‘It’s right to focus on race, but we must look at equality in social work in the round’

Social Work England's new head of equality, diversity and inclusion, Ahmina Akhtar, sets out her priorities for tackling inequalities within her organisation and in the profession as a whole

Inequality image
Photo: relif/Fotolia

My interview with Ahmina Akhtar, Social Work England’s recently appointed head of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), takes place on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.

Earlier that day, Akhtar had tweeted her solidarity with Floyd’s loved-ones as she reflected on the progress that had been made on race since his death and how far there was to go.

Her comments – and her new role – have their roots in a childhood in Lancashire that was characterised by racist abuse and racial segregation between white and Asian communities.

Ahmina Akhtar, Social Work England

Ahmina Akhtar, Social Work England

“It’s always been an interest for me,” she says. “I grew up in a town that was very segregated in Lancashire and experienced racism from an early age.”

Her experiences left her feeling a sense of difference and anger, but from her teenage years she channelled this into mentoring and representing other young people, before considering a career in social work.

Qualifying in 2008, her social work career, she says, has been focused on working with marginalised communities, whether people with visible differences or disfigurements, for the charity Changing Faces, or victims or survivors of child sexual abuse through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s truth project.

“I worked around supporting and amplifying the voices of those who weren’t always able to share, those who are deaf, those from black and ethnic minority communities, people who didn’t have a fixed abode.”

On joining Social Work England in 2019 as the regional engagement lead for Yorkshire and the Humber, her role in engaging with that region’s social work community extended to focusing on EDI within and outside the organisation, natural preparation for her current role, which she took up on 4 May.

Increased focus on inequality

Social Work England’s 18 months as the profession’s regulator have coincided, not just with Covid-19, but with an increasing focus on social inequalities and injustice that was turbo-charged by Floyd’s murder and has brought social work’s own record under the microscope.

As part of the social work establishment, albeit a new part, the regulator’s record, and its leaders public pronouncements, have been subject to scrutiny. In an article for Community Care in April, Wayne Reid, professional officer at British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the association’s anti-racism visionary, explicitly criticised Social Work England’s record on a number of grounds:

  • The impact of delays in fitness to practise cases on the disproportionate number of black and ethnic minority social workers referred into the system.
  • The lack of explicit reference to anti-racist, anti-discriminatory or anti-oppressive practice in Social Work England’s standards for social workers.
  • The lack of ethnic diversity within the Social Work England workforce.
  • The fact that it had only recently appointed a head of EDI and that it was the sole role in the organisation dealing with the issues.
  • Its failure to engage with him on his campaigning to tackle racism within social work, which has included delivering an anti-racist presentation at almost 100 online events, jointly editing and producing an anthology of writings by social workers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and drawing up a list of anti-racist resources for use by social workers.

Akhtar engages with all aspects of Reid’s critique but is keen to stress that progress will not be immediate.

On fitness to practise, the organisation is looking to manage the twin challenges of Covid-19, which has made evidence gathering harder and in-person hearings impossible, and higher-than-anticipated referrals, leading to delays described as “life-changing” for practitioners by the Social Workers Union’s general secretary, John McGowan.

“Fitness to practise processes have not been where we’ve liked them to be,” she says. “Alongside that we are going to be looking at EDI issues and exploring the impact of those. It will take some time to get that data.”

This is, in part, because protected characteristics are not included in the data Social Work England is required to collect from practitioners through registration.

“We are working on developing our data monitoring survey, which we’re asking social workers to complete and they will be able to share some information about their own diversity data. That’s not mandatory. We’ll be able to use that to have a better understanding of the impact of our policies.”

Focus on substance, not just language

On the social work standards, she says: “We carried out a consultation with the sector and published a huge document on how we responded to that. In past 18 months, there’s been a focus on language. I appreciate anti-oppressive practice, anti-discriminatory practice and anti-racist practice are not explicitly mentioned but the standards encourage us to take forward challenges of discrimination. Amendments to the standards would require significant change.”

