Portfolio Log Essay Sample

Portfolio Log

September 8

Problems social workers face with

Pursuant to the provision on health care for all people, health is a human right guaranteed by the United Nations and people should receive the same medical care regardless of their economic status.

Solving the problem by means of using the principles of human rights/social justice

According to the United Nations, there are five principles of human rights that are to be observed to ensure the possibility for human beings to enjoy their lives. These principles can be used to solve problems that social workers face with doing their daily activities. People have their rights regardless of their location in the whole world and this is encompassed in the clauses of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article asserts that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. People should not be treated differently by other people from different parts of the world; for instance, when you work in Europe or America you should receive the same treatment.

These challenges can be solved by social workers recognizing human diversity and differences in community and color. Most civilized nations abhor the term “negative discrimination” in preference for just a phrase. The word “negative” is of real recognition because some nations use the term “positive discrimination” which could be used synonymous with “affirmative action”. Both are used to designate steps positive in nature and try to correct historical stereotypic behavior of discriminating certain groups. For example, in some countries they are redressing gender discrimination by giving women more chances to deal with historical injustices of the past.

Social problems can also be solved by means of a well laid down process of equitable resource distribution so that those who need them get them. This brings about people feeling the same and being appreciated. Therefore, it is the role of these social workers to alert their employers, politicians, those who make their policies and the public in general of situations when they receive inadequate resources, or when these resources are distributed unfairly and harmfully. They should ensure that these policies and practices are not to be offensive by their nature. The point is that social workers should work in harmony with each other.
Definition of social justice

This concept demands that people have equal rights and opportunities regardless of their economic status; everyone, from the poorest person on the margins of society to the wealthiest one deserves an equal place to do his or her business. In most cases, economic status of individuals has given some people an advantage over the others in connection with their human rights such as education and health issues. The concept of social justice explains why people need to be treated equally, however, it is difficult to attain social justice in any country, because people possess their things according to their ability, you can use the ability of others to satisfy the needs of those who do not work, but this discourages hard-working people and makes others lazy.

September 15

Determinism can be described as some conditions that must have happened and nothing else could happen. It follows to say that there are prior conditions that determine the end of everything that happens.

Structural determinism can be explained as everything that occurs to individuals or institutions and can only be determined or affected by their own structures and nothing outside the structures can change them. Systems are determined by the way they are organized, whereas the structure determines how its parts are physically articulated. The organization identifies the system and corresponds to its general configuration.

In social work, the organizational structure of an institution reflects the way it performs its activities and the final product; little can affect it from outside, except for the structure of another organization. Organizations that have well established structures perform better and this explains the need to have internal structures that work coherently with each other to achieve desired goals of institutions.

Oppression groups (powerless)

According to Young, those who have power are the ones that oppress those that do not have it, and in most cases power comes with the majority and it may be caused by race, religion or gender distinctions. In my case it is gender. Being a female social worker, male persons, being the majority and in power, give orders on what is supposed to be done and they give time limits in such a way to show that they are in control of the situation. Sometimes, you work beyond your expectations just to satisfy those in power for the security of your work.

In day-to-day life, women find themselves in less powerful situations just because of their gender and male persons take advantage of these situations to exercise their power over women, and in some cases women are afraid of taking leadership roles because of the male persons’ presence which in most cases are the majority at work places. Labor market forces mostly upon the point how to oppress women and, as a result, women will mostly find themselves in working conditions that are less privileged as compared to their male counterparts when it comes to promotions and responsibilities.

September 22

The identities, that have positive traits as conferred by the society, are as follows: nationality, color, economic status, sexual orientation and political views. On the other hand, those that are considered to have negative shades of meaning attached to them, especially from female immigrants, are race, norms and values, language and religion.

Master (most prominent) identity

Color: despite many people trying to hide this fact, there are some unfair privileges that I have because of my skin color and this does not mean that I receive more than I deserve, but it is because I feel someone somewhere. In this country, many people do not have them just because of their skin color. It is the sense of belonging to many groups and feeling comfortable in many situations or feeling ok to contribute when meeting without attracting unnecessary attention of other people that gives me my skin color as contrary to the case I would have been of color.

