Human Rights And Discrimination


Reflection is essential in health and social care due to its numerous benefits. First, it helps to foster improvement in practice and services. In addition, it supports individual proffesionals in multi-disciplinary work. Reflection has helped to ensure that professional healthcare workers continuously improve their service delivery. Thus, this is a reflective paper about human rights and discrimination which addresses the main concerns in that topic based on personal experiences.

Human rights are simply the general ‘privileges’ people have for being human beings. They are universal regardless of race, nationality, sex, ethnic background, religion, colour, language, or other factors. Human rights span from the most basic ones, which include the right to life, to the factors that make life worthwhile, such as shelter, food, education, health, work, and liberty (United Nations, 2022). Human rights were adopted in 1948 using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the U.N. general assembly (United Nations, 2022). Article two of the Human Rights requires that human beings are not discriminated against as they are all born equal. The GIBBS model includes a description, feelings, evaluation, and analysis (Oviawe, 2020). This reflective study will use the Gibbs reflective model to analyse human rights and discrimination and develop an action plan for solving the problems.


I have chosen a topic about human rights and discrimination because, as a European (Romanian) student living and studying in the U.K., I have experienced discrimination due to my nationality and race. I have been denied the opportunity to get a good hospital job, and colleges from work keep discriminating against me. Some of my colleagues said all Romanian students are bad people, robbers, and look ugly. There were people who asked me why I looked so pretty, considering that all Romanians were ugly. These words made me feel so disempowered to live in the U.K. In addition, Romanian children in school are highly discriminated against; in one case, a child was told that Romanians are poor, which made her commit suicide. This demonstrates that there is still much discrimination in the U.K. based on nationality and race.


One of the most evident feelings of being discriminated against is that I felt threatened to live in the U.K. The negative comments from my colleagues lowered my perceived associative value. When people are exposed to the threat of belonging, they develop negative emotions such as anger, general upset, and sadness. Even when efforts to have a counterbalance are made, it is hard to reverse these feelings. Although I was being given better pay in the U.K. than in my country, this compensation could not change my feelings of rejection. When a person is hurt, a variety of negative feelings affect them; however, the most prominent one that io experienced was feeling sad and generally upset. According to Fekedulegn et al. (2019, p 6), hurt feelings are a signature emotion for people who feel rejected and that their presence is not appreciated. I felt disempowered by my colleagues because they hurt my feelings and devalued me; hence I was threatened to belong in the U.K.

Being discriminated against by my colleagues and being associated with robbers made me fear they would hurt me. I was afraid that they would attack and hurt me because of being from a different nationality. Therefore, I ensured that I did not get into arguments with my co-workers, so there was no opportunity for conflict. This constant fear of living in a foreign land sometimes affected my performance at the workplace.

I was very insecure in the workplace and afraid that if anything got lost, I would be profiled as the responsible person. This is because they believed that Romanians were poor and robbers; thus, I had to be very careful with everything I handled to avoid getting lost. I even had to take care of other people’s belongings within my jurisdiction to avoid being accused of stealing them.


Despite all the humiliation, some things worked positively for me during this experience. For instance, I could focus much on my work because I did not have many friends with whom we could hang out. While other employees were on their getaways over the weekend, I was busy completing my work which enabled me to be one of the most effective workers. In addition, instead of being demotivated by their negativity, I felt empowered even to work harder.

However, on the contrary, I experienced the negative impacts of discrimination. One of the negative impacts was that I felt depressed while at work. When my colleagues were around me, I was generally uneasy, which lowered my work morale for the company. I was resentful toward the employees being treated better by the company, which affected my overall performance. Sometimes I would fake sickness to avoid coming to the toxic workplace. When I saw my colleagues gathered somewhere, I avoided passing at that spot because they would directly or indirectly insult me. In addition, I contributed less to the workplace welfare and was poor in teamwork because I always felt intimidated by my workmates. Even those who offered support, I was weary of them because I suspected they were doing it to get certain favours back. For instance, some managers would want to be seen hanging out with me so that they could have a positive image in the workplace, while behind my back, they insulted me with their friends.


