Connecting Police Violence Against People of Color and People With “Mental Illness”

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Pointing to recent high-profile incidents of police violence, MIA Blogger Leah Harris discusses in Truthout the intersections and parallels between police or public discrimination against people of color in the US, and discrimination based on psychological differences and “mentalism”.

“One common thread that needs deeper exploration among activists regards the acts of police violence against people diagnosed with ‘mental illness,’ writes Harris. “Racism intersects deeply with ‘mentalism,’ defined as discrimination and violence against people of all races who are perceived as unstable or ‘mentally ill.’ I do not mean to equate racism and mentalism, but simply to point out the commonalities in these patterns of police violence. A primary intersection is that the public tends to think of people with mental health problems as the violent ‘other,’ similarly to the way young men of color are stereotyped as inherently dangerous. This twin bias against psychiatric disability and race runs deeply in our law enforcement agencies.”

Connecting Police Violence Against People of Color and People With “Mental Illness” (Truthout, December 16, 2014)

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Demonising the “other” is usually a perfect method to keep stealing your money while shouting “thief”. Takes the attention off the real problem and shifts in to a scapegoat who is usually the biggest victim of the whole situation in the first place.

  2. “They Take 1 of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs” New York Man Executes Two Cops in Revenge Attack

    Above was the headline from the NY post http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/1221front.jpg?w=780

    What if someone shot me for working in mental health just because some mental health workers are abusive ? It’s just not right.

    I can’t believe it has come to this. Maybe now they will do something about police brutalizing and killing people and getting away with it.

    • The problem is they won’t. What will most likely happen is they will go on a revenge raid and probably shoot some innocent people by mistake in the process. The whole thing has reached the level of insanity and only a major systemic change could make things better.
      “What if someone shot me for working in mental health just because some mental health workers are abusive ? It’s just not right.”
      It’s not right but this is what happens when you create a class of people who are systematically oppressed. Then you have riots, you have loons or radicals taking up arms and an insane overreaction to it and down it goes.