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Join the #MacroSW Chat on 6/25 at 9 PM EDT About Implicit Bias in Social Work

Kristin Battista-Frazee

As our society grapples with why the killings of African Americans in the U.S., particularly by law enforcement, happen and racially motivated hate crimes and murders occur like the one at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17,  we must consider the role implicit bias.  Implicit bias in not a conscious avowal of a stereotype but a covert attitude, a lack of awareness that these biases even exist. Implicit bias can also be positive; a white person may have a bias in favor of African Americans, for example, or be unbiased regarding all religious faiths.

Most of white Americans consider themselves to be not prejudiced based on race or ethnicity. Social workers have, as a fundamental value, the obligation to help all people, “with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vunerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.” (NASW, 2008)

Over 40% of social workers are involved in some form of advocacy or community organizing for at least part of the their professional lives. Our cultural competency requires understanding oppression based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, age, ableism, gender expression, and more.

Does this mean that our profession has less implicit bias because we consciously work to address oppression in all its forms?

In this twitter chat, hosted by  Pat Shelly, University at Buffalo School of Social Work (@UBSSW), we will discuss implicit bias in the social work profession.  Before the chat we urge you to anonymously take one of the Implict Attitude Test (IAT). This  test measures attitudes toward or beliefs about certain racial, ethnic or religious groups. You may be favorably surprised at your results; there is also the possibility you will receive disappointing results.

For discussion question for this chat and to read the full post, visit #MacroSW site