The Schooling of Social Work

By: Ashley Williams

I remember, at the beginning of my Masters of Social Work program, a professor said to the class, “In case you didn’t know, social work is the white women’s profession” with an undertone of shade in her voice. I had just graduated with my BSW and had not realize until that moment, the field is full of white women who may or may not have my community’s best interest in heart. It is a shame when institutions and those with privileged identities weaponized their privilege against the oppressed.

Now, this is not a white women hater post. Alternatively, it is not a bash social work school post. My time in my MSW program was amazing because of the people I built relationships with and developed close friendships, with many of those being from various backgrounds. But I think it’s both okay and necessary, as my social work background would tell me, to speak out against wrongdoings, stand up for what you believe in and don’ let anyone silence you. I think in social work school, the idea is that there would be more of a Kumbaya experience. We are told to “give grace” and “assume intent”. However, I cannot stand respectability politics and I do not have time to hold anyone’s hand. I have a very low tolerance for white tears. Therefore, I am going to need allies to have some tougher skin if they are going to be a part of this fight.

Out of all places to witness injustice, I did not think I would find it in Social Work school. Seriously? These institutions were not built for us. Hell, do we really think Jane Adams wanted Black folks in Hull house? Can Social Work be any more “white savior”? News Flash! We do not need saving, we need respect.  Do not fix your privilege to silence Black women. Do not fix your privilege to silence me. Because it will not work. We will come back stronger, more powerful, and louder than you could have ever imagined. Put some respect on Black women  name and our labor.

Ashley Williams is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC.

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