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Up to this point in the course, you have been looking at each dimension of diversity on its own. However, these dimensions do not exist in isolation. Rather, they sit alongside


Up to this point in the course, you have been looking at each dimension of diversity on its own. However, these dimensions do not exist in isolation. Rather, they sit alongside

Up to this point in the course, you have been looking at each dimension of diversity on its own. However, these dimensions do not exist in isolation. Rather, they sit alongside and on top of one another, intersecting and shaping a person’s unique identity and contributing to their experience of oppression.

Imagine a painting and the multiple colors that, with each brushstroke, layer on top of one another to create the artwork. Perhaps these colors blend to form new tones or textures that stand out from the rest. In much the same way, various layers of identity combine to create the complex environment in which you and your clients live and interact. Consider the historical intersection between class, race, and sex: Women and people of color have long been denied the means to obtain assets and grow wealth.

As a social worker, you must examine carefully these intersections so you can respond accordingly. For this Assignment, you apply your skills to a case where multiple aspects of identity are impacting experience.

To Prepare

  • Review the What Is Intersectionality? video in the Learning Resources. Reflect on intersectionality and what it might look like for clients you meet in practice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXJ4Dbdm1ks 
  • Access the Social Work Case Studies media in the Learning Resources and explore Crystal’s case.

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 3 in which you address the following:

  • Identify the dimensions of identity present in the case.
  • Explain how these dimensions overlap and intersect to compound experiences of oppression.
  • Explain how you would approach the case as a social worker. How would you intervene or empower the client?
  • Would you explore social class as a contributor to the client’s experience—why or why not? Does class matter? 

Use the Learning Resources to support your case analysis. Make sure to provide APA citations and a reference list.

https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/education 

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Crystal

Crystal is a 39-year-old Indigenous female. Until recently, Crystal lived with her husband, Jonathan, on a tribal reservation, where she had a strong support network of multigenerational family and friends and close ties to her culture. Crystal and Jonathan have since divorced. After the divorce, Crystal consulted with the elders within her community in her decision to move off the reservation to a large Midwestern city to pursue better economic opportunities. She has been staying with a cousin while seeking employment. Her cousin’s subsidized two-bedroom apartment is cramped and includes her cousin’s three small children. Crystal regularly cares for the children in exchange for living there.

Intake Crystal sought job-assistance services through the agency where I am a social worker. At intake, it was clear that the client’s situation involved more than employment needs. Crystal demonstrated low energy and a depressed mood. She reported seeing recent media stories about human remains found on the site of a former Indian boarding school. The aim of such schools had been to repress the Native culture, language, and spirituality while teaching English language and traditions. This triggered memories of her grandparents discussing treatment at the schools they were forced to attend and how the teachers wanted to “beat the Indian out” of them. She recalled her grandmother speaking in a hushed tone about sexual abuse and how they “took her soul.” Crystal began to cry while describing this. As we continued to talk, Crystal reported feeling “lost” and unsure of who she was. I asked what she meant by that, and she stated that she was “moving between two worlds.” She then laughed it off by saying, “I’m too old to have an identity crisis and too young to have a midlife crisis.” She reported feeling disconnected from her social circle and culture, but to move back to the reservation would be “a defeat.” The discussion segued to employment and her living situation. Crystal stated that she couldn’t live with her cousin anymore due to differences in beliefs and that she didn’t know where to turn. Crystal also stated that she does not feel safe in the neighborhood, as she has been harassed and followed on the street by several men. In terms of finances, she reported that she and her husband had received monetary assistance through the tribe, but that she doubted she could receive that assistance now after having left the reservation. Crystal also reported that her efforts to gain employment have been unsuccessful. She discussed her high school diploma and skills in childcare and food service. She has been to several interviews at day cares and preschools but has not been offered a job. She thought perhaps this was due to her ethnicity or appearance, since the interviews seemed to go well. Crystal reported feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about her future, despite her efforts toward employment.

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