Instead of the standards themselves, she is focusing on the guidance underpinning them.

“The standards are the only the umbrella statement. Because of the feedback I will be reviewing the guidance and will be looking at whether that language can be strengthened.”

She also stresses her role will not be the lone focus on EDI within the organisation. It has set up an EDI steering group, with representatives from across Social Work England, which meets monthly, discussing issues including use of language, bias within the organisation, training in EDI and benchmarking against other organisations.

As well as reviewing the functions of the steering group, Akhtar says: “I’m looking to establish champions within every team within the organisation so we know EDI is being embedded in all the work we do and we are building internal confidence. Different people have a different understanding of EDI – it’s so broad so we need to make sure we’re bringing everyone with us and making sure it’s seen as core business.”

In relation to benchmarking, Social Work England is part of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion and using its talent, inclusion and diversity evaluation (TIDE) to benchmark itself on its workforce, employment practices, strategies, communications and procurement.

“It allows us to really value and monitor our workforce and progress to date,” Akhtar says. “It’s providing some really good insights and I’ll be using that to develop the strategies and action plans going forward underpinned by our statement of intent on EDI.”

Diversity beyond race

While acknowledging and welcoming the focus on race post-Floyd, she is also keen to stress that equality, diversity and inclusion goes well beyond, encompassing the other eight protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity religion and belief sex, sexual orientation) and the intersectionalities between them.

“More generally we need a real balance between single issues. I recognise racism has a lot of attention – it’s the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. What I am concerned about we’re not looking at issues intersectionally. In my role as head of EDI I want to be thinking about everything.”

For example, she says there has been rightful focus on the disproportionate representation of black and ethnic minority social workers in fitness to practise, “we don’t mention men as frequently but they are also disproportionately represented”.

Likewise, in relation to representation within Social Work England itself, she says: “Not all diversity is visible. I’m conscious that, in terms of ethnic minority colleagues people are concerned that there’s not enough diversity within the organisation. But diversity is much broader than ethnicity.”

Despite Reid’s criticism that Social Work England has not engaged with him, Akhtar says engagement with BASW as an organisation on EDI is good: “I’ve made contact with colleagues with BASW. Prior to taking on this role, the regional engagement leads and I would meet regularly with colleagues from BASW and there are strategic conversations with colleagues from BASW across the organisation.”

Looking forward, she is optimistic about the impact of her role and the EDI infrastructure that surrounds it, but stresses that “there’s a balance between patience and pace and I want to get that right”.

“I’ve been given a lot of support from the board and executive leadership,” she adds. “Everyone has said that EDI is high up on our agenda. Everybody who is going to be a champion, all of their managers have said they can dedicate a certain amount of time to this work. We can ensure those individuals are able to look at everything through an EDI lens and really allow it to be embedded.”

But she says: “One of the things we’re conscious of is that we’re a new organisation and it will take a while for EDI to be embedded.”

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49 Responses to ‘It’s right to focus on race, but we must look at equality in social work in the round’

  1. Jack May 28, 2021 at 4:18 pm #

    Shocking but hardly surprising that SWE once more trot out the “we are a new organisation” patter regarding EDI too. Silly of me not to have realised that a profession with an anti-oppressive pro human and civil rights ethos needs to give its regulator time to sort itself out. Naively, I had assumed that EDI would have been one of the core of the principles underpinning discussions at SWE from discussion to inception. How can an organisation pleading for time to embed EDI credibly sanction any social workers alleged to have practiced discrimination? Stop this we are young nonsense please it’s really demoralising. There are hundreds of private and public organisations whose blueprints SWE can learn from so just get on with it. Any half competent social worker could write you a policy, provide evidence for effective implementation and still cope with a caseload. And they would provide you with a strategy document that didn’t require “significant legislative change.” My best wishes to Ms Akhtar. It must be difficult to drive change in an organisation that seems to be have been in paralysis for most of it’s 18 month history. SWE has little to no credibility for most social workers of my acquaintance.

