It’s Time for a Revolution Within the Revolution: Coming Out of the Closet on Racism

Iden Campbell, CPRP
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The past week was hard for me on many levels. Even harder than the last few months of seeing people I thought were for equality and justice post about how Donald Trump will “Make America Great Again.”

I have been thinking about Shirley Chisholm a lot lately. Mrs. Chisholm was the first Black woman to be elected to Congress, and the first Black woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Her campaign slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed.” A revolutionary, a feminist and a humanist, she called for a “bloodless revolution” in politics and spoke passionately about the need for equal rights for women and minorities. That was in 1972. Forty-four years later, how far have we really come?

“In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing — anti-humanism.” — Shirley Chisholm

What made the past week so difficult was viewing a video of a well-known mental health activist screaming, cursing and invading the personal space of a Black or Latinx woman on the L Train. This activist has sat on many committees and panels in and around New York City, yet people have known for years that he harbored bigotry toward women and Blacks.

He was recorded shouting vile profanities at a woman of color, a woman who has to walk the minefields of racism, sexism and misogyny every day. For the majority of Black people and other people of color, there is never a break from these invasive isms.

You may ask what this has to do with mental health and the critical psychiatry movement. It has everything to do with the people within these communities. Our humanity is at stake, as is our activism and the validity of this budding human rights/social justice movement.

In the past week, I have heard those that work professionally or are activists within these communities excuse this person’s behavior and try to protect him. The most disconcerting comments have come from several folks stating that “we should not be discussing this in a public forum but behind the scenes amongst each other.” That “speaking out in public puts a target on our backs” and “gives those that want to destroy the movement the ammunition to do so.”

The truth is that we will be defeated from within if we continue to let fester this monstrous wound.

“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated that it is invisible because it is so normal.” — Shirley Chisholm

Staying quiet or keeping the conversation in the backrooms of the privileged doesn’t bring about change, it just maintains the status quo. The people who are impacted deserve to know the conversations being had. Racism has been the norm for centuries. When are we going to shake this up? When are we going to stop brushing it under the rug? When are we going to be revolutionary enough to create safer spaces that demolish the invisible racism that is bubbling up in our communities?

Being revolutionary will allow us to create what many have been saying we are, but we really are not yet. It will allow us to create a truly strong, compassionate and inclusive human rights/social justice movement. One that provides space for all. We cannot and will not do this until we are breaking down walls and shattering glass ceilings. As a movement claiming to be for justice, we cannot and should not allow half of our community to remain on the outside. Our revolution requires and demands that we obtain greatness by utilizing as many talents as possible. If not, we are only creating a mirage of greatness.

This is important to us as a group. If we are to demand justice for our brothers and sisters in hospitals, jails and community-based programs, then we must demand justice for women, Blacks and other POC who are being discriminated against. We cannot continue to be silent while 50% of us are regulated to the back, and not allowed space at the table.

Our fellow community members are wounded by the silence. We expect and are now demanding to be treated better.

Speaking out against racism and misogyny within the movement should be first and foremost on the minds of all. We need to recognize the intersections within our movement and act accordingly. We can honor each other by offering intentional support to those who need it and ask for it in the face of racism and misogyny. We can hold each other accountable.

Holding someone accountable does not mean we are throwing them away, attacking them or not honoring or loving them. Holding someone accountable for their behavior can actually be a loving act.

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” — Shirley Chisholm

What are some next steps to healing for the Black community members within the psychiatric survivor/mental health communities?

It is okay to be angry, upset or cry in the face of the racism and oppression you face each day.

It is okay to tell white people who dismiss your emotions as overreaction or “reverse racism” that they have no right to devalue your feelings.

It is okay to let them know that you are no longer accepting conditional love, that you do not owe anyone forgiveness, and that your humanity is not for sale.

On local, regional and national levels, discussions with leadership and face to face meetings with community members are a must. Campaigns about mental health and wellness need faces that look like ours, and they need our ideas and input. We need to see and hear more speakers that look like us at conferences and on committees. When we see ourselves and when others see and hear us, minds and values change.

“Laws will not eliminate prejudice from the hearts of human beings.” — Shirley Chisholm

It takes hearts and minds to change bad behavior. Are we up to the task as a community?

