Policy and Racial Equality

Policy and Racial Equality

The quest for achieving racial equality comes with many obstacles. If social workers are to help in achieving racial equality, they need to understand the challenges they may face. The first obstacle is that racial inequality is entrenched in the way institutions operate and human nature. It has always been a part of society at all times and everywhere. This makes it harder for social workers to challenge until it becomes unmanageable. Another obstacle is that racial inequality is an evolving phenomenon: types of discrimination such as class, race, sex, or religion do not die out easily but they tend to acquire more challenging manifestations (Woolf, 2017). While a consensus that discrimination and prejudice are both inefficient and wrong, opinions concerning how to eliminate the issues and how to promote racial equality diverge. The continuing debate on legitimacy, the effectiveness of affirmative action, and desirability in favor of racially disadvantaged groups show that it is hard to achieve racial equality with these divergent views. Achieving racial equality and eradication of racism and other forms of discrimination is seen as too costly and its benefits as hard to measure. The costs of achieving racial equality are viewed to outweigh the benefits especially in the medium and short term (Ferguson, 2018). This shows why policies that increase racial equality in periods of economic stagnation and recession lose legitimacy, face backlash, and may be discontinued.

Social workers can find significant strategies to work towards racial equality in policy implementation. According to the NASW code of ethics, social work professionals are entitled to be involved in social and political actions to ensure vulnerable populations get access to equal health treatment, education, and other opportunities that help address their needs (Ferguson, 2018). When it comes to implementing policies for achieving the social well-being of marginalized populations, social workers need aware of social and political impacts as well as expected challenges. As such, social work professionals play a major part in the formulation and implementation of social policies that address racial equality within the context of a country. All these activities aim at promoting equality as well as the general well-being of people.

Social workers (attempt) to work toward racial equality by advocating for the implementation of policies that provides resources and opportunities for racially discriminated persons. These resources are meant to make opportunities more widespread, rather than focused on a particular group of overly privileged individuals (Ferguson, 2018). For instance, social work professionals need to advocate for employment policies that ensure persons who have been discriminated against in the case that they have been dismissed unfairly. Things like this facilitate opportunities for people who do not normally have a safe place to wake up, healthy food to eat and outlets like sports/music/art, and in many cases, just having someone who sees their strengths and believes in them.

My identified obstacles are similar in many ways. First, the obstacles make it challenging for social workers to achieve racial equality in society. The obstacles also prevent developments and ensure many shortcomings in terms of racial equality persist. They make the programs and action plans formulated to fight racial discrimination too narrow, become subject to economic and political changes, and not sustained over time (Woolf, 2017). Nonetheless, the obstacles prevent the lead to divisions and social barriers in the implementation of racial equality policies. Set against the constraints, the measures taken against racial inequality do not appear to yield a net reduction in the rate of discrimination as a result of these obstacles.





Ferguson, H. (2018). How social workers reflect in action and when and why they don’t: The possibilities and limits to reflective practice in social work. Social Work Education, 37(4), 415-427. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2017.1413083

Woolf, S. H. (2017). Progress in achieving health equity requires attention to root causes. Health Affairs36(6), 984-991. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0197


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