This event is a discussion about the impact of Ferguson, Missouri and the effects of racism in our society. One of the topics in discussion was about police brutality, with an example video of the pull over, arrest, and death of Sandra Bland. The discussion questions they offered about this topic was “What could have been done to prevent this?” and “Was Sandra right or wrong?”
The goals of this event are to bring awareness and motivation of change to the effects of racism. One of the ways that a person could to try to change these situations and opinions happening in this country would be to “become an ally.” Bringing awareness by doing research, paying attention, and understanding what is happening and why, as well as spreading that knowledge to others would benefit us all. Whenever racism is present, one should stand up to it, care about everyone on all sides, and refuse to back down or be afraid of losing popularity. Another goal is to bring the entire community together as one, so that everyone could be on the same side.
This issue is a long standing, very intricate and difficult thing that may possibly never be entirely resolved. People need to accept the fact that there are other humans who just happen to have a slight difference of melatonin in their skin, and that they are no different to any other human in any other way, other than the usual unique and benign characteristics, such as personality. In regards to the example of Sandra Bland, I think that the police officer, and all the other police officers who have done questionable acts, should try to have more respect for others, as well as more training and professionalism. If a police officer is going to abuse their power, and act irrationally and disrespectfully, they should be offered additional training or a recap of their training and code of ethics. If they continue to act wrongfully, they might need to be removed from that position for the safety of the public.
This event gave an interesting experience in how the campus community is trying to bring awareness, change and a sense of community. People from all sorts of backgrounds came to listen and discuss this issue. They were able to look at both sides of the example situation, and see how it could have been prevented. The brisk pace and air of friendship kept the entire discussion light and mostly relaxed.
One social work-related concept that can relate to this topic are the core values mentioned in the NASW Code of Ethics. All social workers, as well as people working in similar careers, should respect the dignity and worth of every individual. Every individual deserves to be treated with respect, and every culture and background should be acknowledged and respected as well. When social injustice arises, all social workers should challenge that injustice, and work to change the environment as well as educate and give access to information to individuals who don’t or won’t understand others’ backgrounds and cultures.
Another social work-related concept that can be related to this topic is the ethical responsibility of Cultural Competence and Social Diversity of a social worker. Social workers should strive to understand both their own culture and the culture of their clients. A social worker who is helping a client whose background and culture might be unfamiliar should take the time and effort to research information about that specific culture, have an open mind and a willingness to learn and respect that individual and their culture, and try to understand the effects discrimination have had on the client.
Social workers should also try to further and more permanently help the individual by attempting to promote change in the broader society. This concept is known as the social worker’s ethical responsibilities to the broader society; including striving to engage in social and political action that is working to ensure equal access of all resources and opportunities to all individuals. When striving to grant universal access to all important resources, services and opportunities, the social worker should focus the most of those that need it the most, such as those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged; including people whose cultures are considered minorities and are therefore discriminated against.
This experience can help someone looking at a career as a social worker or similar, by helping to remind them social injustice is wrong and needs to be eradicated, and help them remember that every individual, regardless of small differences, are all humans that can be regarded with respect and understanding. When one is reminded of those things, and strives to at least be a decent person, the desire to help others can be rekindled. One possible way to do so is to use the NASW Code of Ethics, whether one is a social worker or not.
The core values of a social worker can become a part of anyone’s values. The core value known as Service, or helping people in need, is something that all sorts of people can do daily. Next, the core value of Social Justice is like a rally cry to promote change for everyone: spread that information far and wide. The Dignity and Worth of the Person, a very important core value, is a value that should be reminded to everyone daily, in order to consistently attempt to prompt people to treat others with respect. The Importance of Human Relationships, where social workers remember that people need people, is a scientific fact that is proven again and again to help individuals heal and maintain health. Using these values and similar ones can help someone be an effective professional in any helping career.
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