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Author: Suryia Nayak

This article offers women of colour in social work a black feminist self-care practice based on three principles from Audre Lorde’s work. The colonial situation of social work inevitably marginalises black feminist thinking and methods. In the context of chronic racist denigration, generic social work models of recovery, reparation and resilience equate to complicity with intersectional racism. Social work values and ethics alone are not enough. A material shift in power relations is required. Black feminist self-care practice responds to the physical, material and emotional impacts of silence, exhaustion and vilification of feeling that women of colour encounter in their living. In a call for women of colour in social work to gather together for mutual sharing of experience, this article affirms the power of collective dialogues as the primary strategy of black feminist self-care practice.

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Author: Suryia Nayak

Reflection is a trademark tool of social work, but if reflection tools are blunt, they will never dismantle the house of intersectional racist oppression. This provocation contends that reflective models need to decisively focus on intersections of power, privilege and position. The origins of Black feminist intersectionality determine intersectionality’s function as an efficacious tool of reflection. This article offers a model of intersectional reflection that explicitly scrutinises the interdependent interconnections of power to expose the compound injuries of intersectional racism and enables the identification of places of safety and opportunities for transformation. Located within a metanarrative for Black feminist social work, intersectional reflection identifies the criss-cross roads of social inequality, names the vehicles of power, analyses the intersectional crash and assesses bio-psychosocial injuries. If social work is to stand a chance of being fit for purpose in an intersectionally racist world, it needs to be based on Black feminist theory.

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