Positionality in social work: Letter to the Editor: Confronting Whiteness

World health organization breastfeeding recommendation

Throughout my experiences with other white people, it has become apparent that we struggle to engage with our complex positionalities. We are made up of sociopolitical components which do not cancel each other out, but rather shift how we are situated in relation to institutions, systems, and one another. For example, I am categorized as a white man who has a lower socioeconomic status. The oppression I experience because of my socioeconomic status does not neutralize my access to whiteness and patriarchy. However, it does position me differently than if I were to have greater socioeconomic access as well. Similarly, being Jewish does not eliminate access to structural whiteness, but it does shift one’s positionality . White people who deny our relationship to structural whiteness—the relationship through which we are most publicly seen—cannot perceive this shift.

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