Advanced Generalist Practice: Paper of Intersectionality

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Population: Identify the chosen population and discuss research-based knowledge of the client population, including the needs and strengths of their cultural, spiritual, and ethnic values and beliefs (include a minimum of 2 references).

I chose to focus on the Black and African American population. I realize it may seem odd to say Black and African American as most people see them as the same, however I wanted to make a point to recognize that not all Black people consider themselves to be African American. For the purposes of this paper, I will use the term African American. I feel that this group has continued to cycle where its worth is concerned, in the eyes of society. In my opinion African American lives have never been viewed as valuable to many within the dominant race, especially those who hold law making power. Society has yet to see the great value of African American individuals, which has brought this population to advocate for our lives to be viewed as equal to every other race, as we did during the civil rights movement in the 1950’s. Oppression and discrimination is nothing new to this vulnerable population, the recent killings of innocent black men, women, and children over the past few years, has reminded many of a time not so long ago when this kind of oppression was common place. There is an enormous amount of documentation depicting both past and present atrocities that this population has endured. As a social worker, the National Association of Social Workers (2017), tells us that it’s important to challenge social injustice. “Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers' social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice.” (NASW (2017).

Cultural Needs & Strengths

In my research, the topic of respect seemed to be a common theme for this vulnerable population. Komen states, African Americans strongly value showing respect to elders and authority figures and traditionally have treated their elders with great respect. The father or mother can take the role of the decision maker. (Komen 2015). The flexibility of this population to have either parent take a lead role in the family, allows for a normalcy and resilience if a two-parent home becomes a one parent home, or another family member has to take over the care of the children. Over the past few years, with the blatant disregard for the lives of African Americans, this population has begun to publicly speak out against authority figures such as law enforcement and politicians. Inn result making advocacy a strength within this community, having the courage to speak up when people are being killed for doing so should not go unnoticed.

Spiritual Needs & Strengths

Komen (2015) depicts the core of African American culture as being rooted in faith, prayer and religious affiliations. Many African Americans attend regular religious services, have an unwavering belief in God and miracles. (Komen 2015). Having a spiritual foundation and believing in something bigger than yourself, can help take the pressure off of having to be in total control and or having the answers for life’s tragedies and mishaps.

Ethnic Values and Beliefs

Komen (2015) also references the African-American culture, grandparents are generally revered with high regard. Non-blood relatives, such as Godparents and close friends are often thought of as family and these connections are very important. It is common to hear this population identify and refer to these non-blood relatives as family. (Komen 2015). This population operates under a communal value system, which expands their support system. As an oppressed population, this value system can create a sense of belonging, trust, security, understanding and support.

“The Black man has no rights which the White man is bound to respect. . . . He may justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery . . . and treated as an ordinary article of traffic and merchandise…” (Goff, Eberhart, Williams, Jackson 2008). I believe that this statement is reflective of society’s common historically acceptable views of this population. It’s a well-known fact that during slavery, slaves were required to work harder than anyone else. Slaves were also expected to care for their slave master’s children from birth and cook their meals. Despite all of this, slaves were characterized as lazy, backwards, untrustworthy and dishonest. The following are pictures I obtained from Bing images, represent some additional historical stereotypical bias for this population.

In my opinion, the two most noticeable areas where African Americans have challenged historical and present-day stereotypes, are in the areas of political engagement and representation and the sports arena. Former President Barack Obama turned the world upside down with his historic win in 2009. However, he was not the first African American individual to be a successful politician. According to a political timeline on Black History in America, in 1870 Hiram Revels a Republican from Mississippi became the first African American to a part of the United States Senate. 1992 Carol Moseley Braun, a Democrat from Illinois, is the first African-American woman elected to the Senate. Black History in America There are many African Americans who paved the way for former President Barack Obama’s great success. (Black History in America). This population has also successfully navigated the sports arena, African Americans have stood on Olympic podiums from 1936 to 2018. In fact, according to Tuakli (2018), seven Blacks made Olympic history at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. These athletes set records and medaled in short track speed skating, men’s and women’s long track speed skating, bobsled, and hockey. (Tuakli 2018).

