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The Whitewashing of Social Work History

How Dismantling Racism in Social Work Education Begins With an Equitable History of the Profession

About the Course:

Severe racial inequity has characterized the incorporation of ethnic minorities’ contributions to U.S. history and advancements (Sandoval et al., 2016). These disparities are inextricably connected to White Supremacist ideologies and practices, and are perpetuated in higher education through textbooks, pedagogy, and research. Social work, like many disciplines, teaches about its early roots with a whitewashed historical lens. Indeed, review of the social work literature reveals the scarcity of attributions to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). Without a more racially diverse perspective on social work’s history, social work scholars promote and sustain White Supremacy. The implications of this are crucial since social work education is predominantly populated by privileged White students who adopt this mentality, unaware of Black, Brown, Latino, Asian, Native or Other ethnic “Jane Addams” who have massively promoted the social welfare of communities for decades without historical recognition or the privileged positions of Addams and Richmond. Historical distortions also potentially discourage BIPOC social work students’ self-efficacy and future efforts to contribute and excel in the discipline. To properly address this issue, social work history must be refaced with a more equitable and just lens.

This course is based on the reading-based online article, The Whitewashing of Social Work History created by Kelechi C. Wright, Med, LCPC, Kortney Angela Carr, MSW, LCSW, and Becci A. Atkin, PhD in 2021.

Publication Date:

1st Edition Summer 2021

Course Material Authors

Course Material Authors authored the material only, and were not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

Kelechi C. Wright, Med, LCPC
Kelechi Wright is a doctoral student at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Her research and teaching interests encompass criminal justice and immigration policy intersections, social welfare institutional and policy analysis and implementation science and qualitative and mixed methods research approaches. Her hope is to generate greater research and practice methods where social work- based initiatives can influence criminal justice policy and practice.
Kortney Angela Carr, MSW, LCSW
Kortney Angela Carr, MSW, LCSW is a Professor of Practice and a doctoral student at the University of Kansas in the School of Social Welfare. She is in private practice and has had three articles published in peer reviewed journals.
Becci A. Atkin, PhD
Becci Akin is Associate Professor and PhD Program Director in the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. Dr. Akin has taught at the BSW, MSW and PhD levels including courses in community practice, social work policy, research methods, and community-engaged program design and evaluation. She also collaborated with other faculty to develop a child welfare certificate program in the School. Dr. Akin has published over 45 works in peer-reviewed journals and books, and presented over 110 papers at national and international conferences and proceedings.

Course Creator

Allison Brown, LCSW 149014591
Allison Brown holds a BS degree in Criminal Justice with a Psychology focus and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who currently works at a Long-Term Insurance company bringing clinical experience to claim processes. Additionally, she developed and continues to lead the Continuing Education Program for Social Workers and Nurses and often leads complex process improvement projects Prior to this, her primary focus was in mental health and worked in both the outpatient and inpatient settings providing support to adults with mental illness.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the gap in the literature pertaining to the need for a great integration and infusion of racially diverse social work historical contributions in several ways.
  2. Recognize the future research needed in this area to dismantle raciest perspectives in social work history.
  3. Identify strategies to help social work educators and researches address this critical issue.

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Course Number 103143
1 CE credit hour
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  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee $5.97
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