By Paul R. Pace
Critical Race Theory, or CRT, is not a be-all, end-all concept, says Ebony Nicole Perez, PhD, MSW. "There is no magic bullet considering how we can move this idea of a more just and equitable society.”
“What I am proposing is that the tenets of critical race theory and the application to our social work practice is yet another way to strengthen us as individuals, as professionals, and as community members in order to take a critical look at where we are,” Perez says.
“And to think about where we want to go and how we can help our communities get there. That’s what CRT can truly help do for us.” Perez offered these comments in her NASW Specialty Practice Sections webinar “A Real Conversation about Critical Race Theory in Social Work Practice”.
CRT is both a paradigm and a practice that challenges dominant systems on race, racism and inequality, Perez explains. It is a means of challenging institutionalized forms of oppression.
Racism does not require conscious intent. Actions are racist if race is coded in them, Perez stated.
She said it is important to seek restorative practice that affirms strengths, acknowledges the inequities, and constructs solutions for change.”Being able to thoroughly examine social injustice and propose comprehensive solutions does not solely rely on the backs of people of color,” she said.
“Racism is an issue that impacts us all. We are all racialized in oneway or another. Where we are set at in society is what we don’t have a choice over. However, we can use our spaces of privilege and our knowledge and our skills in order to bring understanding and awareness to individuals.”
Utilizing CRT, social workers can develop tools and resources to institute more equitable policies, strategies, and interventions when working with constituents. Webinar attendees will review and explore the basic tenets of CRT and how it can be applied in various areas of social work.