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

147
624

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#

* * * * *

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

***

Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.

147 COMMENTS

  1. Iden,
    Thank you for this powerful essay and your call to action! I’m with you and agree that there is much day to day work to be done to challenge and change racism and misogyny. I also thank you for reminding people never to let their feelings be disrespected.
    In solidarity,
    Cindy

    Report comment

      • Okay, I will (with trepidation). I must say that at first blush “Trump supporter” and “psych rights advocate” aren’t two descriptors that seem to go together. I don’t follow American politics anymore but it seems to me that Trump’s people would likely be NRA types and the gun lobby and the psych rights movement are at loggerheads, no?

        On a completely note, could I ask you something? I’m writing a book about the psych rights movement and I’d like to use the title “Set My People Free.” Is that offensive? I realize it’s a line from a spiritual but on the other hand Jim Gottstein at PsychRights often draws parallels between the two struggles. What do you think? I could really use your input.

        Thanks again for your piece. You write very, very well.

        Report comment

        • Circa,

          I’m sure Iden can speak for himself on this point, but as a white person trying to be an ally I want to speak up, too… I think there’s a substantial difference between recognizing parallels and intersections (or even how psychiatry has been used as a tool of social control within the realm of racism, and so on) and appropriating language and experiences.

          In general, I really do believe that it is problematic to take and use as our own the language of experiences we have not gone through… Or to recognize the similarities without also recognizing and respecting the differences.

          I do think it is upon us to find our own language for this movement and these struggles, and so I’d vote against using that title, for whatever you find that vote to be worth.

          Sera

          Report comment

          • Anything that has “as a white person” contained in it indicates I’m not going to like the post. Sorry, Sera. I do admire your work and I want to be your ally. There are no BLACK/WHITE/BLUE/ALL Lives Matter movements that are going to be taken seriously. Where do you read stuff? Like, what news sources do you use? Forget about the Glob for now. Look around, surf the net, you’ll find what you need. I know you can do it and I believe in you, Sera.

            Donald Trump is going to be your Fucking President! This is the best thing that’s happened to the USA in my entire 50 years. I’m applying for dual citizenship pronto.

            Report comment

          • Circa,

            It’s hard to take some of your responses seriously. It feels to me as if they (some of them) are just designed to poke at people and get a rise. I hope you won’t distract from the topic of racism which is where the comments on this blog need to stay.

            -Sera

            Report comment

        • Circa, I believe it very important that we as a movement find language that model our beliefs, pain, and trauma. With that said any language that play off slavery and the lynching movement in America is very harmful and not Trauma-Informed. We are a healing community and it is important for all of us to realize how words play into furthering the pain that many have forced to endure.

          Report comment

  2. 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. http://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.

    Report comment

  3. 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

    Report comment

    • 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.

      Report comment

        • “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.

          Report comment

          • 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.

            Report comment

        • 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?

          Report comment

          • 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.

            Report comment

          • 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.

            Report comment

      • John C. Calhoun of South Carolina used to always say, “I can hitch up my wagon, load up my slave, and go anywhere I want, and no government has any right to stop me.”

        That is nuts, but it is exactly that sort of thinking which powers the Right today. He is placing slave ownership above state law and state constitutions, above federal law, and seemingly even above the federal constitution.

        He is placing it above everything, but he still expects the law to protect him from constituted popular sovereignty.

        Trying to enforce this is what led to war, things like having to deploy 3000 Marines, who would assemble in a square and draw their sabers, to rendition suspected escaped slaves through Boston harbor, and dragging them over the marker commemorating Crispus Attucks, a probably escaped slave and the first to die in the cause of American independence.

        Excellent Book:
        https://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Freedom-Citizenship-1829-1889-ebook/dp/B006CUDF9K/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1#navbar

        And it shows how the rejection of pity seeking, and disgust over Harriet Beecher-Stowe’s character of Uncle Tom were where what mobilized the Black Abolitionist community.

        Yale’s David Blight
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXXp1bHd6gI&list=PL5DD220D6A1282057

        But as it applies here today, its more like, “I can gas up my mini-van and take my kids to any doctor I want, and CPS has no right to stop me.”

        Middle-class child abuse has always revolved around doctors and we do have mandatory reporting laws, but these doctors don’t comply with it.

        And then most of the survivors of the psychiatric system don’t understand that it all originates with the middle-class family and child exploitation.

        Nomadic
        http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/free-expression-f2.html

        Report comment

  4. 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.

    Report comment

  5. 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

    Report comment

  6. 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.

    Report comment

  7. 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.

    Report comment

  8. 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

    Report comment

    • 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.

