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Equality, Diversity And Rights

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Equality is “the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability”. Equality is important because failure to tackle discrimination and to provide equal opportunities hurts individuals and families, negatively impacts our society, and costs the economy. Diversity is important because our country, workplaces, and schools consist of various cultural, racial and ethnic groups. If we have a level of understanding about each other we can learn from one another. “The diversity of something is the fact that it contains many very different elements”. Rights are important so people can have their basic needs met, such as food, housing and education. This enables them to take full advantage of all opportunities. Rights are also important in the relationships that exist between individuals and the government that has power over them, however rights ensure that this power is limited. Equality is where everyone is valued as individuals and everyone has equal rights and opportunities and has their individual needs met. Equal opportunity means that people will not be discriminated against and will have equal access to improving life chances, getting qualifications and getting a job. Equality also includes treating people fairly and meeting individual needs. For example, in Peacehaven House the patient practising Hindu and the patient who is HIV positive should be treated with the same attitude and care. However, they will need different needs met whilst being cared for.

For the patient practising Hindu, examples of this are: a prayer room being available, different choices of food and being involved in their treatment plan. A prayer room is extremely important because in Hinduism it is believed that God can be communicated with in the prayer room. Different choices of food are crucial because many Hindus won’t eat food such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Beef is prohibited as the cow is considered sacred. For people practising Hindu, being involved in their treatment plan is very important for a number of different factors. Hindus believe strongly in Karma and believe pain and suffering are consequences. “Karma is a Sanskrit word whose literal meaning is ‘action’. It refers to the law that every action has an equal reaction either immediately or at some point in the future”. This can make them hesitant to receive health care. They may also choose to fast whilst in hospital though they are not obliged to and many may be reluctant to be examined by healthcare providers of the opposite sex. Martin Luther King was an American campaigner for equality and an end to racial discrimination. He was born in January 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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In December 1955, in Montgomery Alabama, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for failing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Martin Luther King was appointed president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which led to the boycott of the Montgomery bus services. The bus boycott lasted 381 days at the end of which the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation was illegal. Martin Luther King was a very powerful orator and his most famous speech was ‘I Have A Dream’. There is a documentary called ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that follows a man called Adam on his journey to help a woman named Louisa overcome her makeup and beauty addiction. Adam has a facial disfigurement that he’s had since he was 5 years old. Due to his facial disfigurement Adam has received a lot of discrimination. He was even attacked on a night out by a drunken man who tried to pull his face off believing it was a mask. People are discriminated against for reasons such as disability, social class, family structure and gender. In Adam’s case he is discriminated against because of his appearance. Martin Luther King was discriminated against for his race. In Peacehaven House, the patient practising Hindu is being discriminated against because of their religion and the patient who is HIV positive is being discriminated against because of their health status. Discrimination can occur because of a lack of understanding or education, someone’s beliefs or even because of how someone has been raised. Diversity is recognising and accepting that people are different. The two patients in Peacehaven House are different and will need to receive different care as a result, however the quality of care should remain the same. They are different because one patient practises Hindu and one patient is HIV positive. They may be different in other ways such as the way they look, the way they dress, the way they behave, their type of family, sex and age. Diversity can be celebrated with cultural festivals. Rights are legal entitlements.

The Human Rights Act (1998/2000) sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. The Human Rights Act consists of rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech and education. The right to life means you are entitled to live and should not be killed by another human being. This right can only be breached when force used by a public authority such as the police results in death. This could happen when the police are stopping violence, making an arrest, stopping someone from escaping lawful detainment and stopping a riot or uprising. An example of where the right to life was used is when a social worker from the domestic violence team managed to use the right to life to get a woman and her family new accommodation because they were at risk of serious harm from a violent ex-partner. The Human Rights Act also bans slavery, torture and discrimination. Article 4 of The Human Rights Act prohibits slavery and forced labour.

