Week 5 Discussion 1, 2& 3
In many societies certain groups possess more resources and hold more power than other groups. In some of these societies, racial discrimination and racial tension also exist. While members of the societies may openly acknowledge that unequal distribution of power and racism are present in their society, many fail to examine the complex relationships between privilege and racism. Social workers must understand this complex relationship so they can educate and empower their clients. Empowerment is the cornerstone of social work practice. In the book Black Empowerment, the author,Barbara Solomon, writes, "Empowerment refers to a process whereby persons who belong to a stigmatized social category throughout their lives can be assisted to develop and increase skills in the exercise of interpersonal influence and the performance of valued social roles" (p. 6). Empowerment practice is based on a collaborative relationship between worker and client, initiated to promote the client's power through self-actualization, self-determination, and the fulfillment of personal goals (Gutierrez, Parsons, & Cox, 1998). Further, this process includes increasing your clients' awareness of the structural oppression that exists and its impact on them. It is the role of social workers to empower clients and to bring about awareness of the inequalities that exist in society. This is done two fold—through work with clients on the micro and mezzo levels and on a macro level through work in organizations and communities. Social workers cannot effectively empower clients without first understanding the mechanisms of oppression and how they impact their day-to-day work. Then social workers can recognize the impact on their clients' lives and apply the appropriate skills. To prepare: Review the case study "Working With Individuals: The Case of Mary." By Day 3 Post an explanation of the relationship between racism and privilege. Furthermore, explain how the concepts of racism and privilege relate to "Working With Individuals: The Case of Mary." Explain the impact of racism and privilege on social work practice. Provide recommendations for how you as a social worker might use an empowerment perspective when responding to Mary. Be specific and provide examples from the case. Also, identify specific skills social workers might employ.
For years, many working individuals in the United States have counted on Social Security as their primary retirement income. With the deductions from every paycheck to fund this future benefit, Americans looked forward to a comfortable retirement based on the assumption that these funds were being invested wisely. Is this a factual assumption, or is it another myth of the U.S. social welfare system? Relying on Social Security as a sole means of support in retirement is uncommon. As society’s work habits and life expectancies change, Social Security has come to mean different things to different people. For those who are unable to save and/or invest on their own, it functions like a forced retirement program that provides a financial safety net for the future. For those who become unable to work, social security often is viewed by others as a public assistance program. For others who are financially secure and prepared for retirement, it is an entitlement program where individuals draw Social Security at retirement in an effort to recoup what they paid into the program by deductions from their wages. How might these perceptions of Social Security relate to the perceptions of public assistance programs that were discussed in last week’s resources? For this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Then, consider how Social Security is different from public assistance programs. Finally, think about how these differences are important in terms of the general perception of Social Security benefits. By Day 3 Post an explanation of how Social Security is different from public assistance programs. Then, explain how these differences are important, in terms of the general perception of Social Security benefits. Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.
While Social Security provides a safety net of sorts for millions of people, there are still many groups who are not adequately served by this program. For example, there are disparities in the Social Security benefits women receive in comparison to men. For this Discussion, review this week’s resources. Also, conduct some Internet research to select a population that you think might be disenfranchised by the Social Security program. Consider how the population you selected might be disenfranchised by the Social Security program. By Day 4 Post a brief description of the population you selected. Then, explain how that population might be disenfranchised by the Social Security program based on research, statistics, or policy analysis. Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.