Advanced human services professional practitioners who regularly engage in critical reflection about their own power and privilege are often more likely to recognize and challenge practices, procedures, and policies that perpetuate discrimination and oppression. Practitioners who do not engage in this type of critical reflection may unknowingly do harm to service users, their organization, and their community. For instance, a practitioner may unconsciously impose their values and beliefs on a service user of a different culture, condone long-standing organizational practices that are discriminatory, and fail to recognize opportunities to effect systemic change to better serve the historically oppressed populations in their community.
Last week, you had an opportunity to engage in critical reflection about your level of power and privilege when you completed the Power Flower exercise. In doing so, you may have realized that every person has a unique combination of social identities from which they derive some level of power and privilege. In this Discussion, you will share insights you had and conclusions you drew about your level of power and privilege as a result of completing the exercise. You also will consider how your awareness in this area may impact how you practice human services at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
As previously mentioned, the conversation about power and privilege is not an easy one. It is not meant to be. It also is not an indoctrination about a certain way of thinking. It is important to understand the unintended results of being part of a certain group. This is a reality that, as a society, we cannot deny. It does not mean one group is “better” than another. It is important to understand where your privilege and power exists and how that will impact your work as an advanced human services professional practitioner.
Note: Before you begin this Discussion, keep in mind that power and privilege are sensitive topics that often generate difficult conversations not unlike those you might have when practicing human services. Remember to be respectful of your classmates and open to how they may perceive and experience their level of power and privilege.
Review your Course Announcements for possible information related to this week’s Discussion and Assignment.
Reflect on the Power Flower exercise you completed last week and revisit the Learning Resources on power and privilege.
Review the Learning Resources on working with culturally diverse service users and leading systemic change. Consider the examples of how to better serve diverse service users, human services employees, and the community as a whole.
Consider how a greater awareness of your own power and privilege could influence your work with service users, your leadership in a human services organization, and your role as a social change agent interested in effecting systemic change.
By Day 4
Post one insight you had or conclusion you drew about your level of power and privilege as a result of completing the Power Flower exercise last week. Then explain how gaining a greater awareness of your level of power and privilege could influence your work with service users, your leadership in a human services organization, and your role as a social change agent interested in effecting systemic change. Be specific.
By Day 6
Respond to two of your colleagues’ postings by sharing an insight gained from reading their posts. Explain how your colleagues’ postings have changed your perception or understanding of how your awareness of your power and privilege may influence the way you practice human services.