Developing anti-discriminatory practice
Anti-discriminatory practice has established itself as a mainstay of social work education over the past fifteen years or so, and is increasingly featuring in the professional education of health care workers and others within the human services. It has to be recognised that, although considerable progress has been made, the process has not been an easy or trouble-free one, and continues to be problematic in some ways. In this chapter, I therefore seek to build on the strengths and to guard against the problems. In order to do this I have divided the chapter into three main sections. In the first, I ask the question: what is anti-discriminatory practice? Given that this is something of a contested area of enquiry, I begin with some scene setting and briefly outline my own views of what anti-discriminatory practice is and why it is important. In the second section, I explore the question of how we make it a reality, taking account of the complex relationships across the personal and broader cultural and structural dimensions of discrimination (Thompson, 2001). Finally, in the third section, I identify some of the main pitfalls to avoid. This involves exploring a range of issues relating to how our attempts to promote anti-discriminatory practice can be flawed and at times counterproductive.