Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This theoretical study is a declaration that speaking and acting from a place outside of opposition is powerful in creating a more racially just world. To explore this declaration, this thesis first reviews the language used in racial justice work today and the values that underlie this language. It then examines a different way of framing, one that seeks to come from a value system of acceptance of reality and working towards a more racially just world, rather than a value system rooted in opposition to reality and working against injustice. There is little to no literature on this topic. Therefore, this thesis applies the work of political linguist, George Lakoff, to framing in racial justice. Lakoff speaks of framing from a place of one's values, rather than in opposition to another's. Through an exploration of prominent figures from history and today that have impacted social change, as well as an exploration of the prominent values in diversity, multiculturalism and antiracism work, important values of racial justice work are determined. These values are then used to create new possibilities for framing and speaking about racial justice work that emphasizes what kind of world we wish to create rather than what kind of a world we are against. Social workers will benefit from this thesis by gaining an understanding of how to speak in a different way about racial justice that both enrolls more people into creating change and creates change merely by the enactment of speaking differently.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iii, 105 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 101-105)