Racial / Ethnic Identity
Understanding your personal racial / ethnic identity is an important aspect of personal development for everyone. This fact is especially true for aspiring social workers who will need to understand themselves before they can understand and help others. This paper will explore different aspects of how I formed my racial / ethnic identity, what beliefs developed along with that identity, and who was most influential in helping to form it. Furthermore this paper will attempt to explain how aspects of how my racial / ethnic identity will affect my interactions with others as a social worker. As well as how I will ensure effective interaction with those who have a different racial / ethnic identity.
Racial / Ethnic Definition and Development
White, male, lower-middle class defines my racial / ethnic identity best. Foundationally, I gained this identity while I was growing up. In my home, family beliefs were very ethnocentric. We considered people who were not like us wrong and less than. That is just how it was. Most of those beliefs were instilled be my father and grandfather who were fundamentally racist. For the first two-thirds of my life so was I. Slowly, I replaced my racist, ethnocentric views. The more life experience I gained and the more interaction I had with people of different racial / ethnic identities than my own the more able I was to change. I broke down all the beliefs that came with the racial / ethnic identity I gained through primary socialization and replaced them with updated versions. Although, working on fully removing the negative facets of my identity is an ongoing process. My new beliefs include more acceptance and understanding of other identities while allowing me to remain proud of being white, male, and lower-middle class.
Racial / Ethnic Identity in Relation to Social Work
Working with others who share the same racial / ethnic heritage as me may be...