Self-awareness and conscious use of self are critical concepts in social work practice. As social workers, it is important that we continue to reflect on our social identities, experiences and perspectives and examine how these might influence our knowledge and practices. This assessment task is intended to help you reflect on and examine some of your personal views, opinions and experiences and develop a learning and growth plan which might contribute to your professional development as social workers aligned with cultural responsiveness and anti-oppression.
Length and/or format:1500 words
Purpose:To recognise, examine and address one’s own biases and stereotypes with regard to a historically marginalised community
Learning outcomes assessed: LO1, LO3, LO4
I. Identifications of dimensions of social identity
Determining social identity can be effective for having an idea related to one's own position in society or community. As mentioned by Sechi and Šķilters (2017), gender identity, race as well as ethnicity, caste along with sexual orientation and ability status are some of the key determinants of social identity. Thus, I can mention that if I can be able to identify my social position, I can be able to determine whether I am in a dominant social group or not. I am a 26 years old woman. My name is Manisha Khadka. I was born in Nepal, so my nationality is Nepalese. I am a Hindu by religion. I am quite able to be engaged actively in a range of social work.
I think that I belong to the dominant groups in society based on age, race and religion as well as nationality and migration status. The following points are showing my social identity-
II. Identifying a group or community that is oppressed
Australian aboriginals are commonly considered as discriminated, historically marginalized and oppressed. Most striking fact is that the aboriginal community is still facing issues related to racial discrimination. As per the thoughts of Watts and Hodgson (2019), there are some stern stereotypes and prejudices regarding the existence of Australian aboriginals. For example, they are considered as nomadic, violent as well as uneducated and dark skinned. For example, due to racial marginalization and reinforcements of inequality in aboriginal communities, they were not able to experience socio-economic opportunities. According to me, these stereotypes and prejudices must be changed for aboriginal communities and they need to be provided with proper socio-economic support.
In order to highlight the mode of discrimination or oppression towards Australian aboriginals, it can be presented that they were ignored openly in a community and surrounding people rejected to interact with them. One of the most critical prejudices regarding the aboriginals is that they live in unhealthy conditions in desert areas (Australianstogether, 2020). These wrong concepts and implicit biases regarding Australian aboriginal people must be eliminated from communities for sustaining social growth of backward communities in an effective way.
III. Discussion based on social, political and economic problem faced by the individuals of oppressed group
The social problems faced by Australian aboriginal are based on lack of medical care, little education as well as a huge rate of unemployment in communities. As a result of this, issues based on broken families and clash among community heads are becoming prominent (Worrell, 2018). Along with this, the aboriginal individuals face some political issues such as Acts of government with assimilation policies as well as Racism and discrimination. As stated by Garcon-Mills (2015), issues based on political conflicts are very common in aboriginal communities as the Government is not focused to sustain their human rights for living in an appropriate environment. The economic issues are based on the increasing rate of unemployment and loss of human rights. Increasing unemployment leads to maximize financial hardship and poverty.
Laws or policies that have negative impacts on this group
Gender Equality Act 2020 has not had the positive effects of women of aboriginal communities because in a number of workplaces they are affected with racial discrimination and gender biases. Besides, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 limits their power as it mentions that for every social activity, the aboriginals need to take permission from Government (Legislation, 2020).
Social discrimination faced in everyday life
Due to ancient stereotypes and prejudices, the aboriginal Australians are facing social marginalisation and oppression in their daily lives. In the words of Romano (2018), racism, gender harassment as well as lack of access to medical treatment opportunities. Loss of economic feasibilities leads to family breakdown.
Ways through which the members are portrayed in media and culture
The individuals of this community are portrayed as the backward caste in Australian culture. In support of this statement, Diller (2015) mentioned that some ancient types of beliefs and prejudices still isolate the aboriginals and their cultural aspect has not got a base to be explored. In the media, the aboriginal community in Australia is portrayed as being primitive, violent and devious (Aquino et al. 2018).
IV. Describing own beliefs, opinions, perspectives or attitudes
I believe that lack of political support and huge social isolation is the reason for unbearable conditions of aboriginals. In this regard, my opinion is that implementation of human rights legislations needs to be strong enough which may secure common rights of aboriginals (Sharma, 2019). It can be mentioned that the perspectives of equal rights must be protected which will eliminate negative biases and prejudices regarding existence of aboriginals in Australia. There are critical requirements of social workers who can be able to lift up the position of this community (Bliss, 2015).
Origin or beliefs and opinions
According to me, my beliefs regarding aboriginals have developed by going through different articles and scholarly papers about them. Besides, I have come across some aboriginals few days ago and knew their social positions. Besides, I have studied a number of media sources such as newspaper articles, from which I have gathered immense knowledge about this backward community. Hence, I am able to express my opinions regarding current social conditions and mode of functions to bring them back to proper social identity.
Types of messages regarding the community
While growing up, I have received plenty of information about this community from my family, school and online media. For example, I have gained knowledge regarding aboriginals’ origin from one of my relatives. Apart from this, during school, I acquired information regarding the barriers that are faced by this community in Australian politics and society (Bliss, 2015). Then, when I became able to analyze media, I have come to know that Government has not taken any effective initiatives to protect rights of aboriginals in Australia.
Social factors and forces to develop stereotypes and prejudices
Portraying as the backward community, the aboriginal individuals are deprived from social opportunities. Hence, their social isolation status has made be develop stereotype such as lack of constructive education among aboriginal individuals. Additionally, lower rate of employment and family breakdown have developed the prejudice in me that the aboriginals have no critical sense related to maintenance of their position in Australian communities.
V. Stereotypes, implicit biases or prejudices on managing social work practices
In order to be engaged in social activities with aboriginal individuals, the Stereotypes, implicit biases or prejudices may impact on social work practices through the following ways-
Due to having differential cultural background and different social identify, I may feel hesitated to work with aboriginals. In this regard, sharing IFSW ethical standards will be necessary (IFSW, 2020).
Lack of cultural understanding may create a barrier for effective decision making.
Differences in decision making pattern and differences in cultural background may prevent me to collaborate freely with the aboriginal individual during social work. Ethical standards of AASW must be followed thoroughly (AASW, 2020).
Communication gap may prevent us to follow up a specific plan for managing social activities in Australian aboriginal communities.
Stereotypes to be address
Violent nature and alcoholism
Ancient type of cultures
Lack of willingness to come into the light of civilization
Frequent family breakdown
Table 1: Planning for addressing stereotypes
(Source: Developed by author)
Thus, it can be mentioned that for addressing the stereotypes and prejudices regarding Australian aboriginals, it is necessary to develop a direct interaction with them as well as studying different literary sources that will be critically effective to know in depth.