Discussion 1: classism | SOCW 6051 – Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice | Walden University


How often do you reflect upon the influence class has had on your life? Do you take your way of life for granted and assume others face the same opportunities or lack of opportunities that you face or are you keenly aware of the disparities that exist between the economic classes on a day-to-day basis? Your past personal experiences with classism likely vary from that of your colleagues as do your other cultural experiences. However, you now share in common the responsibility and identity of a social worker.

This week you meet the Hernandez family. As you observe the Hernandez family’s daily successes and challenges, reflect on how issues of privilege, power, and inequality converge into classism. As you get to know the Hernandez family this week, analyze your personal experiences with classism and identify the role of classism in working with social work clients.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

Analyze personal experiences with classism

Apply social work skills to address the impact of classism on clients

Analyze social work case studies related to classism from a multicultural social work perspective

Apply strategies for addressing classism in a case study

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Furman, R., Negi, N. J., Iwamoto, D. K., Rowan, D., Shukraft, A., & Gragg, J. (2009). Social work practice with Latinos: Key issues for social workers. Social Work, 54(2), 167-174. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861823/

Liu, W. M., Pickett Jr, T., & Ivey, A. E. (2007). White middle-class privilege: Social class bias and implications for training and practice. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 35(4), 194-206.

Copyright 2007 by John Wiley & Sons. Used with permission of John Wiley & Sons via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Sherman, J., & Harris, E. (2012). Social class and parenting: Classic debates and new understandings. Sociology Compass, 6(1), 60-71

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K., Hackman, H. W,… Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2018). Readings for diversity and social justice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Section 3 Intro Classism (pp. 164-172)

Chapter 26, Class in America (pp. 173-182)

Chapter 28, Race, Wealth, and Equality (pp. 185-191)

Chapter 29, What’s Debt got to do with it? (pp. 192-195)

Chapter 34, Deep thoughts about class privilege (pp. 204-208) 

Chapter 41, “Classism from our mouths” and “Tips from Working-class activists” (pp. 229-233)

Chapter 42, Deep thoughts about class privilege (pp. 223-237) 

Plummer, S. B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

“The Hernandez Family”

Some initial thoughts I’d like to share to get you started this week.  Classism is absolutely related to race, it also affects how society and institutions respond to the needs of people. Hence, we see the differentiation in treatment and service provision for certain neighborhoods.

SOCW 6051: Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice

Week 4 Discussion 1

Some initial thoughts I’d like to share to get you started this week.  Classism is absolutely related to race, it also affects how society and institutions respond to the needs of people. Hence, we see the differentiation in treatment and service provision for certain neighborhoods.

Discussion 1: Classism

Income and wages are measurable indicators of how prosperity is distributed amongst social class. Wealth, often determined by an individual’s net worth (assets minus liabilities), is another indicator that is used to determine class. Wealth for working class families is measured by their cars, savings, and home. As people improve their social and economic standing, wealth may include things like stocks and bonds, commercial real estate, and expensive jewelry.

Wealth is an important indicator because it spans past, present, and future generations. For example, compare the children of parents who can save money and leave an inheritance with children of parents who economically struggle and have few assets to pass on to the next generation. 

Historically, the creation and accumulation of wealth provides evidence of the legacy of racism, sexism, and discrimination and their role in determining class. Black/African Americans, women, and Hispanic/Latinos have historically been denied the means to obtain assets and grow wealth. Consider the impact of chronic marginalization on the Black/African American community’s ability to build wealth. While the income gaps between various ethnic groups may be decreasing, the gap between assets remains wide. 

Data from the Pew Research center show that the median wealth of Caucasian households is 20 times that of Black/African American households and 18 times that of Hispanic/Latinos households in the U.S. (Pew Research Center, 2011).

Class extends beyond wealth and other financial indicators. Class also includes details like the amount of free time you enjoy (because you are not working three jobs to make ends meet) or feeling like there is a “right” way to speak and act in order to be heard. For this Discussion, analyze how classism has impacted your life.

By Day 3

Post an analysis of how classism has factored into your life. Then, explain a strategy you might use as a social worker to address the impact of class and class differences on the lives of your clients.

Discussion 2: Power, Privilege, and Classism

Power, privilege, and classism are interconnected. The more privilege you enjoy, the more power you have to access opportunities that build wealth. The more wealth you can amass, the higher your social standing. It is important to note that having wealth is not an indictment. However, the privileges that have often led to inequalities in wealth distribution are real. As a social worker, you may find yourself working with clients who do not enjoy the privileges you knowingly or unknowingly enjoy. The more you understand your own relationship to power, privilege, and class, the better you will understand your clients’ realities. For this Discussion, review how classism is represented in the Hernandez family.

By Day 5


  • An      explanation of how classism is demonstrated in the Hernandez video.
  • Identify      specific barriers to social services that the Hernandez family experiences      because of their class status (e.g., working poor).
  • Explain how      the intersection of class (e.g., working poor), ethnicity (e.g.,      Hispanic), and migration history (e.g., move from Puerto Rico to mainland)      may further impact the Hernandez’s experience.
  • Identity 2-3      strengths in the Hernandez family.
  • Provide      recommendations for how social workers might address issues of classism      present in the Hernandez case.
  • Explain how      recommendations would address class issues.



Hernandez Family Episode 4

Program Transcript 

(Sound like a supervisor and the social worker and is how it shows in the video setting down in the office speak. Social worker speaking to supervisor)

FEMALE SPEAKER: So how’s your week going? What’s happening with that 

Hernandez family? That’s their name, right? You were having some challenges 


FEMALE SPEAKER: They’ve missed four of their parenting classes, so far.

FEMALE SPEAKER: So they haven’t completed the parenting group? 

FEMALE SPEAKER: I have to call the ACS worker and let her know. They’re 

probably going to have to take the classes over again, and that’s going to be 

tough. The father misses overtime to come to the classes, and they really rely on 

that money to make ends meet. 

FEMALE SPEAKER: You have something else on your mind. Say it. 

FEMALE SPEAKER: I should have discussed this with you earlier. I don’t know 

why I didn’t. But perhaps they weren’t the best candidates for this to begin with. 

FEMALE SPEAKER: Because of their financial situation? 

FEMALE SPEAKER: Yes, and something else. I remember the ACS worker. And 

when she talked about wanting Elena, she kept calling them Mexicans. It was 

really derogatory the way she said it. 

FEMALE SPEAKER: So you’re saying she might have been biased into 

mandating that they take these classes? 

FEMALE SPEAKER: Yes. The more I think about it, she never talked to me 

about trying to understand the way they’re raising their children. And that 

Mexican remark, it just really wasn’t respectful. It’s like she had already made up 

her mind about people from that culture, and now they’re paying the price for it.

her mind about people from that culture, and now they’re paying the price for it.  

please follow the rubric 


Responsiveness to Directions

8.1 (27%) – 9 (30%)

Discussion posting fully addresses all instruction prompts, including responding to the required number of peer posts.

Discussion Posting Content

8.1 (27%) – 9 (30%)

Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text(s) and Learning Resources. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.

Peer Feedback and Interaction

6.75 (22.5%) – 7.5 (25%)

The feedback postings and responses to questions are excellent and fully contribute to the quality of interaction by offering constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, additional resources, and stimulating thoughts and/or probes.


4.05 (13.5%) – 4.5 (15%)

Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing and proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and are fully consistent with graduate level writing style.

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