I travel freely across borders and I am free to do everything because I feel comfortable. I do not say that people with color do not feel comfortable but this is an internal feeling. People are free to socialize and be friends and they do not have formed opinions about me and my religion.

September 29

Before defining “the internal oppression”, it will be better if some light is shed on the external oppression, the type of oppression when a group exercises power and authority of another in an unjust way. The internal oppression is when oppressed groups believe that oppressors are right and their way of life is supposed to be such. This can be shown by means of self-hate and internal racism. The disrespect for God, fighting, drunkenness and the disrespect for women were contrary to characteristics modeled by the Cavalry, and later became typical of the nature of our local society through the process of internal oppression.

If someone from the target group understood the misinformation and myths, they would unconsciously have a feeling that they are not as capable, intelligent, worthy, beautiful or good as those who are not among their group. They will then change their points of view concerning the discrimination or oppression and will understand that the belief that the society has and spreads around is actually true. This will make them absorb it as the real situation. This is what surmounts the internal oppression (Understanding culture and diversity in building communities).

As a result, of the internal oppression people start being ashamed of themselves and start rejecting their cultural reality. Oppressed individuals take over the work of oppressors and, as a result, develop low self-esteem and become shyer.

In the process of internal oppression, an oppressor is not to do anything just because of the mutual oppression. It is a clinical proof that the analogy of divide and conquer works. Oppressed individuals or groups have low self-esteem and, hence, in public meetings they contribute less because of the fear of what people might think about them; others do not pursue their dreams and end up drunkards or get involved in violence. They shy away from leadership and management roles notwithstanding their capacities, and sometimes they isolate themselves from other people because they feel other people may not want to spend time together with them.

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Ways to overcome

People gain confidence through solidarity and pride in their culture. Our culture gives together with our background and home, a sense of belonging and, as a result, we start appreciating ourselves. The forms of discrimination, which people have faced with over the years, include struggling through endurance and tough experiences strengthening them. It has made people have survival tactics, educate themselves how to harness resources, be able to stand and defend themselves, have a good sense of humor and never crumble but bounce right back. Hence, they get real understanding of what a long term commitment entails. For those taking pride in their culture it involves extensive reading about our background, gaining knowledge about our origin and appreciating our ancestors for what they did for us. People can also organize internal meetings to share their opinions, which will bring back joy and the sense of belonging. Injustice and oppression should be strongly opposed; it takes a long time to restore confidence and stability in those who have internal oppression.

October 6

Being fully human

It means to feel truly happy and satisfied not just by frivolous things like possessions, but by things that really matter such as various types of relationships, such as bringing up children or making positive contribution to the lives of others. It also means living "consciously", or in other words regularly allotting time to think deeply about what your life is and what you want it to be, and the things that really matter to you. This also means knowing what you really value and believe in, and adhering to these values and beliefs during everything you do. It gives a room for perfection according to circumstances and that does not mean that you stick to the same beliefs and values, no matter which ones, or that your values can never change. It is even better to re-evaluate them constantly as far as you go through life and learn from different experiences.

According to Campbell, for us to live with dignity, we must have control over our lives and allow others to control theirs by supporting them as much as they support. This is expressed through the way we do our work and interact with other people; we show our dignity by the way we deal with people who have different opinions to ours. Human virtues define who we are and under no circumstances should they be taken away from us. Human dignity depends on these virtues and if we lose them our value and respect as human beings will be also lost. For us to live in harmony with ourselves and other living organisms we need to possess these virtues. Inmates are the most common victims whose dignity is affected despite the fact that we ought to respect them. The right of freedom belongs to everyone because it is inseparable from his or her dignity as a human being. Pursuant to human rights that are internationally recognized, everyone is equal in rights and dignity. Therefore, we should respect each other and socialize in a brotherly manner.
October 13


 Human rights are universal and inalienable. All people everywhere in the world are entitled them. The human person in whom they inhere cannot voluntarily give them up. Nor can others take them away from him or her. Article 1 of UDHR states that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. People possess these rights regardless of the place they are at.


