From Another BLACK Dissenter…

Hey Lubangakene! I have been away for a few days, just hit your spot and read your discourses on racism as mental illness. As a male of African descent, I agree with you wholeheartedly, that it is a form of mental illness. This whole notion (primarily from so-called white progressives/liberals etc. – and you know my general feelings about this group), that racist behaviour is a “choice”, misses the real “live” truth of the issue. The real “live” truth that we, as Black peoples’ live and breath. For white people it “may” be seen as a “choice”, as an intellectual/rational exercise, however for most white people I come in contact with (in the “oh so tolerant Canada”) it is so ingrained within them that they “act out” their racist behaviour even without realizing it, some even while they attempt to “control” it. AND what do we say to ourselves and each other: “dem white peoples dey crazy!” We see the craziness! We see the disfunction! AND WE ARE THE PRIMARY VICTIMS OF THEIR MENTAL ILLNESS! And as my granny used to say:” those who feels it, knows it”. Lubangakene they are incapable of seeing and/or accepting their disfunction, especially those who consider themselves “good white peoples”.

Your point is right on when you state how Africans slaves were seen as no better than “beasts”. YET the female species of these so-called beasts, our women, were constantly raped by the superior white humans. What kind of mentality could justify this type of behaviour? What kind of mind would create a document which stated that “all men were created equal”, yet consider men of a different colour, 3/4 human? What type of mind could lynch another human being, remove their genitals and force it down their throats, while having a picnic? What type of mind would create and continue a society based on these principles and atrocities, and is yet able to sleep at night without tossing and turning, because their illusion of reality is normal in their own minds. I’ll say it loud: “THEY ARE CRAZY! THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL!”

Racism, although for me the more appropriate term is “White Supremacy Thinking”, has made many of our people crazy, mentally ill… literally! You ask a very pertinent question: If it makes us crazy, causes mental illness in and among us, why do white people think that they are immune from the disease themselves? Is it because they consciously (or unconsciously) consider themselves mentally superior? Is it because as the primary carriers of the disease, as the ones who infected “us”, they cannot see that over generations, they have infected themselves!? Do they hide behind and/or reassure themselves through their “clinical definitions” that although they suffer may suffer from depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, anorexia, etc…. racism is not something they “suffer” from, it is a “choice”, within their control… and we know how white people hate NOT being in control!

The bottom line is this mah Bruh, if racism is a mental illness, something which is NOT within their control: THEN THEY ALL HAVE IT…. EVEN OUR SO-CALLED WHITE PROGRESSIVE/LIBERAL FRIENDS…. AND HEAVEN FORBID THAT! All the self-actualizing work they have done, all the anti-racist workshops they have engaged in and led, all the time and effort they have spent proving that they are “different” from the rest of their “kind”, especially the most vile racist of the past and present, all the choices made in an effort to be a more understanding and tolerant human being, ALL OF THAT WAS AND IS FOR NOUGHT! ZERO! WHICH ALSO LEADS ONE TO CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS A LITTLE MICHAEL RICHARDS IN ALL WHITE PEOPLE JUST WAITING TO SPRING OUT! That is why they are so surprised when their illness comes to the surface in it’s most clearest and obvious forms! They sincerely state “I don’t know where that came from ’cause really…. I’m not a racist”. They know for sure that they didn’t go through a process to “choose” to say those words and/or make that racist statement. It just came out! They had no control over it. BUT there is no way that it stemmed from being mentally ill. They will NEVER accept that.

Walk good my brother. Once again you speak power to truth.

Asabagna.

4 Responses to “From Another BLACK Dissenter…”

  1. Your point is right on when you state how Africans slaves were seen as no better than “beasts”. YET the female species of these so-called beasts, our women, were constantly raped by the superior white humans. What kind of mentality could justify this type of behaviour? […]

    This is not the type of racist behavior we are discussing nor are those behaviors current or condoned, and are in fact illegal, in American society today. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of nutcases who would condone those behaviors in today’s North American culture. I am not the person my mother is, even less so her mother, father or grandmother. Times change and societies and people evolve.