      Report comment

        • Anti-racism is not about politics?

          Actually there is a focused and substantive discussion of some of these issues in Will Hall’s blog you might want to join, in which I have criticized, among other things, the inherent racism involved in white people presuming they have the right to “endorse” or not “endorse” Black-led struggles.

          It would help if you responded to my points without putting words into my mouth in the form of rhetorical accusations, though I’m happy to answer sincere questions.

          Report comment

          • My words
            “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”

            When people see themselves they tend to respond in positive. When people don’t see themselves sometimes its turned inward and becomes self hate, low self esteem etc. This goes for all groups. Women, LGBT, Black, and other ethnic minorities. White has been the default skin color for far to long in this country.
            When people saw that LGBT folks had long term relationships some spanning two and three decades they saw this as a oh, their like me. This helped win the marriage debate in public an with the SCOTUS.

            Your words
            “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.”

            All communities are different. What happens in your community doesn’t necessarily happen in mine.

            Report comment

          • I don’t think anti-racism is about politics. The reason we can’t get in front of this dog is because we want politics, and legislation to change peoples minds and hearts. It won’t happen.

            I have personally asked some white folks to speak out and do more than share articles on FB,or retweet on Twitter. If a white person is coming from an open heart and willing o accept what may come from the Black community in reference to their article, bog or whatever then I applaud them for stepping up.

            Endorsing on the other hand no. Not unless you are specifically asked by a Black group or Black folks to endorse a movement. Black folks are not puppets or children that need the affection of our oppressor or their children.
            You actually sound like one of those white folks right here. “Actually there is a focused and substantive discussion of some of these issues in Will Hall’s blog you might want to join” Trust me if I wanted to join the discussion I would have.

            Report comment

  9. 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.

    Report comment

    • The video was just one catalyst. Having worked in the field of MH recovery since 2002 I am simply tired of moving within a mirage of justice. I deserve better and so do the many women that face misogyny on a daily basis at work, conferences and other public events.

      Of course there was a beginning before the person started recording, and I am certain we would have seen more of the same behavior at the begining.

      Report comment

  10. 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.

    Report comment

      • I agree with you that these issues should be discussed out in the open. But I would also insist on there being a full sharing of the facts. You could well be right that the outrageous man in the video was equally outrageous at the beginning of the incident, but you may also be wrong.

        The openness you seek and rightly so isn’t currently available because, the way I see things, people are afraid to speak out against the colleagues who they rely on to back them up when embroiled in other injustices.

        This seems to be particularly true in the mental health industry. The professionals maintain a professional silence because every which way you turn there is some human rights abuse occurring.

        I don’t know how you would go about surmounting these issues. What I have found in life is that speaking honestly and openly about human rights abuses gets you stigmatised as a troublemaker.

        Report comment

      • One of the main reasons Occupy didn’t last was due to the rampant racism and sexism within many of the urban camps such as NYC and DC.

        No doubt. You might also have mentioned the vicious police attacks on encampments across the country.

        Report comment

  11. 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.

    Report comment

    • ‘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

      Report comment

      • 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.

        Report comment

        • 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

          Report comment

          • 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.

            Report comment

          • 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.

            Report comment

          • 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

            Report comment

        • Nice try.

          “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.”

          It is always best to get it from the horses mouth as to why they created something.

          “So she composed a love note to black people on Facebook, urging them to come together to ensure “that black lives matter.”

          “Her friend, Patrisse Cullors, a community organizer from Los Angeles, spotted the Facebook post and put a hashtag in front of those three words. #BlackLivesMatter was born.”

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/03/04/alicia-garza-black-lives-matter/24341593/

          Report comment

    • This person isn’t being made a scapegoat. The video is just one of the many daily insults that Blacks and other POC encounter within the MH community on a personal and professional level.

      Many people don’t speak our for fear of losing income, friends, access to support, and housing. You know why folks don’t speak out, I shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone.

      Maintaining professional silence is a must in this community if you want work, invitation to speaking engagements etc. I know of many people who sit silent with pain, humiliation, and trauma due to sexism, racism, and misogony within the MH movement.

      Report comment

  12. 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.

    Report comment

    • “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.”

      Thank you for shedding light in your article to a discussion on privilege and racism that heats up quickly. I like the statement above. I take feedback best from those who care about me and give it in a way that I can hear it. Then there’s all the systemic crap that is harder to change, but change is definitely in the air.

      Report comment

    • Most can do this without cost to themselves personally or professionally. The question is are you willing to do it?

      “When you see it interrupt it and correct it. If you don’t 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.”

      Thanks Lauren!

