This was in today's Christian Science Monitor, in an article entitled, "After Obama's win, white backlash festers in US"

Here's an excerpt:

"In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting "inappropriate" comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa. The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element. In some parts of the South, there's even talk of secession. The vitriol is flailing out shotgun-style. They recognize Obama as a tipping point, the perfect storm in the narrative of the hate world – the apocalypse that they've been moaning about has come true. Supremacist propaganda is already on the upswing. In Oklahoma, fringe groups have distributed anti-Obama propaganda through newspapers and taped it to home mail boxes. Ugly incidents such as cross-burnings, assassination betting pools, and Obama effigies are also being reported from Maine to Alabama."

Okay, now get this: The American Psychiatric Association has never officially recognized extreme racism as a mental health problem, although the issue was raised more than 30 years ago. After several racist killings in the civil rights era, a group of black psychiatrists sought to have extreme bigotry classified as a mental disorder. The association's officials rejected the recommendation, arguing that because so many Americans are racist, even extreme racism in this country is "normative" — a "cultural problem" rather than an indication of psychopathology.

The psychiatric profession's primary index for diagnosing psychiatric symptoms, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), does not include racism, prejudice, or bigotry in its text or index. Therefore, there is currently no support for including extreme racism under any diagnostic category. This leads psychiatrists to think that it cannot and should not be treated in their patients in therapy.

How do I say this?


Could anyone who scapegoats a whole group of people and seeks to eliminate them to resolve his or her internal conflicts NOT meet the criteria for a major paranoid delusional disorder? Are you kidding me?! Am I ever going to be able to stop asking...


If we don't start treating extreme racism, greed, homophobia, xenophobia and religious fanaticism as psychiatric disorders, we will never be rid of them. A "cultural problem" is figuring out and debating whether or not we want to watch sex and violence on public TV or celebrate Christmas as a national holiday or if Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" is more relevant than CNN for getting the real news. But hating someone you don't know because of their skin color or sexual orientation or nationality, or stealing a person's pension so you could have a $50,000 ice sculpture at your daughter's sweet sixteen party, or believing that an all-knowing creator God could truly love only your particular sect of believers is... right - DELUSIONAL!

Just had to get that out.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.... Interesting argument.

I suppose the further time marches on, the better the argument for racism as a psychiatric disorder.

However I'd have to say that racism is more of an educational issue. Obviously not in the traditional education sense, because as far as I know there's not a single school in the country that would outwardly teach segregation or racism. But more in the sense that there are still parents out there that haven't been able to let go of what their parents and their grandparents before them had instilled in them. Therefore educating their children with the same bigotry.

That being said, clearly there is a fear issue on their parts that doesn't allow them to let go of all that nonsense. Which is clearly a symptom of a host of psychiatric issue. So in that sense, racism is more of a symptom of other things (or perhaps a convenient tool for expressing fear) rather than a direct disorder itself.

Hmmm... so by definition I just don't think racism is a disorder in and of itself. But yes, they should all get some serious help!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a recovering drug addict/alchoholic and in order for me to find recovery,(serenity) I had to work the "12-steps" to the best of my ability. After somewhat achieving this herculanean task, it is my opinion that everyone over the age of 35 years should have to work the same "12-steps", whether he/she/it is an alchoholic or not! We are all sick to a degree.


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