    […] Is it because as the primary carriers of the disease, as the ones who infected “us”, they cannot see that over generations, they have infected themselves! […]

    Bull. Racism / nationalism / tribalism has always existed in all cultures. It is not a purely American / Eurpoean / White invention.

    […] THEY ALL HAVE IT…. EVEN OUR SO-CALLED WHITE PROGRESSIVE/LIBERAL FRIENDS… […]

    Yes. This is true and always will be, in my lifetime and probably my son’s and grandson’s…at least. That’s sad. Some of us are trying to change here.

    […] all the time and effort they have spent proving that they are “different” from the rest of their “kind”, especially the most vile racist of the past and present, all the choices made in an effort to be a more understanding and tolerant human being, ALL OF THAT WAS AND IS FOR NOUGHT! ZERO! […]

    Then why engage us?

  2. Cheryl, I know you disagree. However, what if you CAN’T see, or CONCEIVE of what we are talking about? Is that a possibility? Are have you overcome?

    What if Asa’s point about racist behavior is NOT that it is occuring in quite the same manner (although ask Sean Bell if he felt any difference), but has in fact morphed into behaviors like the prison industrial complex (slavery, internment of Japanese), the introduction of crack cocaine into the ghetto by the CIA (small pox blankets), the war in Iraq (uncountable wars on Indians, Black Panthers, etc), the ways in which freedom loving white folks don’t lift a finger to change the oppressive conditions in their own backyard. The lynch rope has been replaced by the policemen’s gun or tazer, by the Marine’s tank. The common denominator is the color of the victims.

    Why engage you and other white people? To educate, to change the world. To grow. To get white folks to see racism as we experience, as opposed to how they conceptualize it in their intellectual treehouse. To see the nature of new age racism. I’m trying to talk to you and the other people who visit this blog. But there is a chasm in our perceptions.

    There was a famous post in the blogosphere on the idea of ‘White Woman’s Syndrome,’ the idea that white women play the damsel in distress in certain conversational settings, in order to derail the train – particularly when the conversation is about racism.

    I really felt that in this conversation. I made a comment likening racism and mental illness, something that to me is self evident. A white person objected to that because he has a mental illness. The conversation ceased to be about racism, but shifted to mental illness and how the mentally ill are stigmatized and how this person had a tough enough time getting mistreated by folks because of his mental illness. How racism is chosen and how mental illnesses are not, how whites can control racism, but how the mentally ill cannot.

    I have compassion for people with mental illness; I do not want anyone to be mistreated for any reason. However, my post was not directed at this individual, though he responded as if it was. And the post wasn’t about the stigmatization of mentally ill people. And I wasn’t stigmatizing mental illness, wasn’t endorsing stigmatizing mental illness.

    But the argument was all about, “NO, NO, NO, its wrong to equate the two because…” But there was no consideration of MY perspective. Their minds were made up. ‘Its a bad idea,’ though its an idea that the average black person takes as a no-brainer. ‘Racists have choice,’ according to these white people who have grown up in a system of white supremacy, who have benefitted from the system of white supremacy and who have been educated in the tenets of the system of white supremacy. That, and their unanimity, makes me suspicious.

    Now, this big argument that just ensued that has caused people who claimed to be friends of mine leave in a huff with vows to never return, boiled down to one thing for me: an utter refusal to take in and take on the idea that racism, as defined and experienced by people of color is a disease, AKA, a mental illness. When I presented a definition of mental illness from an online resource (Wikipedia), that was disparaged.

    I was accused of throwing out the charge of racism – because people didn’t agree with me. What does that mean? That there was no validity to what I said. I felt that they felt what I said had no validity from the jump. That is not an unfamiliar feeling. But I don’t trust them and their reactions.