  2. Truth Teller May 29, 2021 at 9:23 am #

    This reads like a Conservative Party press release. Does anyone at SWE have a conscience or a soul?

  3. Mark Moffat May 29, 2021 at 10:22 am #

    I’ve read about the “smokescreens and mirrors” in relation to all this elsewhere. This PR stunt feeds straight into that…

  4. Alison May 29, 2021 at 11:07 am #

    “Everyone has said that EDI is high up on our agenda.” Not the priority then? I am ‘just’ a frontline practitioner so probably don’t understand complexity but how can SWE identify and address disproportionality issues if it doesn’t have EDI as it’s baseline and top priority?

  5. Joan Felix May 29, 2021 at 11:12 am #

    SWE’s realisation that “more needs to be done”….feels like a tokenistic farce. It’s hard to keep a straight face.
    We can only wait with bated breath to see the outcomes of SWE’s immediate, ‘powerful’ stance against racism in social work! Action is the truest measure in this case.

  6. Dave Sheldon May 29, 2021 at 2:44 pm #

    A strange article. This is as an “all lives matter” PR stunt. What about the accusations of institutional racism SWE??

  7. Sean May 31, 2021 at 9:52 pm #

    Next time there is a sanctimonious outburst about committment to anti-racism by BASW, just remember that “there are conversations with colleagues from BASW across the organisation” and SWE. Trotting out the odd “unapologetic” article by Wayne Reid doesn’t do it for many of us anymore.

    • Delboy Trotkins June 1, 2021 at 8:38 am #

      Speak for yourself Sean. If you read the rhetoric in this article with the inaction from SWE over the last 18 months compared with what BASW has achieved in the same timeframe, what does that tell you? Don’t believe everything SWE tell you!

  8. The Watcher May 31, 2021 at 11:44 pm #

    Why try and covertly attack Wayne Reid? Why not try and work with him and BASW? How bizarre. This article seems like a spectacular own goal Ahmina and SWE…

    • Ruth June 2, 2021 at 2:11 pm #

      Not sure why you think Ahmina is covertly attacking Wayne Reid when he is always very explicit about speaking personally and not on behalf of his employer or any one else. SWE are seemingly engaging with BASW as an organisation so it’s bit of a stretch to suppose they are deliberately doing this to marginalise an individual. Take Wayne at his word when he says he doesn’t represent you, me or anybody else even when we embrace his visions.

  9. K. Badendoch May 31, 2021 at 11:48 pm #

    Wayne Reid for Prime Minister!

  10. Plain Talker June 1, 2021 at 12:18 am #

    I’m gobsmacked that SWE agreed to this article being published. IT. IS. EMBARASSING and makes a mockery of social work values and ethics. How can the regulator be this tone-deaf??

  11. Black Diamonte June 1, 2021 at 12:36 am #

    “There’s a balance between patience and pace and I want to get that right.”

    Maybe Black social workers should just be more patient whilst they wait for SWE to fix their backlogs and get their house in order? Even though SWE’s delays are having “life-changing” effects on them. Is the pace of action from SWE adequate? It seems to be a resounding no on both counts.

    SWE isn’t sustainable. Social work is destined for another generic regulator in the near future.

  12. James C June 1, 2021 at 12:40 am #

    I never thought I’d say this, but please bring back the HCPC!

  13. Terri Homestead June 1, 2021 at 12:59 am #

    SWE must think we are imbeciles. I’m now worried about the future of social work after reading this article.

  14. John Venimore June 1, 2021 at 1:07 am #

    “In my role as head of EDI I want to be thinking about everything.” That seems unrealistic and a naive attempt to keep everyone happy. Idealistic at best. Potentially jack of all trades, master of none. SWE will stretch her role thinly, with no real impact, as this article alludes to.