* * * * *

If you want to do more:

CALLING OUT RACISM, MISOGYNY, and VIOLENCE in OUR MOVEMENTS: A PUBLIC NATIONAL FORUM
Date: August 1, 2016
Time: 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific
Facilitators: Kathryn Cascio and Lauren Tenney
Call-In Number: (605) 475-2090
PIN: 873270#

* * * * *

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Iden Campbell, CPRP
Iden Campbell believes that The Great Turning is happening, and though our generation may not see the full fruits of our labor it’s up to us to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to live their lives as freely as possible.

147 COMMENTS

  1. When faced on the battlefield with a numerically superior enemy, one must attempt to divide his enemy into smaller, more easily dispatched opponents – or even more ideally, divide them against one another, and have them defeat each other without ever drawing your sword…

    Never in human history has there been a more effective way for tyrants to rule over large groups of people who, should they ever learn to cooperate, would easily throw off such tyranny.

    I remember July 17, 2014, Eric Garner Killed over the sale of a loose cigarette and EVERYONE was outraged.

    It didn’t take long for the ruling elites to open up a huge can of divide and conquer, they knew the entire population was sick of the “police state” so they did all their sneaky tricks to make it all about race and left vs right politics. Don’t fight with us fight with each other…

    My favorite is “you can’t support social justice causes unless you support all the lefty ideas like big fat government running your life, high taxes, taking away gun rights, the “village” raising your child with some universal preschool complete with mental health care and lots of Ritalin for preschoolers..

    Hillary Clinton said the National Institute of Mental Health would dedicate more than $5 million to research ADHD and Ritalin use in preschoolers. The institute also released a fact sheet to help parents of children with emotional and behavioral conditions understand their options. https://www.madinamerica.com/forums/topic/hillary-clinton-calls-for-universal-preschool-with-child-drugging/

    I don’t know what else to write about divide and conquer but I see right through it, I will never vote for Crooked Hillary mother of Mass incarceration super predator speech maker bring them to heel.

  2. Iden,

    Yes, I remember Shirley Chisholm very well, and thank you for your article and for reminding us of her.

    This country was founded on racism. And a basic tenant of it has always been that the law cannot touch it.

    And Capitalism needs to have people it can subject to ritual humiliations. So it used to get this in people doing low wage labor, or people being held as slaves. Immigrants, minorities, and neo-colonialism provided for these needs.

    But as industrialization has continued to advance and we’ve moved into the information age, the need for cheap labor and slave labor is much less. But the need for people to subject to ritual humiliations has increased.

    So now, the middle-class family has been tasked with providing scapegoats. The middle-class family never would have existed if it weren’t allowed to convert children into private property and exploit and abuse them. It’s central dogma is the Self-Reliance Ethic, an overcoding based on Original Sin.

    And so today, we see pro-drug child scapegoaters and anti-drug child scapegoaters competing for market share. And the later are advertising on MadInAmerica. They used to call this Muchausen’s By Proxy, but today we just call it what it is, Medical Child Abuse.

    And we still have the idea that the law cannot intercede. Both groups of child scapegoaters are almost always committing felony failure to comply with mandatory reporting, and often felony child endangerment and felony child abuse.

    And so we have a huge untouchable cast which likely never will have any chance at anything like a ordinary life, living on prescription medications, street drugs, and alcohol, and anything which will protect them from the pain of living in a world where they are completely delegitimated.

    Capitalism needs this, in order to maintain discipline. And so while racism remains strong and lethal, there is a broader interest which it serves, along with middle-class child abuse.

    And Cat, I like your post.

    Nomadic
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/reply-to-rehumanizing-resistance-t305.html

    • You won’t like this post,

      Bash capitalism all you want but socialism is slavery. Socialism is just the new fashionable term for slavery.

      Venezuela’s socialism leads to slavery Tuesday, August 2, 2016

      According to CNN, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country’s fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended “if circumstances merit.”

      http://blog.acton.org/archives/88348-venezuelas-socialism-leads-to-slavery.html

      Socialism is a system in which the government owns or controls the means of production, and allocates resources and rewards. Like the plantation owners of the 17 and 1800s.

      And Hillary’s “Village” I hope that lady has a stoke before the possibility of election in November. I don’t want to live on that bitches village plantation.

      I see these polls on TV about Trump and Hillary disapproval ratings showing them to be about the same but what polls don’t show is disapproval level. People mildly disapprove of Trump wile people who disprove of Hillary Clinton hate that woman’s guts.