      Report comment

  13. 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.”

    Report comment

    • “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.”

      When you become the first of anything let me know. Revolutionary is stepping up to be the first when others have been afraid or have told you to wait your turn.

      I’m revolutionary…I’ve been many a first.

      “Black and other disenfranchised people need “better mental health services.”
      We need equitable care without racism being part of the equation.

      From your responses on my other blogs you are surely one of those I seek to out.

      Report comment

      • Sounds a little hostile…anyway, that’s a very liberal definition of revolutionary. In this historical age “revolution” is considered, at its most basic, to be the struggle to overthrow white supremacy and all the other institutionalized “isms” by ending capitalist/corporate rule, as well as imperialism. Without the appropriate collective action all the consciousness-raising in the world isn’t going to help. Power cedes nothing without a demand.

        There are political prisoners I never hear you mention, Iden, who have been rotting in Amerikan prisons for decades as the result of their understanding of the pure wickedness of this system, understanding which they refuse to compromise to be more “mainstream”-acceptable. So there’s revolution and there’s “revolution.” It’s important to know the difference.

        Being the “first” is an individual goal, not a revolutionary one btw.

        Report comment

        • Your impression of hostility is just that…your impression. You are free to ask me if I was being hostile in my reply and I will gladly respond.

          Being the first isn’t always an individual goal unless one states such. Being first in many cases for Black folks means breaking down doors, ceilings and walls that systemic oppression has built.

          As far as political prisoners are concerned I don’t know of any folks that are political prisoners from the MH communities. If I am wrong please provide links so that I may learn about them. Otherwise this blog is not in relation to the prison industrial complex or political prisoners or exiles.

          I know what revolution is. I’ve lived it, I have family members that were a part of the Black Panther Party in NYC, SNCC. I grew up around revolutionaries.

          My people period are revolutionaries. Think of all the benefits you have because of the civil rights movement.

          Report comment

          • If you disagree with something specifically that I said you should make yourself clear instead of beating around the bush. And if you know what revolution is why do you refer to liberals or even social-democrats as “revolutionaries”?

            Report comment

          • Oldhead, I said what I had to say to you. From my conversations with you on another blog. I have no time for folks like you. Your view on politics are yours, your definitions of politicians and their views are yours. You will never change my view and I am not trying to change yours. This blog is my personal view point from personal lived experience. If you don’t like it don’t read or comment on it.

            Report comment

          • One good thing about MIA is that the archives are open for people to read the record and come to their own conclusions about such attacks.

            I think in this case it shows that I posed sincere and seriously considered questions about a number of issues and your response has been to ignore them and insult me. That’s fine though, check back with me in a few years.

            Report comment

  14. This may seem repetitive but the “inspiration” for this blog seems to be the behavior of a “mental health activist.” What, pray tell, is a “mental health activist”? How is this distinguished from an anti-psychiatry activist?

    Report comment

    • There are many definitions and groups within this movement. I can talk to 5 different folks at a conference and they will all have different language and definitions depending on the region and group of folks they associate with. I used the word that I am familiar with and I assume you are doing the same.

      You say anti, I say mental health.

      Report comment

      • The inconsistent thing to me with this blog is that you basically excoriate a member of something called the “mental health movement” — i.e. one of “your” people — as though he’s an anti-psychiatry activist. And while there are racial issues to be worked out everywhere and always I don’t envision a responsibly and collectively organized anti-psychiatry movement ever empowering such a person to represent us. If we ended up doing so by mistake we would be expected to thoroughly examine how it happened and take measures to prevent it from happening again. Whatever prompted this individual’s explosive tirade it had nothing to do with the anti-psychiatry movement; it’s primarily the “mental health movement’s” responsibility to deal with it. We don’t encounter too many people espousing such a cause at MIA.

        Report comment

  15. 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.

    Report comment

    • Thanks for reading the blog, J.

      I have not seen the post he made on Facebook. This blog was written without knowledge of that post. It is not my intention to shame this person, I do however want to point out as I have on some my other blogs that racism and misogyny are very prevalent in the MH communities and we have folks who are hurting because of them. We also have fresh wounds to help heal because many folks have seen the video, also worked with this man and were friends with him for decades.

      Report comment

      • Your welcome. And I didn’t mean to say that *you* were shaming him. Right now, one of his big problems seems to be the thousands of internet trolls who are shaming him by watching and commenting to his unflattering videos. They’re sucking him into their craze for sleaze “news” and he’s become so humiliated and dejected by them, that he’s lumping all of his critics into one over-inclusive category of “enemies”. The majority of unwarranted criticisms of him are draining all of the energy he needs for addressing the criticisms of his behavior which DO merit his attention. What to do, what to do.