Psychoanalytic Theory

Various theories can explain the human rights and discrimination experiences I underwent as a Romanian student in the U.K. One theory that can explain my colleagues’ behaviour toward me is the psychoanalytic theory. This theory states that people behave aggressively toward minority groups due to individual frustrations (Lantz and Ray, 2021). This concept is referred to as displacement aggression, whereby they use prejudice against other people as a motivating factor to increase their self-esteem (Powell et al., 2022, pg 2). By projecting the bad about others, they felt they had the good in them. This is evident because most of my colleagues would directly confront me when I received a commendation from my managers for my good work. This situation would make my workmates feel bad about themselves, and the only way to make themselves feel better was by throwing insults at me. By presenting me as a bad person, they felt better about themselves.

Attribution Theory

Another theory that can be used to understand the behaviour of my workmates towards me is the attribution theory. This theory states that people are likely to categorise others according to social attributions (Zuo et al., 2022, p 3). Attribution refers to the cause of events and behaviour used to achieve social categorisations, stigma, and labelling. The aspect of social categorisations leads to various biases related to various attributions. According to the ultimate attribution error, people are likely to make attributions that weaken out-groups and strengthen the in-groups (Zuo et al., 2022, p 4). It is done in two biases whereby individuals explain their group’s negative acts using situational factors termed bad luck instead of negative attributes. On the other hand, they explain the positive acts using situational factors, which they term as good luck. This self-bias theory enables people to take credit for the positive things and blame others for the negative things. It is commonly used to make them feel superior over other groups and enhance one’s group self-esteem.

According to the attribution theory, humans tend to show that the world is equal; and everyone gets what they deserve. This implies that those suffering are doing so for a reason, which is not unjust. Therefore, the majority group victimises those suffering and blames it on their weaknesses, characteristics, or faults (Zuo et al., 2022, p 10). This has been demonstrated in my experience in the U.K., whereby they believe that Romanians are poor due to poor governance and lack of resource utilisation. Therefore, they use this as an excuse to discriminate against the Romanians because they trust that Romanians should be responsible for their negative acts of being poor. On the contrary, some U.K. students like to show that they are of high social status because of their situational factors, such as good governance and many resources. This makes them feel that out-groups, such as a Romanian citizen, should not enjoy their wealth because Romanians are attributed to poverty.

Authoritarian Personality

The authoritarian personality approach theory is another important theory that can explain these experiences of discrimination in the U.K. After the Second World War, there was a search to determine why some groups were more inclined to discriminate and have violence toward others (Bergh and Brandt, 2022, p 12). It led to the emergence of the authoritarian personality approach, which stated that people with high authoritarianism were likelier to do what their authority states, even if it involved mistreating members of derogated groups.

Therefore, racism in most countries exists because it is encouraged by the authority either directly or indirectly. This can be demonstrated by using my experience in the U.K., whereby although the government has still done much to eradicate racism, they are, in one way or the other, still supporting racism. The U.K. supports systemic racism by having some barriers that hinder people of other races and nationalities from having the same experience as their citizens (Bergh and Brandt, 2022, p 25). For instance, I was denied an opportunity to get a job in the hospital because I am not a U.K. citizen. This is systemic racism because the government and other institutions promote it. Being denied a chance because of my race made me feel like going back to my country and working there. However, I knew there were not as many employment opportunities as here in the U.K.

Realistic Conflict Theory

According to the realistic conflict theory, people may not like others who are considered out-groups because they come to compete for their limited resources. These resources can be political power, welfare, social status, economic resources, and many more (Demirtaş-Madran, 2020, p 6). When individuals have a shared goal that needs them to be interdependent, they engage and cooperate and create a superordinate group. On the other hand, those with mutually exclusive goals tend to compete instead of forming a group, resulting in conflict and discrimination. This theory generally states that there would be no discrimination without conflict.