  15. Piribeth June 1, 2021 at 8:41 am #

    All protected characteristics are a priority. But if we are talking about race let’s focus on that. Evidence shows Black social work students disproportionately going through fitness to practice and plagiarism routes in comparison to their white counterparts, facing racism from clients & PEs, lack of Black faces in senior social work roles and in SWE, yes let’s talk about race with no apologies or excuses. Race & diversity matters for SWE. It’s not to say other protected characteristics should be ignored, they still need to be addressed individually too. That’s the problem when you have a predominantly white institution they always go into a defence mode on issues of race. The lack of Black faces in SWE, commissioners, JSWEC etc is telling and reality of social work and race in UK today. UCAS data shows more Black students are joining the profession more than ever. White folks have a major role in challenging oppression as they play a significant role in the proceses of oppression & discrimination, labelling, othering etc it’s not black people who oppress or discriminate or are privileged.

  16. Sean June 1, 2021 at 11:41 am #

    Do tell what BASW have actually achieved Delboy. Are there fewer black social workers subject to FtP investigations? Are black ASYE experiences better? How has recruitment of black social workers and managers improved? What’s he outcome of the witheld PPE allegations? Any improvement in numbers of black executive staff at BASW? Is social work education any less racist and discriminatory? How has BASW (SWU) improved your terms and conditions? Where is the BASW commemoration of the dead and long term Covid suffering social workers? I could go on. Believing SWE never crosses my mind. I advise you don’t get suckered by BASW tweets and useless and never implemented ‘policy’ declarations either. And you are right, I always speak for myself. Do specify BASW achievements. BASW members head nodding to each other and validating imaginary influence doesn’t count, nor articles by Wayne Reid given that he is always “writing in a personal capacity.”

    • Phil Morow June 1, 2021 at 11:26 pm #

      Sean, I think you need a good hug mate. BASW can’t fix racism alone, but they have led the way in social work.

      • Sean June 2, 2021 at 12:29 pm #

        How? Show me the path please? And offering someone you don’t know a hug is a wee bit predatory don’t you think?

  17. Saul June 1, 2021 at 12:04 pm #

    Thinking not being a valued skill by emotion driven social work, I am not surprised Ahmina is being rubbished for talking about thinking. Strange kind of anti-racism that is so comfortable piling into a brown woman. I’d confidently venture Ahmina has achieved more tackling discrimination in her practice than most of the outraged here. Sideline snipers versus a brown woman trying to change a predominantly white Establishment organisation from within. Not really a contest is it?

  18. Howard Randolph June 1, 2021 at 10:14 pm #

    Well said Sean. About time social workers are called out over their self validated opinions. Rudeness and aggression is not anti-racist ‘activism’. Being nasty to Ahmina hiding behind anonymised names is cowardly. I have no regard for SWE as an organisation and actually disagree with some of the comments Ahmina makes here but I respect her trying to address these issues rather than hide in the shadows moaning and pointing fingers. If she is a failure already, let’s hear from you how you would address these issues. Practical solutions rather than more “passionate” polemic please.

  19. Olu June 2, 2021 at 12:49 am #

    Ms Akhtar isn’t being rubbished for thinking, she is being rubbished for wrong thinking. It’s so very important to conform to prescribed ideas. Debating different ideologies is fraught with the possibility that our certainties might not quite be the bees knees. Much simpler to promote groupthink even if we might be a bit confused about why conforming is preferable to debating. Certitude not the chaos of competing ideas. Much more cosy and self affirming.

  20. MHSW June 2, 2021 at 2:14 pm #

    It’s quite demoralising for a SW to see this pile on regarding someone who is questioning the relentless drive to see everything through the prism of race relations. Being based in the social sciences, social work education should be teaching us a range of theories to analyse the world and to be a bit more critical instead of just obsessing over skin colour.

