How relevant is the role of racial identity development for a social worker in their interactions with clients (in other words how can an understanding of a social workers racial identity and their client's racial identity assist in the assessment and intervention process)
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The role of racial identity development is critical for a social worker to be effective in interactions with clients. A social worker must understand their own racial identity and how that lens on the world affects their views and opinions about their clients. To be truly effective, the social worker must do their very best to understand their client's racial identity and how the social worker's own lens on the world might be quite different even when looking at the same situation. To assess and intervene requires even more investigation as to the client's perceptions of racial identity and whether or not the social worker can understand and intervene in a positive way. For example, if a client has been in jail, had someone post bail and then skipped showing up in court, does that mean that he or she wanted to run, was a lazy, uncaring individual who repudiated the people who posted the bond, or did the person live in an area where the buses don't go to that county, had no money for a ride, or didn't trust that the social worker would help because they hadn't previously arranged somehow to show up at court? Would the attitude of the client become racist? Would the social worker or client be truly honest, or hide behind platitudes which fit the situation? A social worker truly needs to know themselves and their lens on racial identity in order to be the most effective with clients especially in assessment and intervention.
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