        • “Democratically control” You mean like the same process that gave us Crooked Hillary ??

          Wake up ! Tired ? Too bad, drop your babies off at the government institution, the “village” and get to work. Forget about payday, Crooked Hillary and her pals will decide the distribution of goods and services to the little people.

          Sounds like a nightmare to me.

          • There is nothing democratic about Hillary or the “Democratic” Party. You know that, and you know that I know that, so why are you spamming? If you want to criticize socialist ideas, you should at least take the time to understand what it is that you are criticizing and not just lazily rattle off nonsensical right-wing talking points from Fox News or Info Wars.

            I’m going to try and not talk about this anymore here, because it’s off-topic and I’d like to see the actual substance of the article get addressed.

        • But real socialism will never work, and imo, it will never work because it was based on Marx’s faulty assumption that humans are generally altruistic and will work communally for the common good. I don’t think this, in many cases, is reflective of human nature, because, as animals, we need to preserve ourselves and protect our self-interests. Socialism has only “worked” and I’m using this term loosely, with immense amounts of coercion. Socialism, as it looks today, is much, much more of a top-down approach, sneakily disguised as something that is beneficial to the majority. Just think back to the Soviet Union, when being anti-government was a mental illness. Does anyone want our lovely NIMH encroaching any further into our lives than they already are? Big government is a threat to all of us because they are so intricately linked with Big Pharma, and the like, and really, whose best interests are they looking after?

          • I wouldn’t confuse socialism in all its dimensions with one form of socialism. There are many different interpretations (& revisions) of Marx. There are socialisms as well that don’t have a thing to do with Marx. Marx didn’t invent socialism. It isn’t, therefore, Karl Marx’s faulty assumption.

            Also, if our basic assumption is that everybody’s supposed to be as bad as Big Pharma, where do you go from there? Into the pharmaceutical business? I think, in other words, there is something to be said for social justice and for virtue. How enlightened is self-interest? I know Lucifer means light-bearer, but, all the same, I’m not sure Hell is the best place for living human beings.

          • You have a flawed conception of socialism, at least as defined by Marx. There are no socialist countries today; Cuba is the only thing that’s close.

            Oh, and you think capitalism is not sustained by coercion? I believe you have an assumed ideology you may be consciously unaware of. The Soviet Union was socialist for a short time but regardless, don’t pretend American psychiatry didn’t do the exact same thing or worse.

  3. Look what I just found, wasn’t even looking just reading the news,

    ” The mom had been pulled over because her Toyota Camry didn’t have a license plate, police said. In its place was a piece of cardboard on which was written: “Any government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right to freedom.”

    When the officer gave her a ticket, police said, Gaines threw the citation out the window and declared that officers would have to “murder” her before she got out of the car. And when they went in to get her, Gaines resisted, police said. ”

    News
    Aug 2 2016, 6:23 pm ET
    Baltimore County Police Fatally Shoot Korryn Gaines, 23, Wound 5-Year-Old, Son http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/baltimore-county-police-fatally-shoot-korryn-gaines-boy-5-hurt-n621461

    Korryn Gaines, A 23-Year-Old Mother, Latest Black Woman Killed By Police

    They will do anything to keep using motorists as cash machines. Its not white Vs black it is oppressive government vs people. Wake up.

  4. Hi Iden,

    Thank you for your beautifully written and very powerful essay. I am appalled that a movement that claims a concern for justice would carry on such injustice. I find it especially awful that there are several folks who–rather than denouncing this flagrant racism and sexism–push for such prejudice to be discussed behind closed doors. So as not to have the movement discredited etc…. The message is: we’re fine with racism and sexism, just hide it so we can look good. These people have no right to be in a movement that purports to be concerned with social justice. For social justice should include all people who are oppressed–and be embracing of and empowering to all. And no one should be “regulated to the back” and all should “have space at the table.” This is the only path to true justice and freedom for all. Thank you for speaking up Iden! Please keep speaking up. It’s so important to bring this “monstrous wound” out in the open….

    In solidarity,
    Elizabeth

  5. I watched the two videos of the short-in-height “white” man expressing his outrageous agitation with the tall-in-height “black” woman. Whoever pressed click must have done so midway in this public altercation because the little white man was clearly very worked up into a frenzy and the first video was clearly not the beginning.

