SWHPN's statement in response to the ASWB report

The Social Work and Hospice Care Network (SWHPN) is compelled to issue this statement in response to the demographic data released by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) on the racial composition of social workers passing the licensure exams.

SWHPN applauds the dissemination of this important data, and we are deeply troubled by it. We, like many social work organizations during the past few years, have proclaimed our outrage at the structures of white privilege and our commitment to racial justice in our profession and the larger society. It is in this context that we express profound alarm and dismay at learning of the low pass rates of our Black colleagues on the licensure exams. We believe that this data is the product of the implicit racial bias embedded in the ASWB exam -- a bias that is pernicious and pervasive throughout the education and practice institutions of the United States. Immeasurable injury is exacted to our profession when the ASWB exams prescribe ideas of a "knowledge" that is steeped in dominant white cultural values and ways of knowing. There are no tools of racism and colonialism more powerful than pedagogy and epistemology. SWHPN refuses to remain complicit in perpetuating such systems of racism. To that end, we commit ourselves to the following actions:

  1. We will immediately begin looking for a new organization to provide credentialing for our professional development activities.  As a start, we will be suspending our upcoming Fall webinar series until a new provider can be secured. We understand the impact this may have on our membership and on our revenue, but our commitment to racial justice requires us to divest from involvement with ASWB at this time. We urge ASWB to take action to rectify the racial bias of its exams so that we might re-engage in our collaboration on the basis of mutual commitment against systems of white privilege.  

  2. We will be asking all organizations with which we partner to share their demographic data and engage in dialogue about where bias is present. We will likewise be transparent with our own membership data and will share how we are working to address racism, bias, and the effects of white supremacy on our field.

  3. We will expand spaces for our non-Black members to engage in conversation, to dismantle racism in all forms, without asking our Black colleagues to do the additional education. We will provide ongoing opportunities to continually address our own biases, and join in collective efforts of others in this work.

  4. Join others on the calls for change! Here is one opportunity, and another! We will keep you alerted to more as we learn about them. Feel free to share in the comments additional ways to enact change.

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