Guests: Laura S. Abrams, MSW, PhD; Nicole Vazquez, MSW, MPP
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
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In this episode, I talk with Dr. Laura Abrams and Nicole Vazquez about critical race theory (CRT) in social work. Shout out to my former student Gaby for suggesting I do a podcast episode explicitly about CRT in response to the anti-CRT executive order. Laura is the Chair and Professor of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Nicole is a critical race scholar, the former Field Director and Chair Designee in Cal State Dominguez Hills’ MSW program, and currently runs Vazquez Consulting. They discuss the history of CRT, honoring the scholars of legal studies who developed CRT, with the analysis that the law is not neutral, and has been used to oppress people of color and others from marginalized groups. Laura and Nicole provide an overview of some of the core tenets of CRT, using specific examples that connect to social work, and ways to implement them in practice. Some of the core tenets covered are: race is a social construct, racism is an ordinary everyday experience, myth of colorblindness, critique of liberalism and the myth of meritocracy, differential racialization, interest convergence, and counter-narratives. They talk about white supremacist culture and its impact on all of us, particularly how it works to strip communities of color from their collective and community-based cultures. We discuss CRT’s fit with social work’s social justice focus and how social work educators, students, and practitioners can implement CRT in their work and programs. We also talk about barriers to change and how to address them. I hope this conversation inspires you to action.