    Just because there are different outcomes for a person or group of people, does not mean it is automatically due to their race, that is in itself a racist perspective. Fighting racism with yet more racism has always puzzled me, all white people are bad and people of colour can do no wrong – Pribeth helpfully highlights this worryingly common train of thought ‘White folks have a major role in challenging oppression as they play a significant role in the proceses of oppression & discrimination, labelling, othering etc it’s not black people who oppress or discriminate or are privileged.’

    I thought there would be a seem of outrage to this article having read and noted that Ahmina highlights that there is a overrepresentation of men going through fitness for practice, just as there is for people of colour, but this is never spoken about as it’s not in vogue.

    • Anti-woke Detector June 2, 2021 at 9:11 pm #

      MHSW, I’m guessing you read the Daily Mail and think “all lives matter?” 🙄

      • Grant June 3, 2021 at 9:31 am #

        Paucity of social work discourse in a nutshell. Just shout “Daily Mail” to belittle and “all lives matter” to peacock anti-racism credentials. More important to conform to group think grandstanding than engage in the argument. Easier to move on from too. By the way it was the Daily Mail which front paged the murder of Stephen Lawrence not the Liberal media. Or the Morning Star, my newspaper of choice.

      • MHSW June 3, 2021 at 9:41 am #

        What a tired and predictable response. Why don’t you try and engage with what I’ve written, you might have some valid points.

      • Alice June 3, 2021 at 11:49 am #

        Social work having turned itself into a parody of an angst ridden teenage diary, I recommend a moment of self reflection and self criticism. I imagine hyper-vigilance is exhausting so a mug of green tea with honey and a nibble of oat milk chocolate is a treat well earned.

        • Anna June 4, 2021 at 12:01 am #

          And on that lovely note , off to bed ready for tomorrow’s: duty, section 47 report due to filed, overdue case notes, family support and core group minutes ( monthly audits due so better try and catch up) visits one or Yeo if possible and a few angry people ( parents and passive aggressive professionals who want children removed) on the phone. Might have a new case in my tray too….

  21. Andy June 4, 2021 at 5:18 am #

    After several decades of totally unchallenged and ever expanding EDI doctrinal texts being venerated by an unimpeachable prelacy within the sacred hallows of social work academia, it would appear (from this and many other CC articles and commentaries) that EDI has been increasingly utterly failing black people in social work in almost every conceivable way.
    I cannot imagine a profession more intrinsically oriented towards the principles enshrined within the EDI canon than social work and yet here we are, constantly regaled with tales of innumerable un-named professional heretics hell-bent on pursuing the most detrimental outcomes for black social work staff!
    Should there not be a fundamental review of the book of EDI to test its academic rigour and ultimately its efficacy in the real world or will garments continue to be rent to echoing cries of racism for another ten or more years?

  22. Neil June 4, 2021 at 11:13 am #

    Social work academia sounds like the beginning of a joke in need of a punchline. Be grateful you are not “studying’ at my institution where covid denial anti vaccination teaching with a twist of bitter denunciation of MAINSTREAM MEDIA is doubled up by intolerance of any counter argument. Vaccines are population control experiments on black people if you only stopped being sheeple and opened your eyes. EDI isn’t embraced by social work actually. If it was, my fellow student who dared to suggest that we might want to discuss a critique of Critical Race Theory by a black academic in Jacobin magazine would not have been savaged to the point of crying by white students so convinced of their anti-racism that they see no irony in abusing a black student. So good luck Ahmina. Whatever you achieve it will not be enough. The perpetual warriors are ready to whip out their microscopes to denounce the comma you invariably will have omitted. In the meantime black British Gas workers have been sacked or given reduced benefit new contracts. But what’s that got to do with social workers here?

  23. Lee June 4, 2021 at 5:10 pm #

    When is SWE going to investigate the white managers who BASW told us deliberatly witheld PPE from black staff to give to white staff?