    I agree that the language he used was very derogatory. But then so was the language the woman used. She repeatedly called him a “little bitch” which was obviously intended to hurt him, because he was quite an exceptionally short man. He repeatedly called her a “see you next tuesday” which is not sexist. But is probably not the best word to diffuse a situation.

    I agree that racism and sexism are problems that need to be tackled in the open but I’m equally opposed to us all becoming feelings-driven reactionaries.

  6. You aren’t looking at a “situation” you’re looking at a video. The video commences some way into the situation.

    At the point the video commences two adults are exchanging insults. But what we don’t get to see is how it began and how it reached the point when the video starts rolling.

  7. I’m not sure exactly what the video in question is? However, I do want to say that I feel that some of us in this thread are getting off topic and in this way hijacking Iden’s essential message–which involves the brutal and deeply wounding reality of racism. Iden so bravely came out of the closet regarding the existence of racism in the movement. And yes, I think he is very brave and respectful to all of us because it would be so easy to just shut down and say screw this movement–considering the flagrant racism and sexism exhibited by a member in the movement and then the appalling subsequent cover up and the message of “just discuss the issue behind closed doors” so as to save public face.

    Iden is refusing to let the issue be locked up behind a closed door. I believe he takes a risk with all of us in coming forward, given that the racist incident was apologized for (and thereby condoned) and also closeted by certain folks within the movement. He writes with courage and passion and profound self and other respect. I believe we should all be standing up and applauding him–and asking “what can we do to combat this racism in the movement?” Well the fact is, he says it all so eloquently himself:

    “What are some next steps to healing for the Black community members within the psychiatric survivor/mental health communities?

    It is okay to be angry, upset or cry in the face of the racism and oppression you face each day.

    It is okay to tell white people who dismiss your emotions as overreaction or “reverse racism” that they have no right to devalue your feelings.

    It is okay to let them know that you are no longer accepting conditional love, that you do not owe anyone forgiveness, and that your humanity is not for sale.

    On local, regional and national levels, discussions with leadership and face to face meetings with community members are a must. Campaigns about mental health and wellness need faces that look like ours, and they need our ideas and input. We need to see and hear more speakers that look like us at conferences and on committees. When we see ourselves and when others see and hear us, minds and values change.”

    How about if we engage with what Iden has put forth so concretely here–and with all that he explores so powerfully in the essay at large?

    Racism.

    It’s real. It’s horrible. And we should focus on listening to and learning from Iden, who has endured racism at a core level (and what an amazing guide he is!).

    Why can’t we put racism–and the fact that it so unjustly exists in our movement and the urgent need to change this reality–at the center of this thread?

    Thanks for listening.
    Elizabeth

    • We need to see and hear more speakers that look like us at conferences and on committees. When we see ourselves and when others see and hear us, minds and values change

      This statement unfortunately borders on espousing tokenism. Where I live, “people who look like us” is a pejorative phrase used by many Black people to describe opportunistic Black politicians and the like who “front” for the oppressor by lending out their skin tone to promote racist policies.

  8. People were pointed to a video of the event which spurred the article writer into action. Unfortunately the video in question begins midway and depicts two adults, one black, one white, behaving badly in public. We live in highly reactionary times and I do my best to resist that.

    The reason I think it is wise not to be a reactionary is because you can inadvertently undermine what you believe in.

    Personally I am against racism. I am also against bullying and discrimination of anyone based on their physical or mental being.

    So while I would stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone being discriminated against or fighting against discrimination, I will resist becoming a reactionary.

    Even if a white middle class woman tries to whip me up into reactionary fervour, I will resist.

  9. Just to add it should not come as a shock to anyone that there is racism in any progressive movement. Racism is rife.

    Additionally there is lots of mentalism in the progressive mental health movements.

    Only the naive and blinkered would not know this already.

    I agree the racists and the mentalists should be outed. My natural inclination would then be to take them around the back for a good kicking, but as I have written above, I try and resist reactionary impulses.

  10. Now I have given this some extra thought. Why haven’t the racists and the mentalists been outed already? Everyone must have encountered racism and mentalism. Why didn’t they out the racist or the mentalist?

    Why did they keep their gob shut?

    I have written on here about the difficulty I have in life keeping my gob shut. And the difficulties I have with professionalism. The latter often entails maintaining a professional silence.