    When I have these kind of conversations, I connect with them intellectually, but also on a gut level and my gut was going off like a geiger counter. Something didn’t smell right; none of the arguments swayed me and normally, I can give props for a good counter argument. It felt like a cover-up, let’s not chew on this one too much and let’s discourage this brotha from pursuing this line. (This is how it felt)

    The religiousity around terms, the splitting hairs, the appeals to emotion (‘the poor mentally ill community,’ used at the expense of understanding an idea around racism that MIGHT be worth exploring), shifting the focus from understanding racism to a white person’s pain at reading words that few will EVER read, while bemoaning how they could hurt SO MANY mentally ill people.

    Lawd have mercy that’s all for now.

    PS Asa, thank man. I needed a shot.

  3. So, you engage me and insist that the racism I perpetuate (in my opinion, as a result of brainwashing, cultural indoctrination) is because I’m crazy? How does that allow room for the growth needed for change to happen? What I said, Max, was that we would have to agree to disagree. I’m willing to accept your perception…how can I not? I don’t live your life. You aren’t at all willing to allow me my perspective that, though there might be crazy white racists, most white people who behave in racist ways do so with some knowledge that it’s wrong they’ve been able to muffle the natural inner voice which should direct their conduct toward decency and fairness. I’m not arguing to defend the mentally ill…a position which I feel should be a no-brainer…but to call racists (myself included, if I behave in that manner) on their shit.

    Also, when I talk about people who utilize racist behaviors and actions, I’m not just talking about white people. Racism affects us all and is just as damaging to the young kids on the streets of Philly who decide they can’t do the school thing and start selling drugs instead. Perhaps the racism is self-directed in that case, but it’s still racism. Are they all mentally ill? Do they have no choice? It’s about all (most) of us having choices, not just the white folks because they have some innate superiority or chemical imbalance in their brains.

    I just think the argument allows too many people off the hook. Maybe it’s because I deal with some of the worst of society in the ER. I see the people who come in, addicted to drugs, terribly manipulative and self-serving, whatever who try to say, “Well, my bad behavior is all because of my [insert appropriate DSM II diagnosis]. It’s bullshit and I know it and I see it too much. Those that are genuinely mentally ill have my deepest sympathies as I understand how dreadfully their lives are affected. Those who feign mental illness as an excuse to account for horrendous behaviors receive my disdain. I’m not willing to allow people who choose to maintain their racism despite the voice in their hearts telling them it’s wrong off the hook so easily.

    As in all of this conversation, the views I present are entirely my own and I’m not trying to force it on you or anyone else. I just happen to disagree, and I think that’s healthy. Then again, maybe I’m just a crazy white woman…

  4. I have compassion for people with mental illness; I do not want anyone to be mistreated for any reason. However, my post was not directed at this individual, though he responded as if it was. And the post wasn’t about the stigmatization of mentally ill people. And I wasn’t stigmatizing mental illness, wasn’t endorsing stigmatizing mental illness.

    I didn’t argue that you endorsed the stigmatization of mental illness. I don’t think you bear any animus towards the mentally ill–at least, not more than most people who’ve ever seen a slasher movie. But this analogy is hostile, for the reasons I outlined. It wasn’t a casual use of “nuts,” either–it was a carefully-thought-out comparison between mental illness and racism. Of course people who define mental illness in the context of stigmatization are going to have a problem with it. To me, a crazy person is someone who suffers from disproportionate, unjust fear and hatred. When racist people meet with those reactions, they’re perfectly sensible.

    That having been said, I think the idea of racism as affliction makes perfect sense. And I don’t dispute that it reads as sociopathic in the pop-psych sense of the word; like I said, apart from trial outcomes, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between Jeffrey Dahmer and Roy Bryant. And I think that this extends to the less-extreme manifestations of the problem, although it gets really difficult to compare a an institutionalized populations with the ones who get to control the definition of sanity.

    And this is an inaccurate interpretation of what I’ve said; it seems like it does apply to some commenters:

    ‘Racists have choice,’ according to these white people who have grown up in a system of white supremacy, who have benefitted from the system of white supremacy and who have been educated in the tenets of the system of white supremacy.

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