Human rights are indivisible. Whether of civil, cultural, economic, political or social nature, they are all inherent to the dignity of every human being. Consequently, they all have equal status as rights, and cannot be ranked priori in hierarchical order. There should be no attempt to put education higher than health, they should be taken as equal and provided to all people without any discrimination. This is the reason why governments, not the private sector, are the ones that provide these. This is because the government aims at equitable provision of services to the citizens and their goal is to fulfill human rights.

What are the challenges associated with using these concepts?

It is almost impossible to fully satisfy human rights because of the universality and because they cannot be ranked when it comes to delivering them to those people who need these rights by the government. When it comes to ranking, some issues should be given priority, but these concepts do not allow. Not everyone can enjoy these rights due to social and economic factors of the world because some people will always gain an advantage over the others. Developing countries do not have means and possibilities to fulfill these rights and, therefore, some groups remain disadvantaged, for instance, those people who live in rural areas or urban poor people who spend their life in slums or undeveloped neighborhoods. Not all these rights are well stipulated in legal documents and as a result they are sometimes overlooked by the governments.

October 20

Cultural relativism pursues the view that all cultures are equal and the truth is relative. When it comes to the issues of morality, politics and law all cultures are the same. At times, right or wrong can only be defined by the situation, i.e. what may be right in some circumstances can be wrong in another situations. Cultural relativism can be divided into three groups: cognitive relativism, situational relativism, and moral relativism.

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Cultural relativism is similar to moral relativism in the point that they both pervade modern world. The removal of the deep truth has taken with it Godly beliefs that our society has assimilated tolerance and pluralism. Today we do not respect the notion of universal truth or lie. Our legislative system cannot defend our laws effectively, because of the continuous deterioration of our objectives and standards. This also makes it difficult for court systems to interpret these laws. It is barely two decades since it started and yet the world’s entertainment has forced people to accept indecency to unimaginable degrees. Modern children have been continuously losing their morals and becoming very violent, even worse than their parents who are the epitome of their existence. Syllabuses teach that we are just an unplanned result of evolution according to higher institutions claiming that we must accept all the upcoming types of lifestyles and, thus, we can be termed as intolerant, maybe even “hate mongers”. The notion of relativism makes people accept the outward display of pornography in the media and support rampant fornication in universities and colleges. There are many things that our grandparents would heartily shun as sins but we accept them and even promote them in today’s cultures. Relativists state that all points of view are always true apart from the ones that have an absolute declaration of being right or wrong, an absolute truth or an absolute God.


Universalismrefers to the concepts of religion and philosophy of the whole universe.Religion in this context is defined as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman being or beings, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human beings. Because of a balancing factor, there is a need for people who following two principles to understand each other. A compromise may act as a balancing factor. In most cases, those who believe in cultural relativism recognize the truth, however, how much they say it depends on circumstances. In some situations, if not all, the law is based on morality and this acts as a balancing factor between two sides.
October 27

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Vulnerable groups                               

According to WHO, Vulnerability can be defined as a measure taken by groups, persons or organizations in a situation they cannot deal with, defy and recuperate from impacts of any disaster.

When disasters take place, young and old people, expectant mothers, emaciated and those people with poor immune systems are affected first of all. This affects women most because they are the ones that are involved in household work that may affect their health and leads to their exposure to dangerous materials; for example, women are the ones who are mostly involved in disposing of wastes within a household. As far as women and young people are engaged in doing most of the work in many houses they are exposed to pollution within the house, if there is any, because they spend most of their time in the house as opposed to men who spend their time outdoors.

When it comes to vulnerability women are more affected than men and this is mostly because of the nature of work that they do and the roles they take as being attached to them by the society and market forces and, partially, the politics. In most countries, women are discriminated at the labor market and also in provision of basic services. During pregnancy, women are easily affected by environmental hazards because their systems are weak and more sensitive to any changes, especially environmental variations.

Reducing vulnerability

Vulnerability influences mostly to the extent, when it is possible to cope or deal with impacts of poor health, injuries and early deaths that are caused by natural disasters. For instance, these groups can be provided affordable medication and treatment, emergency services such as fire stations and risk management centers.

