As a social worker, I try to stay informed and challenge my own biases. But module 1 showed me I still have a long way to go. I specifically work with individuals who are homeless and we have recently had a spike in clients not engaging in treatment. After module 1, I sent an email to my supervisor talking about how trauma leads to avoidance and our clients have a long history of cultural trauma. We are another barrier to POC securing housing by not looking at how our practices are rooted in racism. We are working to adjust our expectations of clients in our housing programs.
For me personally, I think I need to do more advocacy. Many of the issues addressed in module 1 occurred over generations and only ended 1 - 2 generations ago. That means many of clients are still processing what their parents and grandparents experienced. This creates a sense of mistrust and gaslighting if not addressed / validated.
I also think as a society, we need to look more into our conscious and unconscious beliefs of presumed criminality. While we may not "actively" practice those beliefs consciously today, our beliefs developed from years of presumed criminality for POC. Even when POC stand up for their rights, they are presumed criminal or misbehaving. As a social worker, I know this must be a traumatic and harmful experience. POC don't experience this once or twice, but throughout their lives and struggle with their families' experiences.
When I recently told a neighbor that I had been to the BLM protests and had friends going, my neighbor asked me if we attended as a protester or looter. Now I'm a white female, so I was taken aback by this question, but I knew it wasn't a personal attack. Watching module 1, I find myself reflecting more on how this neighbor probably has a bias of presumed criminality with POC and those who participate in the civil rights movement. And even individuals who consider themselves allies or non-racists, struggle with confronting this belief.
I'm curious to hear more from other social workers and mental health folk about what has changed for them.