Critical Reflection: Smile, we can’t see you- the voices of workers of colour navigating Whiteness in the Australian child protection system

Andrew Savreemootoo

Abstract


Cultural competency is presented as the balm against culturally insensitive practice for Australian statutory child protection agencies, yet fails to capture the complexity of people of colour’s lived experience of racism. Using Whiteness theory and literature on second-generation migrants, this paper argues that the inclusion of voices of social workers of colour is crucial for shedding insight into the complex intersection of white privilege and racial Otherness. Drawing on my reflections as a child protection worker of colour and conversations with other caseworkers of colour, I conclude that the inclusion of our voices is an essential part of the effective rethinking of the concept of cultural competency. The discussions in this paper issue a challenge to include insight from those who acutely experience whiteness, contributing to the larger goal of redressing oppression and adhering to the requirements of the Australian Association of Social Work to ensure culturally competent practice.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Anderson, C. (2016). Shame and pride in second-generation German identity in Melbourne, Australia: emotions and white ethnicity. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(9), 1439–1454. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2015.1120660

Asghari-Fard, M., & Hossain, S. (2017). Identity construction of second-generation Iranians in Australia: influences and perspectives. Social Identities, 23(2), 126–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2016.1207515

Australian Association of Social Work. (2010). Code of Ethics. Doi. https://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/1201

Azzopardi, C and McNeill, T. (2016). From Cultural competence to cultural consciousness: transitioning to a critical approach to working across differences in social work. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work.

Beagan B.L. (2018) A Critique of Cultural Competence: Assumptions, Limitations, and Alternatives. Frisby C., O'Donohue W. (Eds.). Cultural Competence in Applied Psychology. Springer, Cham.

Bond, Chelsea (2015). Why I won't call you a coconut ... anymore. Black Nations Rising, (1) 8-9.

Gikandi, S. (2012). Obama as text: the crisis of double-consciousness. Comparative American Studies, 10(2-3), 211–225. https://doi.org/10.1179/1477570012Z.00000000016

hooks, bell. “Choosing the Margin as Space of Radical Openness.” Framework 0.36 (1989): n. pag. Web.

Kaur. (2012). 'Cultural competence in Child Protection' and the needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) children and families who come to the attention of the Queensland Child Protection System. Submission to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (QCPCI) 8 NOVEMBER 2012. JK Diversity Consultants.

Law, C., Kõlves, K., & De Leo, D. (2014). Suicide mortality in second-generation migrants, Australia, 2001–2008. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(4), 601–608. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-013-0769

Lentin, A. (2018). Beyond denial: “not racism” as racist violence. Continuum:, 32(4), 400–414. https://doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2018.1480309

Mendes, P. (2005). The history of social work in Australia: A critical literature review. Australian Social Work, 58(2), 121–131. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0748.2005.00197.x

Monani, D. (2018). At cross roads: White social work in Australia and the discourse on Australian multiculturalism. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10(2), 87–98. https://doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v10i2.6077

Montalto, N. (2014). The Place of 'Cultural Competency' in the Toolkit for Immigrant Integration. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2546498 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2546498

Pon, G. (2009). Cultural Competency as New Racism : An Ontology of Forgetting. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 20(1), 59–71. https://doi.org/info:doi/

Ravulo, J. (2019). Working with cultural differences: Teaching first year undergraduate students to unpack unjust power. Working Across Difference: Social Work, Social Policy and Social Justice, (86-98). Red Globe Press.

Sawrikar, P., & Katz, I. (2014a). “Normalizing the Novel”: How Is Culture Addressed in Child Protection Work With Ethnic-Minority Families in Australia? Journal of Social Service Research, 40(1), 39–61. https://doi.org/10.1080/01488376.2013.845126

Sawrikar, P., & Katz, I. (2014b). Recommendations for Improving Cultural Competency When Working with Ethnic Minority Families in Child Protection Systems in Australia. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 31(5), 393–417. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-014-0334-8

Tan, Monica. (2019). No matter your skin colour, all non-Indigenous Australians are complicit in colonialism. The Guardian. doi: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/04/no-matter-your-skin-colour-all-non-indigenous-australians-are-complicit-in-colonialism

Tillack, K; Raineri, T; Cahill, A and McDowall, J. (2018). Youth Justice Report: Consultation with young people in out of home care about their experiences with police, courts, and detention. CREATE Foundation. DOI: https://create.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Youth-Justice-Report-Standard-2018.pdf.

Walter, M., Taylor, S., & Habibis, D. (2011). How White is Social Work in Australia? Australian Social Work, 64(1), 6–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2010.510892

Zevallos, Z. (2005). “It”s Like We’re Their Culture’: Second-generation Migrant Women Discuss Australian Culture. People and Place, 13(2), 41–49.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Social Work & Policy Studies: Social Justice, Practice and Theory

ISSN 2209-0878