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Multiculturalism and Discrimination in Health care

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In relation to health and social care we now live in a modern society, where the term multicultural is more appropriate. Multicultural means many different people of various origins, races, cultures and religions are living together in one society. This is known as multiculturalism. For example:

Races -Race is classification of humans into large and distinct populations or groups but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance.

Religion -Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity too spiritually and sometimes, to moral values.

Britain is a very multicultural society, with many people from different backgrounds who live and work all over the world. The largest immigrant groups live in and around London with many other groups who reside in other parts of Britain.

Time Main groups of immigrants

1800’s Jewish arrivals from Russia/ Poland: people from rural Ireland

1948-50’s Caribbean people (invited to help rebuild post war Britain)

1950-60’s Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

1970’s East African, Asians and Vietnamese

1980’s Eastern European refugees from former Yugoslavia and other war torn states

Source: www.britishcouncil.org/language assistant/

The British population is made up of the following ethnic groups:

• White 53,074,000 (includes Irish, Polish, Italian etc)

• Black Caribbean 490,000

• Black African 376,000

• Black other 308,000

• Indian 930,000

• Pakistani 663,000

• Bangladeshi 268,000

• Chinese 137,000

• Other Asian 209,000 (includes Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai)

• Other 424,000 (people who do not think they fitted the above categories)

One of the oldest and most well known set of principles for regulating society is the “law of Moses” which is known as the “ten commandments” in the old testament of the bible, which is followed by many people who have different religious beliefs and cultures. All legislation or statutory law is law which has been made by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it and is regarded as one of the three main functions of the government which are often distinguished under the doctrine of the separation of powers.

The benefits of living in London are:-

• The Arts – which provide a way of bringing diversity to a wide audience for example: films and books made in other countries, which show different cultures and beliefs. Museums as they hold historic evidence, stories and artefacts from many different countries and cultures as this can educate people about other beliefs, cultures, countries and religions.

• Food – Which provide diversity, as there are many different multicultural foods available in the market for people to try and buy. There are religious beliefs to take in to account as not everyone can or will eat the same thing for example: because of religious beliefs a person will only eat Halal meat which is required either by their religion, belief or culture.

• Language – There are a diverse many languages spoken in today’s society. It can be beneficial to learn another language when working in the health and social care sector as society is very diverse. There are a total of 139 different languages spoken in London today.

• Education – Which has expanded over the years to cater for a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, and the education system has benefited from this as it has given people from other backgrounds the opportunity to make positive changes in relation to diversity.

The benefits of diversity range from food, carnival, fashion, culture, religion, philosophies, music, medicine (e.g. aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga) and economic opportunities. Fashion which is often borrowed from other cultures and popular music (e.g. rap which comes from America and Soca which comes from the Caribbean) has benefited from diverse cultural influences.

Food is quite a personal area of our lives, as some people eat or drink what is required by religion or cultural beliefs. What we eat or drink is also strongly influenced by our culture and learning. Other benefits from forms of complementary medicine such as massage yoga and aromatherapy, which has roots in other cultures. Tolerance is important amongst our society, as we come across different people who have different views and opinions from ourselves.

Culture means the values and beliefs that different social groups have. We try to make ourselves individual, but we are also influenced by the groups we belong to e.g. social cohesion, where a community sticks together for religious or ethnicity reasons. The economic opportunities in Britain are seen everywhere, from food, clothes and shops which makes Britain a very diverse country.

P2) Describe discriminatory practice in health and social care

Bases of discrimination

We already know the main bases of discrimination are:

• Culture/Religion * Health status

• Disabled * Family status

• Elderly age * Cognitive ability

• Social class * Mental health

• Sexuality * Sexual preference

• Culture/Religion

A persons culture and what religion they follow or don’t follow, is important to them as it identifies who they are in the world. It is developed within the social group they are brought up in, and when mature enough it is their decision to become part of whatever culture or religion suits them best. Respecting a person’s culture/religion is important in health and social cars as it creates a sense of understanding and support for the persons. (Race relations act 2000)

• Family status

Family status can lead to a variety of discrimination which includes:


Single parents

Parents of different races (mixed race or other)

Parents whom use substances

• Disability

We see people every day who suffer from different types of disabilities. In health and social care we will work and support people with various disabilities from different backgrounds. The disability discrimination act (DDA) 1995 which protects the rights of people with disabilities. It places a duty on organisations to explore how they can overcome barriers and increase access to their services and people with a disability.

• Sexuality

A persons sexuality is a personal thing, they can be peered to a person who is attracted to another person of the same sex (gay/or lesbian), the opposite sex (heterosexual) or both sexes (bisexual). Discrimination against person’s sexuality is against the law.

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