Racism as a Mental Illness

(By way of We Are Respectable Negroes)
Is racism an illness? Psychiatrists and psychologists are debating the issue. The forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Personality Disorders, due for publication in August 2012, will include a chapter on identifying and assessing pathological bias. This is the form of racism that could lead supremacists to violently and randomly maim or massacre those of another race.

Meanwhile, a team of British psychologists recently announced they had stumbled upon a secondary use for Propranolol, a commonly prescribed medication for high blood pressure. They claim it could cure implicit bias, or the form of racism that can even occur in people “with a sincere belief in equality.” Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that implicit racism is fundamentally founded on fear, and the drug acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions, such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in emotional responses.

Thinking of any form of racism as an illness is very troubling. Historically, psychiatrists, psychologists, the medical establishment and lay people have all agreed that the roots of racism are cultural or societal — a set of beliefs and behaviors that are learned and, as a result, can be unlearned. If it were to ever be declared an illness that can be treated, racists would no longer be legally or ethically responsible for their actions. Just imagine it: a medical justification for discriminating against, or even killing, those of another race.
(Source)
Oh, no, no...we are not going there. "Going there" is something we most assuredly shall not do.

That teams of supposedly educated, so-called researchers are even looking in the direction of there is an embarrassment to clinicians and social scientists everywhere.  Uh...no.  Hell, no.

I may crack jokes all day about "draptoresponsia" but let's not get it twisted: racism is a learned behavior resultant from social conditioning.  It is unnatural, immoral, and utterly contemptible.  If it is ever declared a mental illness, then all those infected will need to be quarantined from the rest of us immediately, and I don't mean in cushy neighborhoods and corner offices.  I'm talking padded cells, barred windows, and barbed wire fences, including bitchy orderlies armed with Thorazine and tasers.

Comments

  1. If it were to ever be declared an illness that can be treated, racists would no longer be legally or ethically responsible for their actions. Just imagine it: a medical justification for discriminating against, or even killing, those of another race.

    That is a scary thought, but schizophrenics don't get off with murder just because they're schizophrenic. Only a jury that's dead-set on releasing someone after they've committed a hate crime would allow an insanity defense to cruise through.

    At least that's what I'd like to think. *sigh*

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  2. Great. Now hate is a disease.

    Those poor, suffering people. *rolls eyes*

    How, as a professional, can these people actually pursue studies like this and keep a straight face? Oh wait, I just remembered who gives them their paychecks. :\

    - Esther
    http://roseywinterrose.blogspot.com

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  3. So if racism is an illness than People of Color suffer from PTSD. More whitesplaining. These people would be a laughingstock if they weren't so collectively homicidal towards PoC (some not all).
    What would happen if one day, we all just collectively snapped? Just got fed up with the bullshit. What would they do. Oh, that's right. They already have a plan for that. The "King Alfred Plan". But that's just fiction. I mean, it's not like PoC would ever have a reason to collectively rise up against the white supremacy power structure.

    *side eye extreme*

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  4. No way is racism a mental illness. It is a choice: those afflicted can unlearn their bigotry.

    Some people will look for any reason to justify these messed up values.

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  5. To Kill a Mockingbird’s metaphor sounds more acceptable to me. Racism is a mad dog that needs to be put down. If not, it has the potential of spreading with every encounter. Every drop of saliva is a potential way-point. To say that racism is a disease is to say that it’s not the white man’s fault. That it is inherently and utterly incurable; so we people of color must learn to live with it. The problem is it just can’t be wiped away through some Twelve-Step program.

    Furthermore it attempts to whitesplain mitigating circumstances the same way white criminality is contextualized. No, Racism is a frenetic- ravenous animal that can only lead to this nation’s demise if it’s not mercilessly shot through the head.

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  6. Mental illness is something that is genetic and/or induced by harsh environments, drugs etc. It's something that you cannot help.

    To compare racism to mental illness is oxymoronic. It is also ashamed to do that as there are people who sincerely this way and are just making hard for them to be understood. People who use racism as a form of mental illness are just finding more excuses for people to take their anger out on people.Really..they need to cut it out.

    I remembered when Jenny Hyuh supporter using her being a paranoid schizophrenia to justify her racist rant against Floyd Mayweather. I just basically told them that the case is closed and that I do not excuse her actions. Yes, I believe that she was mentally ill but her outburst had nothing to do with her being a racist. There are people who are mentally ill and never been racist toward other people.

    I feel bad for mentally people. It's bad enough that they aren't taken seriously and it don't help if you have " reseachers" like them coming up with more excuses.

