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                            The translation of anti-racism values from the professional into the personal for white social workers who have lived in north or west Philadelphia
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Page 1

Smith ScholarWorks Smith ScholarWorks

Theses, Dissertations, and Projects

2017

The translation of anti-racism values from the professional into The translation of anti-racism values from the professional into

the personal for white social workers who have lived in north or the personal for white social workers who have lived in north or

west Philadelphia west Philadelphia

Lauren Hope Newman

Follow this and additional works at: https://scholarworks.smith.edu/theses

Part of the Social Work Commons

Recommended Citation Recommended Citation
Newman, Lauren Hope, "The translation of anti-racism values from the professional into the personal for
white social workers who have lived in north or west Philadelphia" (2017). Masters Thesis, Smith College,
Northampton, MA.
https://scholarworks.smith.edu/theses/1911

This Masters Thesis has been accepted for inclusion in Theses, Dissertations, and Projects by an authorized
administrator of Smith ScholarWorks. For more information, please contact [email protected]

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mailto:[email protected]

Page 2

Lauren Newman
The Translation of Anti-Racism Values
from the Professional into the Personal

for White Social Workers Who Have Lived
in North or West Philadelphia




ABSTRACT

This research explores how white social workers who were exposed to anti-racism values

during their social work education, execute these values while living in the gentrifying

neighborhoods of North or West Philadelphia. Twelve white social workers participated in semi-

structured interviews in which they described their anti-racism education/training, their

motivation for moving to North or West Philadelphia, and how they felt they translated the anti-

racism values that were learned or reinforced for them in their education into their lives in their

gentrifying communities. The findings display the importance in equipping people with the tools

to engage within their community and guide them towards living ethically within their

community. This study postulates that committing to the lives of oppressed populations both in

and out of the workplace could lead to the interruption of the systems and institutions that

instigate and perpetuate gentrification.



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what that means for the neighborhood and where my role is in that, I think is

something that I ... still have I don’t know, I don’t really know where I’m at with

that ... it’s something that I still kind of grapple with.

Translation of Anti-Racism Values from the Professional into the Personal

Upon learning about the anti-racism education and training the participants

received and their motivation for moving to North or West Philadelphia, the final section

of the interview aimed to fuse these ideas together in order to learn about the ways in

which white social workers apply their anti-racism values to their lives in their

neighborhoods. Participants had a wide variety of responses and the following

subsections will address this range of responses.

The Micro Approach. When asked, some of clinicians expressed their

inclination to take a micro route in their anti-racism advocacy within their community

and other respondents touched on micro-based action steps, while not specifically naming

this as their approach. Key activities reported by subjects for community engagement

were volunteering with local organizations; interacting directly with other community

members; participating in drives or personally donating money or food to North/West

Philadelphians. POWER and Act Up were two organizations that arose regarding

activism and spaces to volunteer. Voter registration was another activity mentioned as a

method of direct action.

The concept of being a good neighbor or community member arose in several

interviews. One respondent explained that for her it’s,

the way I’ve ... tried to live my life ... when it comes to getting to know neighbors

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and being a good neighbor and ... taking care of our property ... our common

property … just trying to be like open and ... a good community member in a very

general sense,

and another expressed,

I think that we do tend to influence each other as people and follow each other’s

behaviors. … I think when you get enough people reaching out to a community…

it ultimately uplifts that community at large. … I don’t think I’m single-handedly

uplifting a community by any means, but I like to think that… at the end of the

day every time you do work towards something it does end up being a series.

One clinician provided an alternative perspective about the importance of being a good

neighbor,

Being friendly and being a good neighbor is an important thing. But I don’t know

that that’s necessarily being anti-racist. Just because I say, ‘Hi,’ to the black

people that live near me. I think that’s just part of being a good neighbor.

When asked why a micro approach was preferred, a social worker responded,

I tend to focus on the little things that are able to be accomplished in the course of

a day, just because the macro seems too big for me. And that’s just a personal

thing, that’s always been a thing for me, if something is too big to wrap my brain

around then I just start with the baby steps and so I think that for me, figuring out

how to have those micro interactions be more successful is what keeps me

connected to the systemic cause.

A participant added, “in the simplest form, it makes a difference in that person’s day at

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2016-2017
RESEARCH PROJECT PROTOCOL CHANGE FORM

Smith College School for Social Work



You are presently the researcher on the following approved research project by the Human
Subjects Committee (HSR) of Smith College School for Social Work:
The Translation of Anti-Racism Values from the Professional into the Personal for White Social

Workers Who
Have Lived in North or West Philadelphia

Lauren Newman
Elaine Kersten

………………………………………………………………………………….
Please complete the following:

I/we am/are requesting changes to the study protocols, as they were originally approved by
the HSR Committee of Smith College School for Social Work. These changes are as follows:

1. In addition to meeting with participants in person, I will also be conducting interviews via
phone and video chat. When doing this I will be in a private location and asking that clients do
the same, in order to protect their confidentiality in this process. They will be receiving their
Informed Consent via email, and returning it to me with an electronic signature.
2. Participants in this study may be in the process of getting their social work degrees. These
participants are receiving the necessary anti-racism training in their programs that is required
to meet the criterion for this study.








………………………………………………………………………………….

__x__I understand that these proposed changes in protocol will be reviewed by the
Committee.
__x__I also understand that any proposed changes in protocol being requested in this form
cannot be implemented until they have been fully approved by the HSR Committee.
__x__I have discussed these changes with my Research Advisor and he/she has approved
them.


Name of Researcher(s) : Lauren Newman Date: 2/6/17


PLEASE RETURN THIS COMPLETED FORM TO Laura Wyman at [email protected] or to Lilly
Hall Room 115.

Include your Research Advisor/Doctoral Committee Chair in the ‘cc’

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90





School for Social Work
Smith College

Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
T (413) 585-7950 F (413) 585-7994





February 7, 2017


Lauren Newman

Dear Lauren,

I have reviewed your amendments and they look fine. The amendments to your study are
therefore approved. Thank you and best of luck with your project.

Sincerely,

Michael Murphy
Human Subjects Review Committee

CC: Elaine Kersten, Research Advisor

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