Like social class, gender, and age, ethnicity defines the values, behavior patterns, and life styles acquired, held, and cherished by individuals, groups, and communities. The general categories of values, behavior patterns, and lifestyles break down to an almost infinite number of human dimensions, such as sex roles; relationships with peers of both sexes; sense of marriage; marital relations; child bearing, nutrition, and raising; adaptation to physiological changes; dealing with social, psychological, health, and mental health problems; and moral judgments. Social work as a profession of help, support, and empowerment of individuals, groups, and communities operates in a context of ethnic dimensions while aiming to impact the deficits they generate, partly or entirely. Social work research benefits from the findings of social anthropologists, ethnologists, sociologists, and others, which helps social workers understand ethnic minority clients and their communities, and they can adopt such findings in their work and integrate them into social work practice models. Ethnically diverse populations may present multiple challenges, including language and communication, understanding and accepting ethnic differences between the client and the social worker, and understanding how to approach ethnically generated problems for unbiased and efficient interventions. One specific challenge is to understand whether a client’s problem is ethnically driven; many problems are generated by other categories, such as sense of belonging to a social class, migration situation (e.g., illegality, stigmatization, social exclusion), gender, and age. Reducing clients’ problems to ethnicity inaccurately could lead to false problem diagnosis and inappropriate intervention. The literature on ethnicity and social work addresses issues relevant to several research disciplines, including anthropology, ethnology, and sociology, as well as social work. Typically, the literature on ethnicity and social work treats a set of associated ethnic concepts, such as markers, identity, category, relations, conflicts, discrimination, and integration, and the ways in which such factors may condition social work with ethnically diverse populations. Understanding the role of ethnic markers such as religion, values, and traditions is pivotal to successful social work interventions because these markers define the essence of problems the clients present and the meaning they attribute to their problems, as well as influencing the clients to accept a diagnosis and the resulting, recommended interventions.
Introductory works for social workers include some of the earlier literature in this field (Devore and Schlesinger 1996; Green 1995; Lum 1996; and Lynch and Hanson 1992). These books are the first ones not only to have reached social work reading lists but also to have described aspects of ethnicity crucial to social work practice, as well as the disadvantages generated by ethnic diversity and how they may be remedied. All of the above books provide generic, holistic models for ethnically sensitive social work practice. They may be read as supplementary works. Other introductory sources (Blitz and Pender Greene 2007; Constantine and Sue 2006; and Graham 2007) focus on experiences and needs of African American populations and provide tailored models to support social work interventions pertinent to these groups. Husband 2015 explores the lack of social policy impact on ethnic relations.
Blitz, L. V., and M. Pender Greene, eds. 2007. Racism and racial identity: Reflections on urban practice in mental health and social services. New York: Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma.
This useful reader examines various aspects of race and racism in therapeutic contexts.
Constantine, M. G., and D. Wing Sue, eds. 2006. Addressing racism: Facilitating cultural competence in mental health and educational settings. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Written from a genuinely racial perspective, this book draws on the experience of peoples of color in the United States. Besides education, its focus is on racially associated limitations in mental health and related services. The book also provides a very useful antiracism strategy recommended for mental health professionals.
Devore, W., and E. G. Schlesinger. 1996. Ethnic-sensitive social work practice. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
This is the first-ever comprehensive book to provide a practice model for antidiscriminatory social work. Although the authors rightly take a broad perspective by using “culture” and “ethnicity” as key concepts, they are responding to racially driven discriminatory practices to which social work has been exposed. This book, even in our supposedly enlightened times, still provides a useful perspective for social workers.
Graham, M. 2007. Black issues in social work and social care. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
This book draws on earlier models of culturally sensitive social work but with a sharp focus on the experiences of black communities. The antidiscriminatory perspective advocated by the author extends to diverse areas of social work practice, including children and families, mental health, older adults, and clients with disabilities.
Green, J. W. 1995. Cultural awareness in the human services: A multi-ethnic approach. 2d ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Green provides, similar to Devore and Schlesinger 1996, a comprehensive textbook with a social work model to support professionals in multiethnic, including multiracial, practice. This book focuses explicitly on social work interventions with populations of color.
Husband, C., ed. 2015. Research and policy in ethnic relations: Compromised dynamics in a neoliberal era. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.
Historically there has always been a gap between the research community and decision makers who are responsible for policies associated with ethnic populations. This book explores the dynamics of this gap and its long-term impact on ethnic populations’ conditions. Some observers of world conflicts relate origins of global problems to deficits of social policy.
Lum, D. 1996. Social work practice and people of color: A process stage model. 3d ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Lum provides a generic model for social work practice with minorities of color. His model is, however, adaptable to the specific characteristics of specific groups of color. This is a very useful textbook.
Lynch, E. W., and M. J. Hanson. 1992. Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with young children and their families. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
This book is a reader. The model for a culturally competent social work is presented in a less detailed fashion than that of Lum 1996; the book is, however, distinctive in its focus on families of color with disabled children.
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- Adolescent Depression
- Adolescent Pregnancy
- Adoption Home Study Assessments
- Adult Protective Services in the United States
- African Americans
- Aging, Physical Health and
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems
- Alcohol and Drug Problems, Prevention of Adolescent and Yo...
- Alcohol Problems: Practice Interventions
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
- Anti-Oppressive Practice
- Asian Americans
- Asian-American Youth
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Baccalaureate Social Workers
- Behavioral Health
- Behavioral Social Work Practice
- Bereavement Practice
- Brief Therapies in Social Work: Task-Centered Model and So...