For example, this act is there to protect people being used as slaves and kept as prisoners, being made to work for free, and are unable to leave. If the police are given a lead on this happening, arrests can be made and the individual would be returned home. Other rights include the prohibition of forced labour, the prohibition of abuse of rights, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to marry and the right to free elections. Also introduced was no punishment without law, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, restrictions on political activity of aliens, limitation on use of restrictions on rights, protection of property and abolition of the death penalty. The residents in Peacehaven House are entitled to all of these rights. These rights are promoted with resources such as suggestion boxes and open-door policies to encourage the freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of speech. There are also posters to make sure the patients know their rights. Discrimination means treating a person unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics. Regarding official definition, discrimination is “treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex, sexuality, etc”. (https: //www. google. co. uk). The different forms of discrimination are covert and overt. Covert discrimination is hidden. It means treating someone differently from someone else and not giving the same level of treatment. In a hospital or care home such as Peacehaven House this could jeopardise someone’s health and well-being. Overt discrimination is open and the person being discriminated against usually knows they are being discriminated against. This can have a negative impact on health and mental health. The different bases of discrimination are age, disability, culture, social class, gender, sexuality, health status, family status and cognitive ability. People can be discriminated against for their age in situations such as receiving health care. Some older adults have been denied treatment because they won’t live as long as younger people.

An example of this is that research by RCS, Age UK and MHP Health Mandate found that surgery rates decline sharply in older people, especially after 70. This includes a number of treatments such as breast cancer, joint replacements, prostate cancer and hernias. People who have disabilities such as mobility impairments can be discriminated against at places like National Trust buildings. This is because there is no law for ramps to be built in or around the buildings because of their history. In Peacehaven House, the patient practising Hindu is being discriminated against because of their culture. This could be because of a lack of understanding and education. Cultural differences and one’s own beliefs can also be reasons why there is discrimination against different cultures and religions. Social class is a base of discrimination because people with less money are usually seen as less than someone with more money. However, people can discriminate against people with a higher social class. An example of this is music presenter Cerys Matthews giving privately-educated pop stars less airtime than aspiring musicians from less privileged backgrounds.

A lot of discrimination around gender is in the gender pay gap. This means that women are often paid less than men for the same job role. People can be discriminated against for their sexuality. An example of discrimination against sexuality is gay marriage. In many countries gay marriage is still illegal and even in the UK it is still illegal for a gay couple to be married in a church. This could be because of a lack of understanding and education and cultural differences and different beliefs. In Peacehaven House, the patient who is HIV positive is being discriminated against because of health status and maybe even sexuality. People can discriminate against someone’s health status especially if they have a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV because people can believe they can transmit the disease through skin contact, although this is false. The discrimination the HIV positive patient is receiving could be discrimination against sexuality because HIV is usually associated with homosexual intercourse although HIV can be transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. To some people, the ideal family structure is a father, mother, son and daughter. However, many families do not follow this structure and there may be a lone parent, two mothers, two fathers, or just one child rather than two or three. People can discriminate against families who do not follow their ideal of family structure because of a lack of understanding and education and the way that they have been raised. They might discriminate because they compare other people’s family structures to their own although there is a lot of diversity.

For example, lone fathers can receive a lot of discrimination by other mothers in places like the school playground. Lastly, cognitive abilities are the mechanisms of how you learn, remember and pay attention. People with dyslexia have difficulty in learning to read or interpret words and letters. Due to this, people with dyslexia can be perceived as ‘stupid’ despite this disability having no effect on general intelligence. There are many types of discrimination. One of them is infringement of rights. This means not respecting an individual’s rights and not letting them practise their culture. The person in Peacehaven House practising Hindu is experiencing infringement of rights because they are being discriminated against for their religion. The other types of discrimination are covert abuse of power, overt abuse of power, prejudice, stereotyping, labelling, bullying and abuse. Covert abuse is the hidden use of power to discriminate. This means treating someone differently from someone else. The resident who is HIV positive in Peacehaven House is experiencing covert abuse because they are not getting the same level of treatment as other residents. Overt abuse of power is the opposite to covert abuse of power; it is openly using power to discriminate. The person who’s experiencing overt abuse are aware they are being discriminated against and this can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health.

An example of overt abuse is speaking in a different language with other people in front of a person who doesn’t speak that language. This can lead to employees feeling excluded or bullied as a result. Prejudice means “pre-conceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience”. (https: //en. oxforddictionaries. com). An example of prejudice is believing that all people who would describe themselves as black people are criminals without ever meeting the person. Television soaps were well known for casting people who describe themselves as black as criminals, however now there is a good combination of all different races portraying different kinds of characters. Stereotyping means assumptions made about an individual. For example, believing men can’t show emotion and believing that women are weaker than men. Labelling means giving people labels that are usually negative. An example of labelling is referring to the HIV positive resident in Peacehaven House as a prostitute. Labels are not usually true and are just perceptions; it is unlikely the resident with HIV is a prostitute. Bullying is using power to intimidate another person. There are different forms of bullying such as physical, written, verbal and cyber. An example of bullying is saying hurtful comments to someone online usually anonymously. Abuse means treating people with cruelty or violence, usually regularly or repeatedly. An example of abuse is domestic abuse.