Social Identity Theory

This is one of the most prominent theories which have become more comprehensive in explaining discrimination. The theory focuses on individuals’ or groups’ cognitive and perceptual dimensions and their belongingness. The social identity theory has four important components: social comparison, social categorisation, people’s beliefs about in-groups, and self-enhancement motivation (Harwood, 2020, p 4). Social identity is the ability of a person to know that they are part of a certain group that has some value or emotional; value to them. Many individuals feel that they are entitled to social categorisation to improve their self-esteem. When people come to their in-group, they are likely to consider other out-groups as inferior and worth less.

Self-categorisation is when a person assesses themselves depending on the in-groups to which they are affiliated. Thus, the group’s social status is achieved by comparing the in-group and other out-groups to seek motivation (Damkier and Ozer, 2022, p 128). In this comparison, most people will be biased and look at their in-group’s strengths, while in the out-groups, they look for their weaknesses. Individuals in this setting are likely to exaggerate in-group similarities with the similarities of the out-group members. However, they will sharpen the differences between the groups, which forms the basis of discrimination (Shnapper-Cohen, Dolev, and Itzkovich, 2022). This explains why people are likely to discriminate against others from different races.

This can be demonstrated by showing that people identify with their origin countries. They use these in-groups to have more self-esteem and emotional significance. For instance, the U.K. citizens have classified themselves as an in-group that belongs to the Brits. Therefore, they use this group’s nature to sympathise with one another. When it comes to the similarities with other European countries such as Romania, U.K. citizens are likely to exaggerate them; however, they will still find some differences to separate themselves from out-groups. In this case, some of my colleagues used the issue of Romanians being poor, ugly, and robbers to differentiate themselves from the out-group. However, they would easily accept that the U.K. and Romania are both in Europe. This is because the in-groups are likely to exaggerate the similarities between them and the out-groups to have better self-esteem.


Discrimination is against human rights and should be condemned because it has negative effects such as reduced productivity, feelings of anger, and anxiety. However, to solve the problem of discrimination, it is important to understand the mechanism and theories related to it. This study has highlighted various theories which explain why people discriminate against others. These theories include the psychoanalytic, Attribution, authoritarian personality, realistic conflict, and social identity theories. Some of the main lessons from these theories s that people discriminate against others to feel better about themselves, due to the authority support, to protect their limited resources from out-groups, and to consider other groups inferior.

I have learned from this study regarding my experience that the discrimination faced in the U.K. may be due to both positive and negative effects. For instance, protecting economic resources from outsiders is a positive factor for the in-group, although, for the out-group, it is a negative factor. Thus, the most effective way to handle the discrimination I face is by assuring my co-workers that I do not pose a challenge or conflict to their resources. An example of a negative form of discrimination is whereby the in-group discriminates against others from the out-group to gain more self-esteem. This shows that I should stay humble because I come from an out-group. This does not mean I will be mistreated without responding; however, it is essential to let the in-group feel empowered, so they do not use humiliation to gain their ground.

The other lesson is that breaking some of the stereotypes different societies have held for a long time is essential. The majority groups use them against the minority group to embarrass them. With time if they are not changed, they are believed to be true. This can be done using public campaigns to educate the public about the truth about Romania. I can take that personal initiative to educate my colleagues about Romania and its culture to change their mindsets. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the different theories of discrimination because they provide a more effective way to understand and tackle bias.

Finally, the government should come up with laws and regulations which are aimed at ending systemic racism. For instance, they can ask their institutions to have a specific percentage of people from other races. Racial minority groups should collaborate and ask for fair treatment using movements. For example, they can create a movement that will fight for their rights to ensure there is equality. Finally, racial minority groups should seek mental health services to avoid being affected by racist comments. This will enhance their mental wellness, which is important to their health.

Reference List

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