- Bullying and Social Work Intervention
- Canadian Social Welfare, History of
- Case Management in Mental Health in the United States
- Child Poverty
- Child Welfare
- Child Welfare and Child Protection in Europe, History of
- Children of Incarcerated Parents
- Chronic Illness
- Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Lesbians
- Cognitive Behavior Therapies with Diverse and Stressed Pop...
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Community Development
- Community Policing
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Community-Needs Assessment
- Comparative Social Work
- Conflict Resolution
- Council on Social Work Education
- Counseling Female Offenders
- Criminal Justice
- Crisis Interventions
- Cultural Competence and Ethnic Sensitive Practice
- Culture, Ethnicity, Substance Use, and Substance Use Disor...
- Dementia Care, Ethical Aspects of
- Depression and Cancer
- Development and Infancy (Birth to Age Three)
- Direct Practice in Social Work
- Domestic Violence Among Immigrants
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Framework
- Economic Evaluation
- Elder Mistreatment
- End-of-Life Decisions
- Epigenetics for Social Workers
- Ethics and Values in Social Work
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Finding Evidence
- Evidence-based Social Work Practice: Issues, Controversies...
- Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
- Families with Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Parents
- Family Caregiving
- Family Group Conferencing
- Family Policy
- Family Services
- Family Therapy
- Family Violence
- Fathering Among Families Served By Child Welfare
- Field Education
- Financing Health-Care Delivery in the United States
- Forensic Social Work
- Foster Care
- Gay Men
- Generalist Practice and Advanced Generalist Practice
- Group Work
- Group Work across Populations, Challenges, and Settings
- Group Work, Research, Best Practices, and Evidence-based
- Harm Reduction
- Health Care Reform
- Health Disparities
- Health Social Work
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, 1950-1980
- History of Social Work and Social Welfare, pre-1900
- History of Social Work from 1980-2014
- History of Social Work in China
- History of Social Work in Northern Ireland
- History of Social Work in the Republic of Ireland
- History of Social Work in the United Kingdom
- HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents
- Homelessness Outside the United States
- Human Needs
- Human Trafficking, Victims of
- Immigrant Policy in the United States
- Immigrants and Refugees
- Immigrants and Refugees: Evidence-based Social Work Practi...
- Impaired Professionals
- Implementation Science and Practice
- Indigenous Peoples
- Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employmen...
- International Social Welfare
- International Social Work
- International Social Work and Education
- International Social Work and Social Welfare in Southern A...
- Internet and Video Game Addiction
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy
- Intervention with Traumatized Populations
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Juvenile Justice
- Korean Americans
- Latinos and Latinas
- Law, Social Work and the
- Life Span
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Management and Administration in Social Work
- Maternal Mental Health
- Measurement, Scales, and Indices
- Medical Illness
- Men: Health and Mental Health Care
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Diagnosis and the Addictive Substance Disord...
- Mental Health Needs of Older People, Assessing the
- Mental Illness: Children
- Mental Illness: Elders
- Middle East and North Africa, International Social Work an...
- Military Social Work
- Mixed Methods Research
- Motivational Interviewing
- Native Americans
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- Neighborhood Social Cohesion
- Neuroscience and Social Work
- Nicotine Dependence
- Occupational Social Work
- Organizational Development and Change
- Pain Management
- Palliative Care
- Palliative Care: Evolution and Scope of Practice
- Parent Training
- Philosophy of Science and Social Work
- Physical Disabilities
- Police Social Work
- Positive Youth Development
- Postmodernism and Social Work
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Practice Interventions and Aging
- Practice Interventions with Adolescents
- Practice Research
- Primary Prevention in the 21st Century
- Productive Engagement of Older Adults
- Profession, Social Work
- Psychiatric Rehabilitation
- Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Theory
- Psychopathology and Social Work Practice
- Psychopharmacology and Social Work Practice
- Psychosocial Framework
- Psychosocial Intervention with Women
- Qualitative Research
- Race and Racism
- Religiously Affiliated Agencies
- Reproductive Health
- Research Ethics
- Restorative Justice
- Risk Assessment in Child Protection Services
- Risk Management in Social Work
- Rural Social Work Practice
- School Social Work
- School Violence
- School-Based Delinquency Prevention
- Services and Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Youth
- Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: Adults
- Sexual Assault
- Single-System Research Designs
- Social Development
- Social Insurance and Social Justice
- Social Intervention Research
- Social Justice and Social Work
- Social Movements
- Social Planning
- Social Policy
- Social Security in the United States (OASDHI)
- Social Work Education and Research
- Social Work Regulation
- Social Work Research Methods
- Solution-Focused Therapy
- Strategic Planning
- Strengths Perspective
- Strengths-Based Models in Social Work
- Supplemental Security Income
- Survey Research
- Systematic Review Methods
- Task-Centered Practice
- Technology, Human Relationships, and Human Interaction
- Technology in Social Work
- Terminal Illness
- Transdisciplinary Science
- Translational Science and Social Work
- United States, History of Social Welfare in the
- Veteran Services
- Victim Services
- Welfare State Reform in France
- Welfare State Theory
- Women and Macro Social Work Practice
- Women's Health Care
- Work and Family in the German Welfare State
- Working with Non-Voluntary and Mandated Clients
- Young and Adolescent Lesbians
- Youth at Risk
- Youth Services