The lens of colorblindness and cultural competency: an examination of how Black female social workers view their clients

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University of Alabama Libraries

This qualitative phenomenological study explores how Black female social workers in the American South perceive their clients’ racial identities and how these perceptions affect their professional practice. Using Patricia Hill Collins’s Black Feminist Practice (1990) as the theoretical framework, the study explores how the theories of cultural competence and colorblindness filter through the lenses of Black female social workers in a practical setting. This study can be fundamental for future research that seeks to understand the Black women’s perspectives on cultural competence and colorblindness. In this study, thirteen Black female licensed social workers who work in the American South and have been employed for 2 years or more at a social work agency were interviewed. From this study, it was evident that the interviewee’s had a unique perspective toward the concept of colorblindness. Essentially, all of the participants highlighted that they did employ cultural competency while working with their clients. Generally, the Black social workers in this study felt that colorblindness was not a useful tool for fighting racial discrimination or for dealing with diverse individuals with a variety of needs. The study participants felt that discrimination from clients and other professions was toxic, even when they were only attempting to help. However, all of the interviewees made a commitment to the social work profession, and they have endured the pain of racism and discrimination. Finally, the study recommended and reiterated the significance of cultural competency in dealing with clients. Keywords: colorblindness, cultural competency, racial prejudice, discrimination, oppression, social worker, Black Feminist Thought.

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Educational leadership