You’ ve Got to Be Carefully Taught


If racism, as many right wingers are claiming, is a mental illness, there a lot of mentally ill people in the world and too many of them are given access to guns. But the Republicans who can’t seen to admit that the murder of nine black women and men in a church in Charleston, South Carolina by a 21 year old male, white supremacist is an act of racial terrorism of the black community, not mental illness. Racism is taught. You have to be taught to hate and fear, you have to be carefully taught. The United States has a problem racism that a good many prominent whites are refusing to admit.

Why the GOP Hates Talking About Hate: Conservatives Can’t Confront Racism in Charleston Shooting

By Ana Marie Cox, The Daily Beast

In the 24 hours after the massacre inside Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, GOP politicians and members of the conservative commentariat have tried to explain Dylann Storm Roof‘s motivations on a spectrum that runs from merely murky to the explicitly anti-religious.

They have taken pains to avoid the abundant evidence that Roof was a sadly familiar figure: a young man motivated by racism to violence.

Louisiana Governor and passive presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal inserted the shruggie icon into the debate, averring that we should defer to the expertise of police detectives in sussing out the connection between Roof’s documented history of racist sympathies and his perhaps coincidental murdering of black people: “Law enforcement will figure out what his so-called motivations were.”

South Carolina Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham pointed out that it’s Christians who are the serial killer flavor of the month: “It’s 2015, there are people out there looking for Christians to kill them.” His fellow campaign traveler Rick Santorum opined that the slaughter was part of a larger “assault on religious liberty.” And Rand Paul blamed the massacre on “people not understanding where salvation comes from.”

Fox & Friends couldn’t help dumbing down the debate by framing it simply as an “Attack on Faith,” while anchor Steve Doocy wondered aloud how people could “unbelievably” “call it a hate crime.”

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?

By Althea Butler, The Washington Post

Police are investigating the shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in an effort to terrorize the black communities that those churches anchored. One of the most egregious terrorist acts in U.S. history was committed against a black church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. Four girls were killed when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, a tragedy that ignited the Civil Rights Movement.

But listen to major media outlets and you won’t hear the word “terrorism” used in coverage of Tuesday’s shooting. You won’t hear the white male shooter, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, described as “a possible terrorist.” And if coverage of recent shootings by white suspects is any indication, he never will be. Instead, the go-to explanation for his actions will be mental illness. He will be humanized and called sick, a victim of mistreatment or inadequate mental health resources. Activist Deray McKesson noted this morning that, while discussing Roof’s motivations, an MSNBC anchor said “we don’t know his mental condition.” That is the power of whiteness in America.

U.S. media practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans and Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs, motivated by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolfs – Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston already emphasized this shooting was an act of just “one hateful person” – violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion. Even black victims are vilified. Their lives are combed for any infraction or hint of justification for the murders or attacks that befall them: Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie. Michael Brown stole cigars. Eric Garner sold loosie cigarettes. When a black teenager who committed no crime was tackled and held down by a police officer at a pool party in McKinney, Tex., Fox News host Megyn Kelly described her as “No saint either.”

That has been evident today on both Fox News, who trotted out conservative racist Rich Lowery, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was pushing the mental illness meme. Heavens forbid, they should call Dylann Roof what he is, a racist terrorist.

Along with Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Ms. Butler discussed the double standard with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman.



Transcript can be read here

No, people, racism in NOT a metal illness but it does have an effect on the mental state of its targets.

Racism Is Not A Mental Illness

By Julia Craven, The Huffington Post

Racism is not a mental illness. Unlike actual mental illnesses, it is taught and instilled. Mental illness was not the state policy of South Carolina, or any state for that matter, for hundreds of years — racism was. Assuming actions grounded in racial biases are irrational not only neutralizes their impact, it also paints the perpetrator as a victim.

Black people, on the other hand, do suffer actual mental health issues due to racism. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the media digs into Roof:

   Black people are often expected to “shift” away from our cultural identities, which can heighten our vulnerability to depression and other psychological issues, as well as cause us to internalize negative stereotypes.

   Racial discrimination, according to The Atlantic, increases the risk of stress, depression, the common cold, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, hypertension and mortality — all of which exist at high rates in my community.

   Race-related stress is a stronger risk factor for mental duress than stressful life events are.

   Black people’s physical health takes a hit as well due to the perception that whites want to keep us down.

   Racism created socioeconomic barriers that also can be detrimental to black mental health.

   For black women, the common “strong black woman” trope leaves no room for mistakes, which can force black women to internalize perfectionist tendencies in terms of our professional and academic work, our bodies (which are held to European standards) and our social lives. This leads to a tendency to not seek help and, in turn, heightened suicide rates. {..]

Racism isn’t a mental illness, but the psychological, emotional and physical effects on those who experience it are very real. And I’m exhausted.

It is long past time that American and the news media stopped skating around the issue that racism has gotten worse in this country. Racial hatred needs to be confronted not buried under the guise of mental illness.

1 comment

    • TMC on June 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm
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