One of social work's main tenets is social justice. Students should be expected to define, discuss, and listen to others talk about social justice. Dr. Wright (2012) says that over his years of teaching, he has noticed that graduate students in the social work field seem, at times, incapable of having rational and civil conversations about the effects that social injustices such as racism. He points out that frank talks about racism lead to hostile reactions from some students. Racism seems to bring out the hostile reactions even more than any other topic under the social justice umbrella. Dr. Wright (2012) also points out that even the faculty in graduate social work programs are hesitant to discuss racism due to the hostile reactions and negative feelings it brings out in students. The article includes a discussion on what it means to have a dialogue and how students learn to debate instead of a dialogue.
I find it very sad that Dr. Wright had to say that racism was real, still exists, and has profound impacts on the lives of everyone involved but especially people of color. I also wonder if I am ever hostile during conversations about race or racism. I know when I first learned about white privilege, I had a very negative reaction and criticized the woman who was trying to introduce the topic. Eventually I dealt with the guilt and shame I felt that caused my anger about white privilege and still have to work with myself and my feelings constantly. I feel uncomfortable still, at times, during different discussions on racism.
I have also seen my professors at this school avoid topics of social justice and have wonder why. These people have doctorates and have worked in the social work field for several years, why avoid the ism's that exist in our society. Dr. Wright said they worried about negative evaluations but honestly, every time I point out the sexism or racism in a class and they ignore it or steer the conversation away, it makes me think they are not a good teacher. Shouldn't the professors be speaking out about injustices louder than the students?
Racism in a "post-racist" society
I seriously had to look up what a post-racist society was. Our society is not...