Braver Spaces in Social Work: Exploring Student Learning About Privilege and Micro-Aggressions

Sasan Issari, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Aimee Power


This study explores students’ learning about privileges, oppressions, and intersectional forms of microaggressions in a Canadian undergraduate social work course. Microaggressions are “everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership” (Sue, 2010, p. xvi). Four themes emerged, including: (a) Speaking up at the Intersection of Age and Gender in Social Work Education; (b) Challenging the Invisibility of the Intersection of Class and Race in Social Work; (c) Challenging Heterosexism within the Family Unit and Social Work; and (d) Naming the Intersection of Institutional Racism, Sexism, and Ableism within the Workplace. The paper concludes with implications for social work education and practice.  


Braver spaces; Social justice education; Critical social work practice; Intersectionality

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