  24. Cath June 4, 2021 at 11:16 pm #

    Grant, the daily mail didn’t front page the Steven Lawrence murder; the editor published the story because Mr Lawrence had done a job for him therefore he knew of him on a personal level – big difference. No way would the story have been front paged if Steven was just another black kid murdered on a London Street; just saying!

    • Grant June 5, 2021 at 6:42 pm #

      The Daily Mail front paged the murder of Stephen Lawrence, motivation personal or not. No other newspaper, sacred Guardian included, front paged the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Just saying!

  25. Sally Carpenter June 5, 2021 at 10:28 am #

    This article is just another example of Social Work England relinquishing their responsibilities to promote racial equality. Like the Tories, they now have a person of colour to do this for them.

  26. Olu June 5, 2021 at 6:47 pm #

    And we eventually got to the wrong sort of person of colour disdain.

  27. Kieran June 6, 2021 at 10:05 am #

    Surely the almost routine conversation about the damp flat, the foodbank, rationing internet access on pay as you go phones so kids might get to join in lessons, the persistent baby cough and the general anxieties of life on benefits pale into irrelevance given the apparently willful victimisation perpetrated with relish by SWE. A geordie accent from a Gateshead council estate as much of a barrier as mixed heritage but for social workers talking about class is the marker of the old and stale from the feel good activists of the hashtag and gestures. Recoil in horror if age, gender, sexuality, class background, religious beliefs should ever be considered as part of any discussion about discrimination. What does a Protestant from the Republic of Ireland know about racism though.

  28. Carlton June 8, 2021 at 11:17 am #

    I have nothing but contempt for SWE as an organisation and would not spend a penny on them if registration fees were voluntary. I have equal disdain for most of the comments attacking Ahmina here also though. We keep being told the work done by BASW to tackle racism. Strange then that when social workers like me who see no evidence of this ask for practical examples there is nothing tangible. Offering hugs to Sean is just weird and desperate not evidence. Keyboard warriors, self declared activists with no discernable actions to show us, podcasters who think self promotion is anti-racism, indignant tweets is all I see. Much as I rubbish SWE I am prepared to wait and see what Ahmina shows us.

    • Phil Morow June 9, 2021 at 5:28 pm #

      Carlton, you and Sean both seem to have contempt for everyone and everything. You both need a good hug! There is just no pleasing some people. 1 person or organisation cannot resolve the racism in social work.

      Don’t demonise my offer of a hug either. Love makes the world go round.

      • Carlton June 9, 2021 at 10:33 pm #

        Why are you so reluctant to tell us what BASW has achieved though? Maybe there isn’t anything to show? Contempt only for pretenders not achievers. Love between consenting people does indeed make the world go round. Offering to press your body against someone you don’t know is weird and a bit worrying actually.

      • Sean June 10, 2021 at 8:31 am #

        Still waiting to be told what has been achieved. Found anything to put me right on yet? Well past the resolution epiphany at this stage. Contempt only for the endless words and the self reverence. You are right, love between the consenting does indeed make the world go round. Offering to push your body against someone you don’t know is a bit weird and frankly a tad worrying.

    • Pam Oldfield June 9, 2021 at 7:02 pm #

      Carlton, you and Sean seem full of contempt. It’s almost funny that you refer to keyboard warriors. I take it you don’t include yourself in this? For someone so clear on what is NOT being done about racism in social work, I’m intrigued to know what practical work (examples) YOU have done or would like to see.

