Critical and Radical Social Work
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Porcelain ethics: a critical linguistic analysis of the treatment of race in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics

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  • 1 University of California, Berkeley, , USA
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The linguistic treatment of race – or lack thereof – in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics upholds hegemonic whiteness, the cornerstone of racialisation and attendant ideological and material violence of myriad forms. The Code: endorses and deploys language that renders race an ahistorical, decontextual commodity to be possessed; forgoes rigorous engagement with defining race as a situated and historically harmful social construction; and narrates the prescription of ostensibly universalisable social work ethics from a position distinctly influenced by and beneficial to hegemonic whiteness. This article delineates these propensities evident in the language of the Code and recommends a shift by social work practitioners, educators, researchers and scholars towards racial ethics that resist closure, embrace unsettlement and validate incommensurability in an effort to subvert white hegemony and actualise more authentic and comprehensive racial justice.

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  • 1 University of California, Berkeley, , USA

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