So I’M Crazy?!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Mental illness is a concept in psychiatry and other mental health professions referring to mental abnormality associated with distress and/or dysfunction. This can involve cognitive, emotional or behavioural impairments. The term ‘illness’ implies the existence of a medical condition with a specific pathology that causes symptoms, something that is the subject of much research and debate. Similar but sometimes alternative concepts include: mental disorder, psychological or psychiatric disorder, emotional problems, emotional or psychosocial disability. The term insanity, sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for mental illness or irrationality, is used technically as a legal term.

Specific disorders often described as mental illnesses include major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, to name a few. Mental illnesses have been linked to both biological (e.g. genetics, neurochemistry, brain structure) and psychosocial (e.g. cognitive biases, emotional problems, trauma, socioeconomic disadvantage) causes. Different schools of thought offer different explanations, although current research employing the term ‘mental illness’ would most probably originate in a biopsychiatry point of view. Mental illnesses have been associated with impaired functioning, for example ability to work or manage socially, and sometimes also to high function, for example creativity. Cross-cultural studies suggest that what is seen as (the symptoms of) a mental illness in one culture may be accepted or valued in another, may manifest differently, or may not appear at all.”

Now, I don’t look at any definition as definitive, however…for those who disagree with my belief that racism is a mental illness – would you disagree that racism comfortably falls within the parameters of the above definition?

2 Responses to “So I’M Crazy?!

  1. ummmm, yes. as I’ve made clear.

  2. Now, I don’t look at any definition as definitive, however…for those who disagree with my belief that racism is a mental illness – would you disagree that racism comfortably falls within the parameters of the above definition?

    Name a behavior or belief that can’t fit within the parameters of the above definition.

    This definition says, correctly, that any behavior, given the proper social context, can shift from “sane” to “insane” and back again. Take PTSD, for example. Take religious ecstasy. Take pedophilia. And it’s correct to point out that different cultures organize differently, and therefore create different operating definitions of insider and outcast. But you’re arguing that racist white people are insane even though the society they’re raised in sees racism as eminently sane, that it delegitimizes any information that might lead to another conclusion than racism, and dismisses anti-racism as gibberish and anyone who isn’t white as a raving lunatic. While white people may in fact be beyond the pale, their disorder is not an impairment, and it does not result from an inability to learn social lessons as they are taught. They are not only afforded sanity, they are allowed to define it for their own comfort.

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