Is the role of racial identity important for a social worker when interacting with clients?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The role of racial identity is very important for a social worker when interacting with clients. In order to be effective with clients, a social worker must have an understanding of the people with which they work.  For example, the Native American nations each have their own identity and customs which enable them to maintain their culture while living in the white world.  If a social worker is to work within these cultures, knowing the difference between the Cherokee nation and the Anishinabe nation would be a key to acceptance and effectiveness.  Knowing the meaning of a sweat lodge and why it is important would also help.  If another racial group is chosen such as Latino/Latina, knowing what the family beliefs are would be important because they may not be like the social worker's beliefs. As a social worker, working within the system while understanding the clients as people with their own lens on the world is required. Especially important is knowing your own racial identity and how it affects your views of the clients you serve.

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