"The notion of improving other people is endemic to social work" (p. 114)
Cindy Blackstock - 'The Occasional Evil of Angels: Learning From the Experiences of
Aboriginal Peoples & Social Work'
Social Work as the 'doer of good'
- The social work profession has been constructed as a profession that is an actor of
doing good - "doers of good". The problem is that it ignores the fact that social work has
inflicted harm & ignores the potential harm that it can inflict on people and/or groups.
o Historical responses of good intentions have actually caused harm
-There is a belief that social workers know what 'good' is, and can instill good in others.
Doing good is ingrained in the social work profession therefore ignoring the potential
harm that social work can do to certain people and/or groups.
o "Concept that we can do harm or even do evil rarely appears on the optical radar
screen of professional training, legislation or practice"
-Historically, social work profession of 'good intentions' have had dire consequences in
terms of inflicting harm on Aboriginal peoples (residential school, 60's scope)
o Social workers were actors of oppression in terms of believing that residential
schools were beneficial for Aboriginal children
o Social workers were active participants in the placement of Aboriginal children in
the residential schools in the late 1960's
- Social work profession tries to improve others, while ignoring the fact that social work
needs to change itself because it still perpetuates problematic and oppressive policies
that reflect colonialism (i.e. Child Welfare, especially in relation to Aboriginal children)
- Social work oftentimes drums up solutions to "Aboriginal issues" by themselves, but it
should ensure to build relations with Aboriginal peoples and collaborate to make
** In order for social work to move forward, has to confront and look at its professional
mirror to see its history from multiple perspectives including that of those who
experienced harm at the hands of social work intervention**
o Acknowledge that social work is not a 'pure' profession, that is not tainted by