I have been a PhD Student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work since 2020, and my research interests are Anti-oppressive practice; Mixed-racial identity formation; Immigrant/refugee and their children’s settlement and integration; Critical international social work education; Critical multiculturalism; Critical multicultural counselling; Multicultural and multilingual couples counselling; Intergenerational relationships, traumas, and resilience; Community-based participatory research.
The number of “mixed race persons” – from families with mixed racial, ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds – is increasing worldwide. While they are often fantasized to serve as cultural bridges, the issue of ‘monoracism’ (lack of understanding and discrimination against mixed persons by those with only one racial, cultural or national identity) has been recognized in health, education, social work research and more.
Certainly not all but some mixed race persons experience low self-esteem, low or no sense of belonging to cultural communities and frequent misunderstanding and questioning from many around them. These factors contribute to negatively influence mental health.
My research focuses on the unique circumstances and needs of people with bi/multi/mixed racial identities and examines the knowledge and perspectives social work professionals must gain to work with this population adequately.
You can learn more from The Nippon Foundation Global Nikkei Young Adult Research Project
Anti-oppressive Social Work
Anti-oppressive Practice (AOP)understands that identity formation and experience are “personal” yet “political” phenomena. Each individual’s life experience cannot be independent from social (political) influences.
The answer to the very question “Who I am?” is constructed with various identities (gender/sexuality, (dis)ability, race/ethnicity/nationality, religion, income, household situation, etc.). These identities are ranked in the social hierarchy with more desirable ones (closer to the mainstream of society) at the top.
I study AOP as one of the principles of a critical social work approach rooted in social justice, to capture and intervene in various difficulties in individuals, families and communities as consequences of social inequalities.
Intersectionality is a concept that recognizes people as a complex set of identities rather than fitting them into a single identity category.
Intersectionality is not merely a tool for understanding others but also for analyzing how intersectional identities and interlocking oppressions create power and hierarchical relationships in society.
Intersectionality equips us with lens and languages to liberate us from fixed and internalized orders in the social categorization and hierarchy.
Critical multicultural counselling
Critical multicultural counselling is a therapeutic approach that aims to understand the diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender and sexuality and to support clients to gain a deeper understanding of some of their life challenges regarding their intersecting identities and interlocking oppressions.
It is also a guideline for professionals to minimize (if not eliminate) the influence of their identity, positionality, and privilege in therapeutic client relationships.
I study Critical multicultural counselling to enable a holistic understanding and support for clients with diverse identities and backgrounds.