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)