Discuss personal biases and values regarding this population and provide at least two examples that address what you can do to mitigate your own or others’ biases that are clearly connected to this client population (include a minimum of 1 reference).

I am a member of the African American population, and I chose to do this paper on my population because, I would like to make my colleagues aware of my discoveries. Engaging with this population has been a current topic in my work environment and I believe that sharing information and resources is the only way to create allies within society. My personal biases within this community, is that we are an amazing group of people that have contributed greatly towards the development of this nation. I also believe that we have experienced decades of compound trauma that has had catastrophic consequences on how we have developed as Colored, Negros, African Americans, which were names that identified who we were on birth certificates, depending on the year you were born. I have seen family member’s birth certificates who have been identified in all of these racial categories. I find great value in this population as I believe that having a communal mindset, can create a healthy support system. It also creates a closeness and loyalty that promotes a desire to care for our elderly. I also value the various shades of our blackness and the variations of cultural experiences that we have based on our regional experiences. One of the ways to help address implicit biases is to take “The Implicit Attitude Test” (IAT). Project Implicit (2011), has developed a platform to address implicit biases and one can take an anonymous test that measures attitudes toward or beliefs about certain racial, ethnic, gender, religious groups and much more. You may be surprised at your results, causing a sense of joy or disappointment, but the most important thing, to me is to create awareness. (Project Implicit 2011).

Personally, I have taken the race test and have learned a great deal from my results. Being aware of your own implicit biases, helps individuals make changes accordingly. Another way to address racial bias as an African American woman, is to be willing to answer questions, share experiences and educate those who want to learn about what it means to be Black or African American in America. Allies are the key to change. Cultural Humility: Describe how to engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences, and provide a clear example of what this may look like (include at least one reference).

This population has historically been perceived as being less than and have experienced being discounted and disbelieved. As a social worker, I recognize the need to build rapport and would start by describing my time with them, as them being the director and star of their own play and I am just their supporting cast. Although I come from the same group and may have had similar experiences, it is imperative to understand that everyone’s experiences are unique to them. To think that because I am African American, I know what the entire Black or African American community thinks and feels about their individual situations would be a huge mistake. My research led me to the following examples by (Atkin 2007), which I believe would be helpful for every social worker to practice in an effort to develop cultural humility:

  • “Examine your cultural and family beliefs and values. For example, childhood experiences. Your relationship with your parents. How did your parents or grandparents relate to one another within their relationships? What childhood experiences would you like to pass on to your children?
  • What is you culture/identity: ethnicity, age, experience, education, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, and faith or spiritual beliefs.
  • How does your identity define who you are today?
  • How has your beliefs and value changed over the years?
  • Are you aware of your biases towards other who don’t align with your beliefs?
  • For example, do you find it hard to relate to some program participants? Can you identify participants who are resistant to confide in you versus the way you colleagues do?
  • Question and explore your beliefs, that you values are the “norm.”
  • Identify a time when you knew you were different from other people.” (Akin, 2007).

Oppression and Discrimination: Describe and discuss at least one form of oppression and discrimination that this population experiences at each of the following levels:

  • Micro - I have heard many times and have watched as a black man walks past a white woman and she grabs her purse tighter and moves a little faster to get past him. These kinds of macroaggressions, imply that black men are thieves and or should be feared and these actions are contagious and learned behavior, passed down from one generation to the next.
  • Mezzo - Work place discrimination is another oppression that this population faces. Hadden, cited in a U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission report, biases against African Americans effect employment decisions in the federal sector. (Hadden 2010). Hadden, also gives the following example “There is a practice that African Americans are not considered, groomed, or selected for high level positions because of the stereotypical view (or unconscious bias) that those positions are considered nontraditional for African Americans.” (Hadden 2010).
  • Macro - Economic discrimination and the glass ceiling is a real barrier for this population and according to Devega (2016), if the economy continues in its current progression, it will take the average black household 228 years to gain equal wealth as their white counterparts, making it impossible to seal the gap if major policy changes do not occur soon. (Devega, 2016).

