chapter  9
Anti-racist social work: a black perspective
ByShama Ahmed
Pages 15

It is a fact that racism operates at an ideological, structural, systemic and interpersonal level within contemporary British society. After the rebellions and uprisings of 1981 it became increasingly fashionable in some local government and social work circles to talk about the development of antiracist policies and practices. But historically for black people (people of African, Caribbean and Asian origins) the struggles against racism in society and in social work did not commence at this juncture. Nor was anti-racist social work born in the closing years of the 1980s with the publication of books and articles bearing that label. The anti-racist struggles and campaigns of the 1960s in the factories and in the streets were authentic struggles of the black working class in Britain. During the 1970s and 1980s small numbers of black people began to occupy spaces not only in the factories but also in the town halls and professional bureaucracies. Black social workers realized how social inequalities are reproduced by welfare institutions.