    People will go on turning a blind eye to racism and mentalism so long as it is considered an unwritten professional duty. And that’s where it becomes tricky. Racism and mentalism is acknowledged by all institutions nowadays as being a big problem which has to be tackled. But it is never adequately tackled.

    This is another reason why I think it is best not to be a reactionary. The behavior of the man in the video is objectionable, as is the woman’s. If you make a scapegoat out of him, you may destroy his life and potentially the lives of the people closest to him.

    All lives matter.

    • ‘All Lives Matter’ has its roots in racism and privilege, rasselas. I know that people who say it don’t overtly, necessarily mean harm (although some of them do). But it is nonetheless a statement that distracts from the discussion of race and really misses the point of why we’re having the conversation at all.

      If you’re willing, check out a portion of our (Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) last newsletter that focuses particularly on this issue: https://madmimi.com/s/a4dc78

      • Thanks for the helpful links. I took a while out of my continuing mental maelstrom and inevitable downfall to have a look. Yes, I have read a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement. That is why I understand why I, as a white man, of limited priviliege, due to mentalism and internalised self-disgust and wotnot, I make a mockery of myself if I figuratively hold the banner that proclaims, Black Lives Matter.

        It is not racist for me as a dispossessed white person to proclaim All Lives Matter. And your cursory treatment of the issue in the link does not convince.

        And I’ll be polite. I’ll tell you why.

        The Black Lives Matter movement arose from the realisation that working in partnerships with whites just got them nowhere. Our lot can’t be trusted. Soon as hands start being offered everything starts to get filtered down and things don’t change or get worse. The Black Lives Matter movement is a political slogan that challenges you to admit to why racism is perpetuated.

        They don’t want white middle class women like you speaking up for them. They don’t want white middle class women in their movement. For all your well-wishing and good intentions, they see you as the mechanism through which they have been endlessly compromised. Same goes with the white men too.

        So I appreciate and understand as best I can why this exclusivist movement has come to be. And why its core members would be horrified to see the numerous attempts of the white middle classes to assimilate their movement.

        And I respect the for that. Because it’s an alarm call and people need to wake up.

        Rather than act as their spokesperson or try and use their passions to improve your profile, you’d do better to work towards helping resources shift to them.

        Meanwhile, by saying All Lives Matter I remain true to my own ethos while avoiding the rather clumsy adoption of a slogan that is intended ultimately to shame me. Let them shame me. Let them shame all of us.

        But don’t call me a racist because I know my place.

        • Speaking ‘for’ is a tricky concept, here. I have no interest in taking up space speaking where someone of color has something to say on this issue.

          AND

          I have no interest in staying silent and acting as if people of color should be the only one’s speaking, or as if race is just a black person’s issue and all the weight of it should rest on their shoulders.

          AND

          I have no interest in failing to recognize that much of racism is actually a *white person’s* issue, or at least that it is in our hands to take responsibility for and change many key pieces that support it, and to educate one another as fellow white people.

          As a white, middle class woman, I do not need to be speaking for, but I do see myself as having a responsibility to speak at times, nonetheless… And not because I seek to win acceptance, but even in the face of continued, justified anger.

          To be clear, I’m not calling *you* a ‘racist,’ but I am saying that you are using language that is generated by a racist system that sometimes seems to be willfully misunderstanding ‘Black Lives Matters’ and actively seeking to distract from it.

          I hope that you will take time to reconsider.

          -Sera

          • Sera, with the greatest of respect and indeed admiration, I think you’re misreading the post. If there is terminology that is offensive to minority individuals, by all means, let us know. I was well, well, well into my 40s before I learned that to use the word “gyp” was to slur the Roma. Okay, so I never used the word again. I have another example but it’s for our trans gender friends. You know the one I’m talking about, I think. Rhymes with Granny. We can’t help if we don’t know the issues.

          • All you have listed you should have been doing anyway, prior to the Black Lives Matter movement even existing.

            Every organisation worth its salt has an anti-discrimination policy. Even the organisations which are held to be institutionally racist.

            There is nothing racist in insistenting that All Lives Matter. That’s inclusive. That includes all marginalised and discriminated against groups and individuals. A lot of the rhetroic comes across to me as overly emotive and maye even a little bit emotionally blackmailing.

            I don’t need a white middle class woman telling me that Black Lives Matter. I know this already. Nothing in my life has ever suggested otherwise.

            Here is yet another cognitive loop. I wasn’t going to post this as it may appear I’m just after the last word. But there can be no last word on a logical inconsistency.

