Journal Article

From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism: The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Social Work and Social Justice in the USA

Michael Reisch

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 4, pages 788-804
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcn001
From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism: The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Social Work and Social Justice in the USA

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Summary

Since the turn of the twentieth century, the relationships among race, citizenship and culture have been central to debates about the goals of social policy and social work in the USA. To date, however, even the best histories of social work have focused primarily on the influence of mainstream (i.e. white) organizations and their leaders, ignoring and often objectifying the contributions of minorities. Based on extensive primary source materials, this essay—part of a larger scholarly project—analyses the differential responses of US social work to demographic and cultural changes during the past century. The findings illuminate discussions not only of social work's past, but how the profession could address such contemporary issues as the compatibility between multiculturalism and other social justice-related goals; the congruence between social equality and professional identity; and the means by which social work practice and ethics can adapt successfully to demographic and cultural transformation.

Keywords: Racial and ethnic diversity; Multiculturalism; Mutual Aid; Social Justice

Journal Article.  6167 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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