In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women. An example of domestic abuse is sexual violence. The effects of discriminatory practices in health and social care are marginalisation, disempowerment, low self-esteem and self-identity, restricted opportunities, negative behaviours such as aggression and criminality and loss of rights, also known as overriding individual rights. Marginalisation is when people are excluded and feel like they are not part of society or a specific group. The resident practising Hindu in Peacehaven House could feel marginalised because they are the only one practising this religion. Disempowerment is when choice and control is taken away from someone over their life. The definition of disempowerment is “to deprive of power, authority, or influence: make weak, ineffectual, or unimportant”. (https: //www. merriam-webster. com). For example, the resident who practices Hindu could feel disempowered if they were told they were not allowed to practise their religion in Peacehaven. This could result in this resident becoming less powerful and confident. This could make them become depressed and feel devalued which can lead to further health issues. Low self-esteem and self-identity can occur because of discrimination. When an individual has low self-esteem and self-identity they can often become depressed and feel worthless. Vulnerable people may have low self-esteem and self-identity already so they will be more affected by the discrimination. The resident who is HIV positive in Peacehaven may have low self-esteem and self-identity because of the negative perceptions people have on HIV. When a person experiences discrimination they can have restricted opportunities. Many people who have been discriminated against refuse to use health and social care provision because of the negative experiences they have encountered. This can cause somebody poorer health because they are not accessing the health care they need.

For example, if the HIV positive patient refused treatment because of discrimination their health could deteriorate and their disease could become fatal. Negative behaviours such as aggression and criminality can be an effect of discrimination. People who live in poverty can experience a lot of discrimination and this can affect their behaviour. People with anger management issues or substance misuse issues can also display negative behaviour. People may take their frustrations out on health and social care professionals in verbal or physical attacks. This could occur in Peacehaven House if the discrimination against the resident practising Hindu and the resident with HIV continues. Loss of rights, or overriding individual rights refers to when statutory powers are used to remove a person’s rights by force or power. People with psychiatric problems can be detained in a hospital and forced to accept treatment. Living in Peacehaven, there is an 85-year-old man called Fred who has a disability. He had a stroke and now he can’t use his left side, so he uses a wheelchair. Another resident in Peacehaven called Margaret has been bullying him. She has been making verbal jokes about his disability and now he feels like he can’t join in with the activities that he wants to. He used to enjoy playing cards but now he feels excluded from the group.

The effect of the bullying from Margaret is marginalisation. My own opinion is that this must be very hard for Fred. The discrimination he is experiencing must be even harder to deal with because of his disability. I think this because it is a new disability to Fred since it is a result of the stroke he had. He is still learning how to adapt so for him to be discriminated against also will cause more stress and low mood. There is a woman with HIV called Shirley who is being labelled by the other residents. She is 70 years old and she is being labelled as a prostitute because of her sexually transmitted disease. This has caused low self-esteem and now Shirley has been self-harming and is even contemplating suicide. In my opinion, this labelling is very harmful and can cause devastating effects such as self-harm and thoughts of suicide. HIV is a very hard disease to live with and Shirley is an older adult and should not be experiencing discrimination, especially at her age. I think it is very unfair for the other residents of Peacehaven to label Shirley this way and I think that it is bullying. Dan is a 35-year-old male with dementia who is also living in Peacehaven. He is transgender and he is being stereotyped because of his sexuality. Homophobic words are being used by other residents to make him feel isolated and he is no longer enjoying activities.

In my opinion, I think it is very immature for the other residents to be making these comments because of Dan’s sexuality. I think that Dan is already suffering enough because of the disease he has got, especially since dementia is usually associated with older adults. In my opinion, the fact that staff are allowing this discrimination to happen is poor practice. The staff are failing to provide a good standard of care and support and are ignoring the resident’s rights. Poor practice can cause harm and can become abuse. I think emotional harm has been caused in all three of these cases and Shirley’s case has even progressed to physical harm.

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