Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Racism in social service, Culture competence, Identity (Psychology), Popular culture, Postmodernism, Psychotherapy-Cross-cultural studies, Theoretical, Cultural competency, Identity formation, Critical race theory, Postmodern theory, Male, Black, White, Systemic racism


This theoretical thesis explores how racism is unavoidable in social work because of the weight of systemic influences. It looks at how the use of cultural competency could be unethical, by using both critical race and postmodern theory. The use of critical race theory in thinking about cultural competency seems to allow for a passive acceptance of a system which has continued to be un-critical of its racist origins and assumptions. Furthermore the enacting of cultural competency through a postmodern view could at times be considered a micro aggression and as such unethical. This paper hopes that by acknowledging that racism is unavoidable, with or without cultural competency, the awareness of it is heightened and by extension failures to address it are as well. Perhaps ultimately that acknowledgement might lead to the design of better, more ethical, interventions.




iii, 56 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-56)