        Report comment

  16. 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.

    Report comment

    • Thanks, Alex!

      We all have work to do. I certainly have lots of work to do around race and misogyny. Being open and willing to grow will get us to where we need to be. There are many hateful things happening within the MH communitiy, But I also know personally of some really amazing and wonderful people who are willing to change and are doing the work to change the way we treat each other.

      We as a community with many sub-groups within have to challenge ourselves to stretch and grow to meet these challenges. The folks I consider revolutionary that are looking at new ways to create a loving community have my admiration and love.

      William Kellibrew and Leah Harris and their work around Trauma, Lauren Spiro and her self reflective work around Trauma, self-love and healing, and Sharon Khuen and her work around sirituality and the Work that reconnects, and Sera Davidow powerful blogs that continue to wake up many folks. These are just a few of the people who are living the future now.

      Report comment

      • “Being open and willing to grow will get us to where we need to be.”

        Indeed, so well put, and I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I believe it is the uniqueness of this movement in particular, as it centers around an industry that is supposed to be all about personal growth and healing, and which fails us exactly there.

        So now, we have an opportunity to be the example of personal growth and change, ourselves, as a community, which is what the system stunts and undermines. Healing, growth, and personal change (whatever that may mean to anyone) will not only help people to feel better, lighter, and more grounded, and therefore improve the lot of society, in general, simply from experiencing newfound well-being, but it will also completely invalidate current mental health practices altogether. In fact, it will become glaringly evident to everyone just how incompetent and useless–in fact, terribly counterproductive–that field is, if the anti-psych movement is actually a community of well-being. What better and more salient example of change can there be? The means completely support the goal.

        Report comment

        • Indeed! I totally believe we can shift the focus in this country to focus more on well-being if we can shift it within the community first.

          The splintered groups have to come together somehow and be willing to be more involved with each others planning processes, we have to be constantly moving and evolving to get there. Which I’m totally okay with.

          Report comment

          • These are exactly the examples we portray in a film I made a few years ago. First, we get our own clarity, then we can extend it to others in a way they can hear, because we are coming from the heart, the language of which is universal, to those attuned to it. To my mind, that is the shift to make, to attune to our hearts, to discern how something feels from the inside vs. how it is observed from an outside perspective. Inner change = outer change and as well inner peace = outer peace. Can’t see it being any other way.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtDGxJWmj5w

            I had to dodge a lot of bullets to get this out there. The agency with which I was involved did not like that I used their platform like to criticize the system and call the entire field of ‘mental health’ into question, so we had a nasty “divorce” here, but that only served validated our voices with even more resonance, I think. So interesting how one has to re-interpret things for the purpose of activism.

            Thanks for a groundbreaking blog and discussion, Iden!

            Report comment

          • Thank you, Iden, I hope you find it to be supportive of truth, courage, and integrity in creating change. We’re all a work in progress. I honestly believe that never ends, not even after we experience physical death.

            Hat’s off, and very best wishes to you.

            Report comment

          • I’ve also had a chance to watch your film, Alex. And I’m so impressed with how candidly and courageously the people in the film discuss all the prejudice surrounding “mental illness.” This really resonated for me. I am also struck by the beautiful level of self respect and self determination (refusal to just lay down and fit into or obey the remarkably oppressive and demeaning and intrusive status quo “box” designated to the “mentally ill”). Great job. Thanks for putting this out there! Much needed!

            Report comment

          • Elizabeth, thank you so much for your kind words and validation of our voices! Means a lot to me what you say.

            Speaking for myself, it got to the point where I had no choice but to go as public as I could with these issues. When it comes to this level of social abuse and stigma, there is neither reasoning nor empathy from “the system”–whether the mh system or power-imbalanced family systems. I believe that speaking our heart’s truth and telling our ever-fluid stories our way, front and center, is the way to freedom of social oppression, and therefore, healing in all ways.

            I’ve taken a lot of heat since putting this out, which was part of the learning and healing process. That stigma is downright insidious!

            So we evolve ourselves and, in the process, disempower the toxic systems and eventually make them obsolete. That’s my idea of non-violent revolutionary change.

