Critical Race Theory Conflict Theory and NASW Ethical Principle

Critical Race Theory, Conflict Theory, and NASW Ethical Principle

Essay 1: Critical Race Theory and Conflict Theory

Being a white is considered a privilege in the American society, as people of color believe that white people oppress them to attain such privilege. Numerous theorists on racism purported that racism has become a dominant culture in America, despite being blamed for inequality and oppression among various communities. However, the Critical Race Theory (CRT) questions why some people see others as second-rate. Martin Luther King Jr. noted while serving a jail term in Birmingham, Alabama, that freedom is never granted by the oppressor willingly, but rather the oppressed must claim for it (Callero, 2013). In this regard, the conflict theory asserts that inequality exists where individuals who possess more resources in society are unwilling to give up their possessions to the less fortunate. Thus, individual’s freedom cannot be guaranteed unless people cease to maintain certain privileges and focus on equal sharing of resources.

Critical race theory has been utilized in understanding race and how racism has managed to daunt the effort of the disadvantaged in society. Due to ordinariness of racism, it has become difficult to eliminate the vice. The CRT involves transformation of relationships that incorporate race, racism, and power. According to Delgado and Stefancic (2012), CRT tends to question the liberal order, equality theory, as well as the neutral principles in the constitutional law. Apparently, most communities in America believe that white people are more privileged than the blacks, a condition that creates inequality in the American society. Racism has bred inequality, which inhibits freedom of the minorities; hence, critical race theorists have to understand how the dominant society operates in order to come up with tactics for transformation.

Since CRT offers the black minority a reason to believe that racism is part of the American society, the black community has to fight against “white privilege” to gain their rights. The white majority have continued to enjoy more freedom in all sectors, including education, than the black community, leading to oppression and prejudice. Education institutions should strive to offer multicultural education that enables educators to challenge racist practices in white predominant schools (Chapman, 2013). The white believe that they should have more privileges than their fellow blacks, and they are not willing to give up their domination unless a revolution occurs within the society. Pleading for freedom by the minority should be perceived as rebellion, as the majority can also be rebellious while fighting to maintain their status quo.

Conflict theory purports that racial conflict emerges from class inequality; thus, society needs to constitute ways to enhance civil rights within different classes of people. Sears and Caims (2015) claimed that conflict theory attempted to confront the social order as it looks for ways to attain greater democracy and freedom. The theory reflects disagreement between the dominant race and the disadvantaged one concerning the running of society. Conflict theorists usually confront the status quo by pushing for social change with an aim of maximizing human freedom. Social change involves permitting individuals to exercise their rights and freedom without prejudice. Even though disadvantaged do not have the power to rule because they lack resources to support their power, they need to exercise civil rights, which enhance their freedom.

CRT and conflict theory have demonstrated that the struggle for freedom has to continue, unless individuals give up some of their privileges that hinder other individual from exercising their rights. The civil rights movement could not have happened if there was no racism. CRT not only endeavors to appreciate individuals’ social situation, but also strive to transform it. Critical race theorists aspire to cultivate freedom through understanding racial hierarchies and change them into something useful to society. They prefer to apply aggressive approaches to social transformation because conventional approaches tend to favor one side. Equally, conflict theory pushes for advancement of democracy and freedom by transforming the existing human relations in society.

Essay 2: NASW Ethical Principle

Social work has continued to remain a vital profession in the maintenance of ethics in society due to its capacity to instill social change. In addition, promotion of social justice has become part of the profession among social workers, particularly in handling gender inequality. Social workers represent individuals, families, as well as organizations and communities. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has the mandate of supporting the professional interests of social worker by directing their behaviors as well as addressing issues that affect the society through the Code of Ethics. The NASW Code of Ethics has been instrumental in fighting gender inequality through recognizing diversity of needs among different genders.

The NASW principle offers concepts, as well as language at which individuals can offer opinions on global gender equality. This is because the NASW Code of Ethics incorporates values, principles, and standards that direct social workers’ behaviors, without regarding their professional functions (DiFranks, 2008). Human values and principles are built on ethics; hence, they dictate human relationships in society. Social workers confront social injustices through tackling gender-based issues, unemployment, poverty, racial discrimination, and oppression (Reamer, 2013). Working in solidarity with their clients and distributing resources equitably can help in eradicating some of the needs in the society. By addressing global gender inequality, social workers promote sensitivity and encourage people to avoid activities that bred oppression and cultural conflicts.

Social workers utilize the NASW principle to access to information that can enable them transform the “status quo” into social improvement. Ethical decision-making involves a process where social workers take into account all the values, principles, and standards that are applicable to all situations that necessitate ethical judgment. When social workers are exposed to information, they can manage to distinguish what is ethical and eliminate cultural practices that inhibit promotion of justice. For instance, athletes usually experience some forms of vulnerabilities that are sometimes not addressed, as people perceive them as vibrant and free from social problems (Dean & Rowan, 2014). If an athlete is under rehabilitation due to an injury, the process might stir up emotions, which may not be addressed by physical trainers. Hence, a social worker can address such problem as long as there is information about the athlete’s condition.

The NASW is involved in ensuring equal distribution of resources in distributive justice. Interactions with different types of people who have different needs enable social workers to advice policy makers on how to formulate policies that would ensure minimize unfair privileges among certain classes or gender. Social workers ensure that environmental justice is maintained through environmental policies. According to Parris et al (2014), environmental justice ensures that ecological burdens are distributed equally across communities to avoid harming a particular community more than the other.

The NASW Code serves as a collective agency in ensuring gender equality by prioritizing women’s voices as they address human rights. Social workers can tackle social issues amicably through linking clients with service providers as they enhance communication between different stakeholders (Dean & Rowan, 2014). A code of ethics does not guarantee that all actions correspond to ethical behavior, but set standards that social workers can rate their commitment to as they uphold their professional values. Without the NASW ethical principles, social workers cannot deal with education, maternal health, and women’s governance, exhaustively.


Callero, P. L. (2013). Myth of individualism: How social forces shape our lives. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Chapman, T. K. (2013). You can’t erase race! Using CRT to explain the presence of race and racism in majority white suburban schools. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(4), 611-627. doi:10.1080/01596306.2013.822619

Dean, C., & Rowan, D. (2014). The Social Worker’s Role in Serving Vulnerable Athletes. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28(2), 219-227. doi:10.1080/02650533.2013.817987

Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press.

DiFranks, N. N. (2008). Social Workers and the NASW Code of Ethics: Belief, Behavior, Disjuncture. Social Work, 53(2), 167-176.

Parris, C., Hegtvedt, K., Watson, L., & Johnson, C. (2014). Justice for All? Factors Affecting Perceptions of Environmental and Ecological Injustice. Social Justice Research, 27(1), 67-98. doi:10.1007/s11211-013-0200-4

Reamer, F. G. (2013). Social work values and ethics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Sears, A., & Cairns, J. I. (2015). A good book, in theory: Making sense through inquiry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.