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    Replies
    1. Perla Buttons5/13/12, 11:23 PM

      "I feel bad for mentally people. It's bad enough that they aren't taken seriously and it don't help if you have " reseachers" like them coming up with more excuses."

      Thank you! I have a mental illness. It hasn't made me a violent person or a bigot. If anything, it has enhanced my capacity for empathy.

      Yet, it pops up in the legal defence of people who hurt or kill other people. It even popped up in the defence of a bloke who drowned eight cats and then bashed their heads with a hammer!

      I wish I was making it up.

      Delete
  7. Perla Buttons5/13/12, 11:14 PM

    No. No! I can't fucking believe they're attempting to do this.

    It's supposedly my job as a POC to "educate" the racism out of racist white people (who just view me as a big, mean, insufficiently deferential brown lady anyway).

    Now they're just poor folks who can't help feeling and acting the way they do on account of their "illness". Fuck that shit.

    AFAIK, a submission to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders people that positioned men who rape as having a culpability-bypassing "illness" was rejected, so I'm hoping someone with sense can block this shit before it gains real traction!

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  8. Now that I'm done tweaking...no. HELL no.

    In any case anyone's wondering why the academic community is turning into such a joke, it's because of "researchers" like these who are spending God only knows how much dough on projects like this.

    Of all the ways to analyze and explore racism in the society, this honestly struck them as the best route?

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    1. Ankhesen Mié
      Of all the ways to analyze and explore racism in the society, this honestly struck them as the best route?

      Because these patronizingly pious, predominantly pretentious and pitifully pompous white men continue to be lauded for their ground-breaking research. In the convoluted arena of Behavioral Science anything that springs from the sphincter of white men has to be true. You know white men have been conditioned to place unyielding faith and acumen in other white men; so whatever the measure of grant money thrown at them for the sake of scholarly exploration is justified. Yes there are those in the mental health field who would concede that some of the research is suspect; but “you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” they’ll say.

      With regards to racism, I’m inclined to forego the academic double-speak in favor of a simpler explanation. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

      Racism is not something that can be cured through legislation or by popping a freakin pill. I’m reminded of a line from Sanford and Son some years back:

      “Brother Kalunda you have far to go along this path you have chosen for yourself before you reach your destination. Do not mistake dashikis and sculpture...and a hairstyle for Africa, because they aren't. Nor can you expect merely to put on that cloth... and become such a man as your ancestors were. The clothes (white sheets and hood) you can put on and off. It is the heart you must change. The heart.”

      No amount of research or scholarly papers can change what’s within a person. Such transformations are wrought only through repentance; the willful and purposeful act of tuning away from the former to embrace the new. Racism flows through the very veins of a person; it is a chronic and devastating condition of the spirit.

      Delete
  9. Not surprised. Not at all. Lack of accountability for one's actions is the norm in this society.

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  10. Leo Princess5/14/12, 7:00 AM

    Terrific. Now all those people defending the Bethany Storros, Susan Smiths, and Jenny Hyuns of the world will have 'scientific' support.

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  11. This is another example of the ludicrous lengths that whiteness will go to avoid being held accountable for hateful and cruel behavior. Again, the focus is on making the (white) racist's life easier rather than the (poc) victim's safety and well-being. As a psych person, I am ashamed and disgusted by such ignorant claims being passed as evidence-based research. I wonder how long it’s going to take for another such "researcher" to categorize sexism as a mental illness.

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  12. Racism is not a mental illness. If it was it would be the most rampant mental illness in this country.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed:
      Ask a schizophrenic what’s wrong with them and in most cases they’ll look you square in the eye and say "Nothing! There’s nothing wrong with me! It’s this damned secret government cabal; installing radio transmitters in our heads so that they can take over. That’s the problem."

      Conversely, ask a white person if they’re racist and they’ll look you right in the eye and say, "I’m not a racist; it’s these liberal immigration policies. Its those welfare queens in the ghetto draining government resources. Its your high birth rates (because these minorities are breeding like rabbits). It’s that damn imposter, Barack-Hussein-Obama and his socialist agenda that’s bringin this country down! That's your problem."

      The schizophrenic has no choice in the matter, for theirs is a sickness of the mind. But racism is a condition of the soul. There’s no pill a white person can take; but they do have a choice.

      Delete
  13. It pops up in the legal defence of people who hurt or kill other people. It even popped up in the defence of a bloke who drowned eight cats and then bashed their heads with a hammer!

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