            Report comment

          • Thanks so much for your response, Alex. You say it all so beautifully…. And yes, I couldn’t agree more–that speaking our “heart’s truth” is the way through–on all the levels you describe. And while it is empowering and healing for the speaker, it is also empowering and healing for the listener, such as myself. So it’s this amazing chain reaction that helps to free us from our isolation and the world’s oppression. And I am so grateful to you and the other people in your film for having the courage and the tenacity to speak out and to spread truth/light into all the darkness…. Amazing (but sadly not surprising) to me that you’ve taken a lot of heat for putting this film out…. Sorry to hear that and I wish the world were a better place….. But as you say, we evolve ourselves and gain freedom from and disempower “the toxic systems.” And yes, I agree that’s truly the “non-violent revolutionary change.” I love your vision!

            Report comment

          • “So it’s this amazing chain reaction that helps to free us from our isolation and the world’s oppression.”

            This gave me chills to read, Elizabeth, yes indeed! I liken it to the underground railroad going above ground. I believe this is a most exquisite transformation to witness. Finally, we can celebrate being human, every bit of it. We are certainly all in it together, no doubt about that–and that includes everyone, even those on whom we look back in scorn. We are all one humanity.

            The heat came mostly from the agency where I made this, which was yet another awakening for me. I hadn’t expected to discover their duplicity in advocacy, but lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened, so it is yet another chapter in my story. Amazing, yes, and in fact, rather mind-boggling.

            Fortunately, I’ve had many nice comments like yours and Iden’s, and others on here. Screenings were always exciting when I was doing them, and rich with very interesting and multi-dimensional discussion. The truth-telling led to family healing, too, which was most rewarding of all.

            Thank you again and I am so grateful this has all resonated with you. You and Iden have made my day 🙂

            Report comment

          • Thanks so much for your kind words, Alex….

            And yes it’s so tough and “mind-boggling” as you say–when a presumed ally/advocate turns out to be duplicitous…. I know all about that. So much better to know what’s what from the start…. However, I’m so glad that the sharing of the film turned out to be rewarding/healing! And deservedly so 🙂

            All the best to you in your ongoing journey, Alex! Keep on shining that light….

            Report comment

      • Why would anyone need to ‘out’ David Duke about his racial politics, when his entire political career has been built partly on his racial politics?

        This article is proposing a public outing of racists that are currently hiding in the closet.

        I’m with Ben Carson. “‘Of course all lives matter — and all lives includes black lives’

        Report comment

        • This article is proposing a public outing of racists that are currently hiding in the closet.

          Seriously? I must have missed that part, I couldn’t really figure what the main point was other than that white people are racist, or that “mental health movement” people are secretly consumed by racism, which is certainly possible.

          Anyway, there are no “closet racists.” All white people carry some degree of racism around with them, it’s just a matter of degree. So that’s about 200,000,000 people to “out,” someone should get busy.

          Report comment

  17. 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.

    Report comment

  18. 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

    Report comment

  19. 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.

    Report comment

      • At least the internet has provided us with a window into all of this, a reflection of our own vast humanity. Before this, many people in our segregated society thought of social ills as ‘out there,’ rather than noticing that it is within all of us, how we were raised, by family, community of peers, and the media.

        When abuse, discrimination, and physical and psychological violence toward one another becomes so dominant and visible as it is now, change is inevitable. I would say, at this point, it’s out of anyone’s hands, other than the individuals who know how to trust the process of change and transformation. Not everyone does, which is especially challenging.

        The momentum of radical change is upon us and moving swiftly. I’m sure this upcoming election has everyone on edge, and the alarm bells are going off loudly and wildly. I would predict that the next couple of months will shed light on quite a bit that will shift the collective perspective dramatically. That’s my hunch.

        Report comment

  20. 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.

    Report comment

    • “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…”

      30th Sept 2011 I found out that this is the role of our government. All in the ‘hunt’ for mental illnesses which seem to be hiding in peoples bed rooms, and we need to ensure it has nowhere to hide.

      Report comment

      • And this is something I believe is worthy of deep consideration by those who believe Black Lives Matter. In a country where Murphy type laws already exist, it isn’t rich white neighborhoods where the new police needle squads are patrolling. And with the Minister authorising the drugging of suspects without their knowledge and the planting of knives on those suspected of having a mental illness? Well, looks like they have us surrounded lol

        Report comment

      • That handful of sand was a moment in time when as a Nation, Australia put aside the differences in the colour of our skin and did what was right, and not what would benefit power and privilege. It still brings tears to my eyes today.

        Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned after. Gough Whitlam removed by the CIA, the carpetbaggers moved in on the Commonwealth, and turned it into Private Wealth, and these people are still as badly off today as they ever where under white rule (possibly worse).

        But it gives me hope that it is possible with work to put prejudice aside and do what is right.

        Thanks for the great discussion Iden, and all that have contributed to this comment section.

        Report comment

  21. 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.

    Report comment

LEAVE A REPLY