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Working with diversity in services for children and young people
Working with diversity in services for children and young people

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1 Working effectively with African-Caribbean young women

For this activity, you will read ‘Working effectively with African-Caribbean young women: an intersectional approach’, a book chapter by Jenny Douglas who is a Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion at The Open University.

In this chapter Douglas argues that, in order to work effectively with young African-Caribbean women, practitioners ‘must have some understanding of the lives and contexts of young black women’. She maintains that practitioners working with young black women need to understand the complexity of their lives and to resist the dangers of ‘homogenising and essentialising’ them: in other words, seeing them as all the same and reducing them to their ethnic identity. Douglas also argues that an ‘intersectional’ approach is needed to understand young black people’s lives and to work effectively with them.

Activity 1

Read the chapter now and, as you do so, make notes in response to the questions that follow.

Reading 1: Working effectively with African-Caribbean young women: an intersectional approach [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

1. What were some of the key facts that you learned from the chapter about African-Caribbean families in the UK? What have been some of the main popular misunderstandings about them?

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2. What does the author suggest has been distinctive about parenting practices within African-Caribbean families?

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3. What does the author mean by an ‘intersectional approach’, and how can it help to understand the social identities of young black women?

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4. How might a better understanding of young black women’s lives help to improve practice?

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