These groups can be sheltered by their respective governments, private sectors or community based initiatives ensuring good health care throughout the pregnancy period and during the childbirth and post natal care centers dealing with emergencies should be established within the communities to reduce severity of impacts on vulnerable groups. Neighborhood should be protected from hazards and children should be provided with secure play grounds.

November 3

Human rights in relation to child adoption of a child from families of the same sex

The international human rights declare that all human beings, man, woman, youth or a child have a basic right and are free to choose the sexual orientation they deem fits for them. It declares that it is a fundamental human right and one should not be discriminated just because of their sexual orientation or any other reason whatsoever. They say that the absence of discrimination lays a start point for the fulfillment of other human rights. The laws of adoption are different as you move from one state to another. There are those countries that would allow gays and lesbians to adopt a child as joint parents and they can go to both local and international agencies of adoption for children. However, in some countries that are quite conservative, this may not be allowed.

Provisions that support adoption of children by lesbian parents

Universal Declaration of Human Rights                   

Convention on the Rights of the Child

 Ethical issues are involved

Social workers have the Code of Ethics which proclaims “Cultural and Social Diversity”. Therefore, they have a duty to respect everyone they work with despite their races, ethnicity, nation of origin, religious and political views, sexual orientations and mental or physical disabilities. If you are a social worker, your goal is to enhance person's wellbeing and to help him or her overcome problems and struggles, which are most likely caused by one of the forms of discrimination. Being social workers people are not supposed to discriminate those people of different sex orientation, for instance, lesbians should not be denied the right to adopt a child on the basis of their sex orientation.

To allow adoption of children by homosexual couples will go a long way in fulfilling international human rights, but it will not be realistic in this world. An idea to actualize a policy that will ensure that all nations will allow all lesbians and gay couples to adopt children would be ideal but in reality, that would not happen. However, every state that does not allow lesbians and gays to adopt children should be able to justify their objections. This would give each state freedom to do as it wishes and not to be forced by the federal law.

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When the government does not recognize and forbids couples of the same sex to have families, it rejects their right to form families. However, these rights are implicitly given to those couples of different sex without asking, which do not seek for any legal recognition. They enjoy this and many other rights are not conferred to gay couples. This has also made children be denied the protection from being separated from their parents on the basis of the parent’s sexual orientation.

November 10

Capabilities can be defined as what individual can do given a chance taking into account personal traits. The freedom to select is one of the main ways that enables one to exercise his/her capabilities fully. One can choose the way to live his or her life but that does not necessarily mean that he or she will be able to live in such a way and this explains why despite the need to satisfy all human rights, governments are unable to do so because they are limited when it comes to capabilities.

On the one hand, human rights are used to provide basic needs for human survival such as being healthy, acquiring basic education and being secure while, on the other hand, capability ensures happiness and having self-respect. Some capabilities ensure human rights such as living his/her life to the end normally and having good health and having shelter. If a person has capability to use his senses and thoughts and to think in an extraordinary way which is truly human, he will in a way exercise human rights of freedom and also extent it to other people by granting them freedom in whatever part of the world, because he understands these people and what they value most. Use of sense and good reasoning makes one fully understand others thus may reduce any conflict that may arise.

Human rights provide different human forms of association and this is supported by being able to have emotions for others such as love, care, and the sense or need of belonging. The last one is able to protect the liberty of religious views of other people.


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In order to respect the rights and not to discriminate others because of their skin color, religion and sex orientation, individuals have to develop self-respect and treat others with dignity.

In some cases, human rights are not observed because of lack of capacities, while human rights cannot be ranked and given priorities, capabilities force this to happen in day-to-day life. Governments are supposed to ensure all the human rights adhered to a person, while those governed should be aware of their rights and exercise the sense of reasoning and understanding each other; this will reduce unfair judgment and universality of rights will be achieved.

According to Nussbaum, human rights entail moral principles while the capabilities of governments or states should provide the minimum for all individuals who reside in that country or state. Human rights are supposed to be practiced by everyone because the failure to do so affects capabilities of others.

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