Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Asian Americans-Social conditions, Asian Americans-Ethnic identity, Asian Americans-Counseling of, Racism, Race, Discrimination against Asian Americans, Poststructuralism, Asian American, Culture, Nativism, Identity, Critical race theory


Social workers, like many people, wrongly tend to think of Asian Americans as beings exempt from the problems of racism. The social work profession considers "race" to be a property inhering almost solely in African Americans. Meanwhile, the profession assigns the property of foreign "culture" primarily to Asian Americans. This thesis uses the work of Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars to show that social workers, in presuming that Asian Americans are a class of people who are essentially foreign, are actually reproducing a form of exclusionist racism that Asian Americans have faced for generations. A partial solution to this problem might involve social workers' educating themselves about way racism manifests in the lives of Asian Americans. However, this thesis relies on the work of several poststructuralist scholars to show that, to fulfill their ethical obligation to combat oppression, social workers must also know something of the way identity is constructed—how the power relations between those designated "normal" and those designated "other" mutually maintain a system of conflict and opposition that holds everyone in artificially fixed and limiting positions. The purpose of this thesis is to expand the ability of social workers to attend to the needs of Asian American clients and trainees.




iv, 49 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 43-49)