book cover with headshot of woman

Abrams Co-Edits Book on Social Work’s Reckoning With a Racist History

A new book co-edited by Laura Abrams, chair of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin, considers the complex history of social work in the United States, including ways the profession has perpetuated white supremacy even as it works toward an anti-racist future. “Social Work, White Supremacy, and Racial Justice: Reckoning With Our History, Interrogating Our Present, Reimagining Our Future” is a collection of 40 chapters reflecting diverse voices, theories and methods. Published by Oxford University Press, the book challenges readers to acknowledge the field’s history of exclusion, moral superiority and oppression, then work to upend the status quo. “For social work to have a serious and substantive role in contributing to an anti-racist future, we must first commit to ending the practices that maintain our racist present,” including complicity with systems of policing, incarceration and child services that disproportionately punish Black, Indigenous and Latinx families, the editors write. They add, “It is challenging to imagine a future without racism, and yet still, many of the authors of these chapters are thinking outside the box and are working to build such a future. Collectively, this volume provides a foundation for what can become our next steps — to consider ideas, voices and platforms for concrete action that exist outside of mainstream discourse.” The book grew out of a four-part virtual conference on racial justice during the 2020-21 academic year that was organized by the four co-editors: Abrams, Sandra Edmonds Crewe of Howard University, Alan Dettlaff of the University of Houston and James Herbert Williams of Arizona State University.

two men and two women with book

Book co-editors, from left, James Herbert Williams, Sandra Edmonds Crewe, Alan Dettlaff and Laura Abrams.


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