      • Carlton June 9, 2021 at 11:23 pm #

        Holding people and organisations to account for the things they claim to have done or are supposedly doing they don’t evidence is not contempt. Unlike champions of BASW who are repeadly doging the invitation to put the likes of me right, I can give examples. Won two disciplinaries by establishing the racist behaviour of supervisors. Facilitated the sacking of a fascist social worker by meticulously evidencing her racist and homophobic tweets and victimisation of a fellow Jewish social worker. Outside of work, I have supported black and white British Gas workers threatened with dismissal recently. I was at Southall when Blair Peach was murdered amongs the many protests I have been involved with over the years. I believe in unity and solidarity in political action. That’s how I try to be an anti-racist social worker and citizen. What I would like to see is in the workplace is us being energised to practically act against the authoritariansm and bureaucracy that forces us to practice as individual caseworkers. I don’t see anti-racism as the promotion of a few black and brown people. I see anti-racist social work as a community activity, hence my efforts to engage in actions and campaigns. The oppressive practices in social work start in the teaching institutions with the pretence of academic worth being measured by the MA. To me that is fetishisation of a qualification that is bereft of substance. In 33 years as a (CQSW) qualified social worker I have never heard a newly qualified social worker say their training prepared them for the realities of our work. Decolonising the curriculum is meaningless if at the same time students embrace an elitist degree. I would like us all to reject social workers accepting honours on behalf of the British Empire. I can’t square anti-racism with acceptance of such an ‘honour’. I would like us to reject marketing campaigns disguised as celebrating achievement such as the Social Worker of the Year awards. We are all doing our best, some of us in the face of racist victimisation, why should a few be singled out to tell us we are not up to standard. So no, I am not just a keyboard warrior. I don’t measure my activism by tweets, blogs and podcasts. I recommend joining a proper union, standing up to bullying managers, tearing into the bigots, going out to support fellow workers in their struggles, getting users of services to vote and most importantly critically evaluating the words and actions of those who claim leadership in anti-racism. Solidarity and Unity. Old fashioned perhaps but more effective never the less. I could go on so do engage.

        • Pam Oldfield June 10, 2021 at 9:23 pm #

          Oh, not much in the way of direct anti-racist activism then Carlton…? Also, you don’t half dwell on vitriolic negative critique, rather than potential solutions!!! Sadly, your reply is all a lot of twaddle isn’t it?! Next time, make sure your reply is “half-short and twice as strong.”

          • Carlton June 11, 2021 at 9:34 am #

            How is holding racist managers to account so they don’t discriminate and are racist towards their staff not direct anti-racist action? How is getting an anti-semitic social worker sacked not anti-racist action? How is getting beaten up at anti-racist demonstrations not anti-racist activism? How is supporting black workers in their fight to save their jobs not anti-racist solidarity? You are right though I have never supported the promotion of snd the creation of black.elites in social work. If that’s a failing I proudly own it. I am afraid your comment sums up the narrow and insular views that shouts a lot and achieves nothing. I gave you my thoughts on education, managers, divisive awards ceremonies and much more. Next time I’ll just parrot white supremacy, white privilege, white fragility so I can be validated in the vacouty that passess for thought in socisl work now. It’ll be short too so a bonus. Now you tell us how you fight racism.

          • Jane June 11, 2021 at 10:22 am #

            So preventing racist managers disciplining staff is not anti-racism? Driving a racist out of a service and protecting a social worker and others is not anti-racism? Questioning social workers accepting British Empire honours is not anti-racism? Supporting black workers losing their jobs is not activism? Being on a demo against the National Front where a teacher is killed by the police is not anti-racism? Questioning training that ill prepares social workers to practice when a disproportionate number of black and minoritised social workers ‘fail’ their ASYE is not anti-racism? If all of that is twaddle Pam, please show us how to be the right kind of anti-racist?

  29. Kieran June 10, 2021 at 8:44 am #

    Hugs as anti-racist activism. Emphatic confirmation of Sean and Carltons points perhaps not the intention.

  30. Alice June 10, 2021 at 1:24 pm #

    Meanwhile the world’s richest man pays zero tax and qualifies for child tax credit. Claims it too. Bezos makes his money exploiting the labour of black, brown and minoritised people. He facilitates the likes on Nike paying 3 dollars a day for children to make the trainers some social workers covet. Anti-racism divorced from the realities of other peoples lives is just rhetoric.


  1. ‘It’s right to focus on race, but we must look at equality in social work in the round’ - Vulnerability360 - June 1, 2021

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