Rooted in the tradition of anti-oppressive social work practice, this blog focuses on the support of disabled people*** as opposed to social workers “servicing” or “doing for” disabled people. Anti-oppressive practice has started to take root in social work as an effort to raise consciousness of social justice issues in the profession, rebalance power, and improve outcomes for those it serves. With that theoretical framework as a guide, this blog gives disabled social workers a community reflection space and nondisabled allies a learning space.
We use the term ‘crip’ because disabled people have reclaimed it as a positive term of disability pride and empowerment. The hashtag #CrippingSocialWork was coined by Lynne Fetter. “Crip” is firmly rooted in disability justice culture, which was pioneered by women of color–such as Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, Mia Mingus, and the late Stacey Park Milbern. Patty Berne (2020) explained that the disability justice movement seeks to center the voices of those most marginalized, including Black or Indigenous people of color and others who have historically been overlooked by the Disability Rights movement. Social work has a great deal to learn from disability justice culture. #CrippingSocialWork in particular was inspired by #CripTheVote, a hashtag created by Alice Wong and Andrew Pulrang (#CripTheVote, 2018).
This website aims to:
- Hold space for disabled social workers to discuss their experiences in the field.
- Talk about approaches to social work practice with disabled people that stay true to the following disability practice principles as they relate to anti-oppressive practice:
- Respecting self-determination
- Honoring “nothing about us without us”
- Sitting with the “dignity of risk”
- Fostering “circles of support”
- Promoting community inclusion
- Create a space for non-disabled social workers to reflect on their practice with disabled people in an effort to promote anti-oppressive practice.
Some of the content from this blog is derived from material prepared by MSW students for Dr. Elspeth Slayter’s course “Disability Social Work” at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. Some of this blog is syndicated by www.socialworkhelper.com.
This blog is managed by:
Dr. Elspeth Slayter, a disabled Professor of Social Work at Salem State University and a disability services researcher with expertise related to addictions, child welfare and criminal justice. Dr. Slayter can be reached at email@example.com. For more information on Dr. Slayter, please visit her personal blog.
***Language use around disability can be a contentious issue. Different parts of the disability community disagree about which language to use. Some disabled people prefer person-first language. Others prefer identity-first language. Person-first language is “people with disabilities.” Identity-first language is “disabled people.” We choose to use identity-first language. Both language choices are valid. Social workers should respect the language clients or students use to refer to themselves and their disabilities.
#CripTheVote. (2018, March 27). Frequently asked questions. #CripTheVote. https://cripthevote.blogspot.com/2018/03/frequently-asked-questions.html
Berne, P. (2020, June 16). What is disability justice? Sins Invalid. https://www.sinsinvalid.org/news-1/2020/6/16/what-is-disability-justice
This website’s icon was created by The Accessible Icon Project – which “is operated by people with disabilities and their allies and is a partnership run in Boston at Triangle, Inc., a non-profit education and employment center for adults with disabilities. The icon has always been free for use in the public domain.”