World Social Work Day: How can social workers help with integration

screenshot_102I was kindly asked to speak about my work on The New Rebels and this blog for world Social work day in Cork.

I will get 10 minutes to speak. Here is the theme: Societies Thrive when the dignity and rights of all peoples are respected.

So now aI am wondering how to approach it and I am going to try one idea out:

What I have noticed over the past couple of years where I have met many migrants from various different backgrounds, is that for people who come from countries that have been colonised and ruled by bullies in the past, it seems very difficult to act with confidence.

For example, why are so many black Africans not working? Why was one Nigerian woman cross because the black South African maths teacher who gave extra classes to her Somalian neighbour’s kids , and charged 15 €/hour ( half his normal rate), while she said he should do it for 5€ or nothing at all, because he’s black ( and therefore not as good a teacher?)

Why is a Nigerian journalist with an extra degree in marketing driving a taxi?

Why does an Irish politician think it’s normal to walk into a Nigerian family’s home, put his feet on the table and get served tea in his own special tea cup by one of the daughters of the family, just like a true Lord,  while talking complete nonsense about why Ireland needs some genes from outside the island and therefore needs Africans to come and mingle with them, and being surprised that the one other black guy there does not want his ‘aid’ and can manage quite well on his own?

There is one explanation for this, it is my own theory and I would like to hear what you think.

I have seen my daughter’s reaction to the bullies in her school. I have seen the total lack of confidence following the ongoing pestering by her peers and also by some teachers. She has changed schools and the bullying is over but it will take a long time to build her confidence up again.

I think we can draw a parrallel to the people who have been told for generations that they are not good enough, that the white man is better, that they are inferior, etc, etc….

These people come here with that unconcious feeling of inferiority, and that is where social workers have work to do. empower the people, make them see their worth, help them thrive, make them see that the the Pythagorean theorem is the same in Lagos and Dublin, that the creativity we see in many African cultures is far superior to our own, and that we all benefit from working together.

And most of all educate us white people, go to schools and teach about our cruel past, teach the priciples of equality, that brown skin is just skin with a lot of melanin, and that getting to know new cultures is empowering for everyone.

What do you think?



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