Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/24/stop-using-mental-illness-explain-white-supremacy
The authors make important points. I would only add, sadly, that ideologies of superiority (to guarantee economic advantage or for other reasons) seem to characterize all human groups. White supremacy is the big problem in the US and other settler societies, but racism and tribalism are everywhere. We only have to recall Japanese treatment of Chinese, Koreans, and SE Asians, Burmese treatment of the Rohingya, the whole caste system in India, the Mexica (Aztec) treatment of their neighbors. My point is that although this is not “mental illness” in the narrow medicalized way that we currently define it, it is a trans-human or species problem. We need to start thinking more about generic problems of our species – why we need categories of “superior” and “inferior” humans – in addition to combatting the sepcific current manifestations of this problem. It’s both and . . . .
Settler societies like the U.S. continue the “settler” mentality by immigration with established limits. Once it becomes a normalized group there is the tendency to maintain that as status quo. It is implied that success is how well assimilated a group meets the initial criteria. When other identifiers become obsolete the obvious separation is ethnicity which is inherent in every society. This by its self is not pathology.
I am a Board Certified Psychiatrist, and I quit Psychiatry in 1987 after only 10 years in practice because I realized that Psychiatry was viewing independent thinking processes, minority lifestyles, and controversial opinions as illnesses. The individuals that I worked with in the hospital were not ill at all; their individuality simply conflicted with the perspectives of their community group (family, caretakers, employers, etc.). In an attempt to preserve their political and economic power, psychiatrists attempted to label such socioeconomically displaced persons as having a medical condition that warranted forcible intervention, or “aggressive treatment” (i.e. torture) in order to resolve the conflict by blaming the victim, as the world’s civilizations have been doing for the past 10,000 years or so, since a group of our ancestors adopted what I term a “doministic mentality”. (There is no such word as “doministic”, but I prefer it to “predatory”). The authors are right to conclude that Psychiatry should not medicalize the social problem of racism, but I would submit for your consideration that you cease respecting Psychiatry altogether, e.g. by appealing to its supposed wisdom in leaving racism out of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). None of the “illnesses” listed are any more valid than my calling you “nuts” for suggesting that Psychiatry has any validity. You have simply been inundated by propaganda, just as I was before I entered the mental health “profession”.
I do indeed believe that people can help victims of abuse to heal from emotional injuries, but such help requires empathy, caring, and listening, not name-calling, drugging, lobotomizing, forced incarceration, or offering unsolicited opinions. It is also important to recognize that there is a critical difference between dealing with an aggressor versus a victim, but that leads me to another lengthy discussion, and I will stop here.
I had the same misgivings about this article as racism is not only a byproduct of “white supremacy.” nevertheless I thought hard about how to dismantle the system of white privledge and it is a major obstacle to overcome. Because racism in the U.S. is institutionalized, it would require a massive resistance tot eh institutions that rely on racism, namely corporate America. What the U.S. requires is ‘institutionalized color blindness’ combined with an ecumenical approach from all levels of government, something that large Christian groups have so far resisted.
When it comes to mental illness, it covers cross segments of the entire population. Mental illness has to be recognized as well, instead of just ‘criminalizing’ every single person with any degree of mental illness. We need more hospitals, treatment centres and social programs for the vulnerable. Political decisions like the ones I just mentioned, would go a long way to reducing the violence that permeates our society while helping us to understand the root causes of violence in general.
The US is based on genocidal premises which are formulated to rationalize a mirror-like point of view that use of resources must be controlled by king-like entities. I ascribe this default mentality to the unresolved trauma caused by actual “royalty”.
There are ‘stewardship’ societies and there are ‘userous’ societies.“The West” and “The Modern” world are the latter staring into the abyss denuded, hollowed out and walled in by centuries of institutionalization of solipsistic excuses for usury and terror.
Like Ouroborus and not dissimilar to the tipping point illustrated by the myth of Marduk battling with and defeating Tiamat, In our case, we are witnessing the collapse of the myth (propaganda) of the infallibility of the institutions of western civilization. Our institutions have been the magnet for stunning hubris based on the presumption of privilege to “externalize” costs, ideas, consequences, and virtually any aspect of reality standing between privilege (first before the law) and what it wants. “IT” is an accurate designation for the dehumanizing premises that require a pre-dehumanized psyche to rationalize and implement the Ouroborus.
Racism cannot be separated from the central god of the west: the economic. Anthropologist/ethnologist Marshall Sahlins provides the argument that economics cannot be separated from the social.
I refer to my “Dog Whisperer” comment on an earlier thread. Perhaps if we are in direct contact, (a white person with someone of a different race or color), for a long enough period of time we will learn enough to change.
Separation from red neck attitudes and influence would help tremendously.
And where do we draw a line between a mental block and just bad judgement? Do we really need to know that in order to move forward with attitude adjustments? Deprogramming of hatred may have be a prerequisite.
Government employs criminals now. Government HAS TO WIN. The Continuity of Government’s rules say so. The Rule of Law is treated like a disposable diaper. Don Trump thinks that’s the smell of victory.