          • rasselas,

            I feel confident that it is my responsibility – as, yes, a white woman – to speak to other white people such as yourself and say why ‘All Lives Matter’ *is* a problem. It is wrong to lay that responsibility solely (or even primarily) at the feet of people of color. That you don’t like hearing it from me does not particularly change that fact.

            ‘All Lives Matter’ is a problem… because it distracts from the issue of racism, silences people of color, and serves as a denial that – while yes, all lives do matter – some lives are not treated as such. It repositions white people in the conversation, and suggests that not only do their lives matter equally, but that white and black lives are currently valued the same. Perhaps that’s not what everyone means when they say it, but impact is often more important than intent, especially when intent is based in misunderstanding in the first place.

            I do not wish to over take Iden’s blog with a back and forth, but I do feel these points are important and again hope you will reconsider.

            Thanks,

            Sera

          • I hear what you’re saying Circa (and I imagine there are Blacks whose trust is so broken in the white community that they’d prefer for whites not to be involved)–but at the core of the Black Lives movement as it stands today is an invitation for all who stand against racial injustice to join in….

          • Take my hand my friend and we will rise together on the rays of the morning sun. For truly my heart is a rainbow, and your heart is a rainbow too, and we exude beauty. We truly do.

            Call me names until those sorrowful cows come home, but it won’t change who I am. I get the feeling you are another of my crew who never forgive me for disagreeing with them once about a minor issue no one can recall.

            I love you. Love me too.

  11. Iden,
    Thank you for this powerfully written piece. You eloquently point out so many critical points.
    1) With love in our hearts – we must be the change we want to see in the world.
    2) As we move forward it serves us all if we are always mindful of an inclusive framework- how do we include all voices everywhere. Those of us privileged, like myself – being white- we need to take a hard look at and work on healing from our internalized racism. There is no escaping racism particularly if you grew up in America. It is sold to us a “normal”. There is nothing normal about it.
    3) It would be helpful if there were opportunities to work on this within the movement. Frankly, the work I do on this is outside “mental health”. I will join the Forum this evening 8-3-16 – you have the call in info at the end of your blog post. It is also offered 8-9-16, same time.
    4) I would like to do more within the movement so we can create a safe space for white people to work on healing (being free from) our internalized racism and make people of the global majority more central in our movement.

    I could go on but will stop after adding that my MIA blog of last week was about some of my plans to address racism in my community. This issue is so important to me that I am making it more front and center in my life. I invite other white people to do the same. Imagine a world without racism and live your life that way.

    When you see it interrupt it and correct it. If you dont feel like you can at the time then do the work (internal and with other white people) so you can take steps towards ending racism in your life time.

    Taking action to end any form of oppression (rasicm, sexism, classism, able-bodyism, etc) affects all other forms of oppression. The invitation which Iden offered is to change our thinking and behavior, to be hopeful and move towards the lifting upward (higher) of everyone. How else can we build a genuine village where everyone is included. It starts with each of us as individuals – making a stand and a clear intention and then getting support to stay on track.
    Thank you Iden.

  12. I’m spending most of my time on Murphy right now so don’t have too much time for abstraction, however the origins of American psychiatry in racism and worse obviously need to be incorporated into everyone’s anti-psychiatry analysis.

    “Mental health” is the enemy of all of us, but especially Black people, so whatever is meant by “mental health activist,” I would consider that person my opponent from the start rather than be shocked by their contradictions, including virulent racism/sexism. Speaking of which, to not include Clinton and Trump in the same breath regarding this is a major misunderstanding and miscalculation. I’m also tired of hearing people talk about “revolution” when they don’t really have a viable explanation of what they mean by this. Ms. Chisolm, for example, is an admirable person but she is not a revolutionary.

    Just some grist for the mill. The fact that Lauren Tenney is on the panel reassures me that it will not succumb to such neoliberal illusions that Black and other disenfranchised people need “better mental health services.”

