways in which current political, economic and social structures maintain and support racist ideologies.

4. explain how they have explored their own experiences and values in order to develop an anti-racist orientation

5. show how they have enhanced their understanding about how racism has adverse consequences for individual, family and community well being

6. justify the position that culturally competent practice necessitates an antiracist perspective

7. describe some of the ways in which racism combines with other forms of oppression

8. identify and develop skills required by an anti-racist social worker.


Kivel, P. (1996). Uprooting racism: How white people can work for racial justice.

Gabriola Island, BC: NSP (Library E 184.A1 K 477 - On reserve)
I plan to explore most sections of this text so I suggest that you buy it. It costs $19.95.
It is useful in raising consciousness about racism and suggests what white people can do about it. The context is US rather than Canadian and urban rather than rural but much of the content seems relevant to contemporary New Brunswick. We will use some of the exercises in class.

I have an extensive personal library which is available by appointment for reference (not removal from Holy Cross House) and I will provide handouts. The following two books are particularly useful. I have used both of these books as texts in the past.

Dominelli, L. (1997). Antiracist social work. Basingstoke, UK: MacMillan
Excellent account about anti-racism as opposed to cultural competence as a conceptual base for social work. Dominelli is British but her work has been a major influence on Canadian Schools of Social Work as they attempt to respond to ethnic and cultural diversity more adequately. Dominelli shows how UK social work education and social work practice are both imbued with racism. Do her points apply in this province?

I suggest that you glance through this book at some point. I have a copy.

The 1988 edition (not very different) is on reserve in the library (HV 248.D66).

Li, P. S. (Ed.). (1993). Race and ethnic relations in Canada. Toronto: Oxford University Press
This is a useful complement to Dominelli. Li is a sociologist and the book is a set of readings that cover a broad field. A demographic and conceptual overview is in the first section. The second addresses race, ethnicity and the state: this includes policies in regard to Indian people and immigrants as well as a critical look at the government policy of "multiculturalism". This book is worth a review. Like Dominelli it will help to orient you to the field. I have a copy. The 1990 edition is on reserve in the library (FC 104.R4). A 1999 edition is on order at the library.


My philosophy of social work education includes the following notions:

that we learn the most when we are active participants in our learning;

that "whole person" learning involves the head, the hand, the heart and the soul;

that teaching and learning involves change, challenges and risk taking for student and instructor;

that social work courses should address issues of interest and concern to students;

that as students and instructors we have responsibilities to others, (such as your future clients)

and these responsibilities should be taken seriously when courses are designed;

that issues relating to confidentiality should be discussed in each course;

that the Course Outline represents a contract between instructor and students, discussions leading to changes may be made in the very early part of the course but when initial changes have been made all parties should fulfill the requirements contained within the course outline;

that instructors, who have ultimate responsibility for the course design, should always inform students about course requirements and may also decide to consult students or delegate to students some authority in regard to the course design;

that students have the responsibility to ensure that they are clear about course requirements;

that instructors have a responsibility to assist students to develop skills in relating ideology to theory and theory to practice;

that instructors should be available to assist students with their learning, students should be encouraged to take the initiative to arrange meetings with instructors for this purpose;

that within each class the resources of each class member (students and instructor) should be available to further the learning of those present.

I would like to discuss these ideas, and how they relate to this course, during the first two weeks . I would also like these ideas to form the basis of an agreement between us regarding teaching and learning in this course. If we are to develop our understanding about racism, and skills to confront it, we all need to take personal risks, this requires considerable trust in the classroom.

SCWK 2023 Introduction to Social Work
SCWK 3033 Applied Social Research
SCWK 3223 Social Work and the Organization
SCWK 3753 Anti-racist Social Work
SCWK 3743 Social Work with Oppressed Groups
SCWK 4023 Field Integration Seminar

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