Teaching While Black: A Call to Decolonize the Social Work Curriculum


  • Christiana Best-Giacomini University of Saint Joseph


anti-Black racism, color blindness, white culture, social justice, racial reckoning, Grenada


As a Black, female, middle-aged, naturalized citizen who transitioned to higher education mid-career, my role as faculty is sometimes challenged. Moreover, I’m often the only faculty member at the table with so many intersecting social identities rooted in systems of oppression. My journey to this point has taught me that having a seat at the table doesn’t always mean having a voice. During the 2020 racial reckoning that ignited a global movement for racial justice, I found my voice again. This essay chronicles that journey, which rekindled a culture of resistance established in my Grenadian childhood. In my Black-majority country, I was surrounded by oral histories of my West African and Indigenous ancestors, instilling self-love and fortitude used today in the face of microaggressions in the US. Using an autobiographical approach, I’m calling for the decolonization of the social work curriculum and the inclusion of Critical Race Theory.

Author Biography

Christiana Best-Giacomini, University of Saint Joseph

Christiana Best-Giacomini, PhD, LMSW is Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, CT (cbest@usj.edu).




How to Cite

Best-Giacomini, C. (2024). Teaching While Black: A Call to Decolonize the Social Work Curriculum. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 30(1), 12–29. Retrieved from https://reflectionsnarrativesofprofessionalhelping.org/index.php/Reflections/article/view/1963