Social Justice: Apply understanding of social justice by describing and discussing one evidence based method social workers can use to advocate for human rights for each of these levels: individual, group, and community, for this identified population, and provide at least one example for each of these advocacy methods that addresses social justice (include at least one reference).

  • Micro: At this level I would use the Strengths Perspective to address the effects of oppression and discrimination. This method is meant to empower the individual and to focus on their strengths, identifying the good rather than focusing on the negative.
  • Mezzo: At this level, I would engage with community organizations, encouraging them to use Continuous Quality Assurance Evaluations, to assess whether, they are operating within the identified best practices when engaging with this population.
  • Macro- At this level, one thing a social worker can do, is to join legislative advocacy groups, advocating for change in laws that negatively impact this population. Fighting for change in unjust policies is part of what social work is all about.

Economic Justice: Apply understanding of economic justice by describing and discussing one evidence-based method social workers can use to advocate for human rights for each of these levels: individual, group, and community for this identified population with at least one example for each of these advocacy methods that addresses economic justice (include at least one reference). The method I would use, would be to explore the current status of family services, taking into consideration that my population is most likely disproportionately affected in these areas.

  • Micro - According to Kirst-Ashman and Hull, when advocating for social and economic justice, generalist practitioners should evaluate five things that affect a families’ well-being: “employment, direct provision of income or substitutes for income, health care, homelessness, and day care.” (Kirst-Ashman, Hull 2018).
  • Mezzo - Considering the above things that affect a family’s well-being, at this level I would want to meet with community partners, to access the deficits that our community face in each area and determine how and who will take on each deficit.
  • Macro: At this level, I would advocate for the money needed to meet the needs of those in my community.

Environmental Justice: Apply understanding of environmental justice by describing and discussing one evidence based method social workers can use to advocate for human rights for each of these levels: individual, group, and community for this identified population with at least one example for each of these advocacy methods that addresses environmental justice. (include at least one reference).

  • Micro - Engaging in meaningful dialogue with the oppressed population, specifically regarding their experiences with environmental justice at my agency and within our community.
  • Mezzo - Creating and leading a task group to evaluate environmental justice within my agency.
  • Macro - Joining State and National task-oriented advocacy groups to advocate for environmental justice. Focusing on the fact that all humans should have equal and fair rights regardless of race or any other factor, is the target topic of my advocacy.

I started out with the intent of researching information that would be helpful to others outside of the African American race, however I too learned a lot, about how to utilize critical thinking skills, to apply evidence based methods when engaging with this population.


Komen, Susan. (2015). Cultural Norms and Strategies for Communication. From,

Greer, Gregg. (2016). The Oppression and Mass Execution of African American Men will Cripple America. From,

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. (2019). Critical Race Theory. From,

Goff, P., Eberhardt, J., Williams, M., Jackson, M. (2008). Not Yet Human: Implicit Knowledge, Historical Dehumanization, and Contemporary Consequences. From,

Williams, M. Ph. D. (2011). African Americans and Pathological Stereotypes Assumptions about race can lead to wrong conclusions and prejudice. From,

Black History in America. (2019). African American Politicians. From,

Tuakli, Foluke. (2018). Seven black athletes making history at the 2018 PyeongChange Winter Olympics.

Nesbit, J. (2015). America, Racial Bias Does Exist. Study after study demonstrates Americans have racial biases. It's time to fix that. From,

Project Implicit. (2011). Implicit Attitude Test. From,

Akin, M. (2007). Developing Cultural Humility: Self Reflection Exercises. From,

Devega, C. (2016). White privilege as economic reality: It would take African-Americans 228 years to reach the same level of wealth as whites. From:

Hadden, C. (2010). U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. African American Workgroup Report. From,

Kirst-Ashman, K; Hull, G. (2018). Empowerment Series: Understanding Generalist Practice. (Page 415). Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition.

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Advanced Generalist Practice: Paper of Intersectionality. (2022, Oct 05). Retrieved June 18, 2024 , from

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