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News & Press: Updates for Members

NASW-NC Calls Out Racist Remarks Made in North Carolina

Tuesday, July 23, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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As the social work profession, it is our duty to call out the racist remarks made by President Trump on the ECU campus on July 17. President Trump's racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color. Unapologetically fanning the flames of racism and intolerance is unacceptable behavior from any elected official that represents the people of the United States and North Carolina.


According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment based on nationality is potentially unlawful conduct including insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as comments like, "Go back to where you came from."


In 2005, the NASW Social Work Congress passed the imperative that the profession must address the impact of racism, other forms of oppression, social injustice, and other human rights violations through social work education and practice continuously acknowledge, recognize, confront, and address pervasive racism within social work practice at the individual, agency, and institutional level, and promote culturally competent social work interventions and research methodologies in the areas of social justice, well-being, and cost-benefit outcomes.  


NASW also subscribes to Standards of Cultural Competence (2002), the "process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each."


According to NASW's policy statement on racism, NASW supports an inclusive, multicultural society in which racial, ethnic, class, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental ability, religion and spirituality, gender, and other cultural and social identities are values and respected. NASW is a proponent of forward-thinking social policies that seek to foster diversity at all levels of social discourse, ranging from the workplace to where we live. NASW encourages government, national social justice and civil rights organizations, and faith-based organizations to become vocal about preparing the nation for demographic changes that are imminent by openly advocating for:

  • Respect for cultural differences
  • Racial and ethnic inclusion
  • Embracing the value of accommodation when dealing with cultural differences.

NASW believes that social workers have an ethical responsibility to commit to cultural competency in their workplace with fellow employees, with those under their supervision, and, most important, in their areas of practice.


According to our very own NASW-NC member and chair of the NASW National Committee on Race and Ethnic Diversity, Dr. Karen Bullock, "It's essential that we continue to do work around racism to come together to learn and explore how racism impacts us as colleagues and how it impacts our clients. It's a difficult topic, but as long as people stay silent about it, we can't learn from individual experiences on either side of things."


I warmly welcome additional resources, ideas and dialogue for the social work profession and NASW-NC to address racism.


Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP

NASW-NC Executive Director


Resources to combat racism:


Race Matters for Juvenile Justice

Racial Equity Institute

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