11 Apr 2022


National Association of Black Social Workers Code of Ethics

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Coursework

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Perhaps the most moving of banners in the ongoing Black Lives Matter campaigns is the one that read “I never expected to be demonstrating about this in 2016". This is the very first impression that one gets when you hear about a professional organization gathering solely for the welfare of the Black community in America (Houston, 2010). But when you look around and see what is going on, when you listen to the level of racial vitriol ensuing in the current presidential election campaigns, and when you see the videos on social media about a responsible working black man getting shot at four times by a law enforcement officer while inside a car that also has a four year old girl, it suddenly dawns on you that a National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) is not just necessary but also vital even in 2016. It also needs a good code of conduct (Houston, 2010).

Overview of the Code of Conduct

The NABSW begins by qualifying itself and explaining the necessity of its existence by providing a concise overview of the situation encountered by the Blacks in the US who are currently called African-Americana for political expediency yet not really treated like a real American (Meltzoff & McGee, 2005). The preamble also indicates that the members of this body, being black Americans are qualified for their obligations beyond mere professional qualifications due to the fact that they have been born and raised black thus they understand the specific challenges of the black people (Houston, 2010; NABSW, 2016). 

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In the code of ethics, the members commit to work towards the welfare of the black community in general and specifically black individuals and their families, selflessly consider the interests of the black people above their own, and consider and adopt all the members of the black community as the members of one extended family to which the member also belongs (NABSW, 2016). They also commit to offer both high quality and quantity of work and effort to the specific employing entity while fully acknowledging that the work is principally towards the black community not just the employing entity (NABSW, 2016). In case the employing entity, donor organization or kindred organizations or individuals act hypocritically or do not have the interest of the black people at heart, the members are to fearlessly call this out and protect the community (NABSW, 2016). Lastly, they commit to work over and above the scope of pay and terms of engagement in the interest of the people by supplementing professional work with voluntary duties, use all skill and capacity to both better the situation of the black community and increase the volume of individuals and organization working towards the same goals (NABSW, 2016).

Elucidation and Conclusion

It is clear from the particulars of this code of ethics that there is a fundamental need for a professional organization that specifically caters for the black communities. Statistically, the working poor and underclass as well as the incarcerated communities show a black people majority, a fact that further supports this contention. The code of conduct is personal, passionate, compassionate, and well-articulated. It also reflects a professional organization that is very keen to cater for the specific and general needs of the black populace in the United States (Meltzoff & McGee, 2005; Houston, 2010). 

The code of ethics also appreciates the fact that not all who claim to be working towards the interests of marginalized communities have their interests at heart, hence the commitment by its members to call this hypocrisy out and fight against It as it is such individuals and organizations that give marginalized community support programs a bad name (Meltzoff & McGee, 2005). Finally, the last commitment on the code of ethics shows a vision by this body for a future where it will no longer be necessary, as the black community will be able to stand on its own and be considered alongside other US communities. The code however, acknowledges the collective obligation to make this happen thus committing the members towards achieving the same. Majority may not understand this organization but its commitment seems valid and absolute.


Houston, S. (2010). Prising open the black box: Critical realism, action research and social work. Qualitative Social Work, 9 (1), 73–91. doi:10.1177/1473325009355622 

Meltzoff, J. & McGee T. (2005). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 11 (3), 395–422. doi:10.1300/j146v11n03_06 

NABSW. (2016). Code of ethics - national association of black social workers (NABSW). Retrieved from <http://nabsw.org/?page=CodeofEthics/> 

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