  13. What a powerful and relevant article! I love how MIA stays on top of what’s “now”. Mr. Campbell, I’ve noticed that you aren’t using “the activist’s” name. Perhaps that’s for the best. But, as it turns out, this man has written a Facebook post that (supposedly) gave the back-story of his racist outburst. I don’t know him and I wasn’t on that subway, so I can’t say for sure that his Facebook post was honest. But then, I read his “rebuttal” to this article where he’d told Lauren Tenney that he “won’t be ‘made an example of'” and that he hoped that she’d “get what she deserved one day”. Maybe he just has a really low tolerance for social media shaming, and that’s why he’s still more focused on his own reputation than he is on how he hurt that passenger on the subway. I don’t know. But I hope that, somehow, we DO find out what’s really important to him. If he still wants to stand beside us and labor for liberty and justice, then we have to know what kind of man he really is.

  14. Very powerful essay, and a challenge to all of us. We teach and learn by example. Those who practice and embody respect and unconditional love for self and others are the ones to whom I look to in leadership, because, to my mind, they ARE revolutionary change, and that will ripple out around them. Can be hard to find these examples, however. My personal observation is that this movement is filled with hate looking for a home.

    Thanks, Iden, for prompting me to take a good look at myself, especially in relationship to community, for the purpose of personal growth and expanded awareness.

  15. I would have squeezed the guy from video on the butt and when he turned around I would have said “thats enough stop it now.” If he continued I would have taken more intensive methods to make him stop. This is the kind of action you get from a Midwestern man because we are men with courage and integrity in the face of oppression.

  16. Different set of circumstances here in Australia. No good making advertisments for white folk in this place, we trashed the joint. Only made the people who were doing a pretty good job of looking after the place into humans in 1968. So we have a long way to go but ….

    Iden, if you can throw a brick of logic at some of the insanity of psychiatry as far as i’m concerned, yer in.

    Regards
    Boans

  17. I came back to read your article again, Iden, this one has really stuck in my mind. I’ve thought for a while now that here in the USA, at least, we have such an epidemic of social abuse and bullying, seems to be the order of the day. Trains, airplanes, buses, on highways–practically every day now I see videos of violence, either verbal of physical, pretty much always based on race or sexual orientation. People get violent over differences of color, sexuality, or even merely opinion. People kill each other now over simple disagreements–bully children in adult bodies.

    Perhaps that has always been, given our twisted history, but is this what we want to see continue? It’s like our entire society is stuck at regressed angry teen-ager or something like that. When are we going to grow up and act like reasonable and responsible adults? What has happened to that particular sect of society? Where did they go?

    I don’t think we can regulate people’s prejudices, we all have them one way or another. What’s awful is how people actually act on these prejudices and actively project their hate so actively and feeling justified in doing so. As far as I’m concerned, this is the downfall of society because when we actively practice hate, we are in sabotage mode, starting with self-sabotage and extending it to the collective in general.

    Hate is hate, and when we actively project hate, it is because we feel hate toward ourselves. I know that sounds textbook, but what else could be? We could all use inner work here, when we feel compelled to act on our hate. Self-regulation is part of growing up, learning self-control.

    Someone made us hate ourselves, so we hate them back. In the meantime, there is no love, no light, no trust, no faith, nothing good to see of feel here. And what would be the point of living that way? That is the underbelly of humanity. In a society filled with hate, who will be the first to actively project unconditional love, regardless? That would a revolutionary act, to my mind, and a pioneer.

  18. In the 1924 Sweets trial, Clarence Darrow talks about how, as long as one of us still harbors a single prejudice, discrimination will persist. We nurture those hatreds and feed them… What he was doing, defending eleven black men accused of the murder of one white man after he and a mob had broken all the windows of of their home invaded it… Was revolutionary, and he didn’t even realize. He told the all white, male, and prejudiced jury that we are all guilty of prejudice, but in this one moment, they could make history. All they had to do was be just… I brought up this case because imagine being so afraid to protect yourself that you allow a mob to threaten you and your family, brandish weapons, threaten your lives, and invade your home to get to you… That is marginalization and discrimination allowed to go unchecked. The gray rights movement created some upheaval… Good upheaval, but i think we are seeing a lot of violent or poorly considered actions as the balance of power is shifted. The first step is to stop acting like certain acts of discrimination are okay or acceptable.

  19. Wow, powerful article and comments. There is certainly racism in the mental health field. My upper middle class clients in my outpatient practice in an upper middle class white suburbia area of Massachusetts vs my community, inner-city clients, mostly poor African-Americans. Who do you think gets the “schizophrenia” diagnosis more? Whose mental health and physical healthcare is better? Why so much poverty among people of color? Decades of oppression and discrimination. Still much to fight against. Thank you, Iden, for your article.