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View Diary: Should Racism be Listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders? (47 comments)

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  •  Your #4 comes closest to my thoughts. (3+ / 0-)
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    It seems like a bit of a cop-out to say that racism (which has been pretty institutionalized in this society) is just some mental disorder. I'm not sure that it is. It's obviously a huge part of society and has been that way for quite a long time. I think it reflects the way things work in this country and that's a MUCH bigger problem than a mental disorder. If we can't deal with the fact that this is how the country operates I'm not sure we'll ever fix that. People will forever see "incidents" of racism as a bad apple every now and then. I just think that would be bad.

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    by Scottie Thomaston on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:33:20 AM PST

    •  I don't think it's a true mental disorder. (0+ / 0-)

      At least not in the sense in which that term is used in common parlance.  As far as I know, there isn't any scientific evidence that racism is like, say, clinical depression, which appears to be caused by an imbalance of certain brain chemicals.  (I could be completely wrong about this, since this is way out of my field.)  Nor am I aware of anything suggesting that racism is innate, which is the case with certain other mental disorders.

      The closest psychological condition to which one might analogize racism is something like PTSD, a condition with which someone isn't born and which I don't think has a physiological cause, but which one develops in response to a particular external trigger, i.e., a traumatic event.  Of course, I'm not sure that the kind of steady indoctrination that turns us into racists should be classified as a kind of trauma, but PTSD is at least an example of a severe psychological condition that has an external cause.

      I realize I'm just rambling here, so I'll stop.  As I have said before, however, I do think that racism resembles childhood emotional trauma in that it becomes part of our psychological makeup.  For this reason, I don't think it can ever truly be eradicated from our brains.  At best, we can recognize its influence on our thoughts and emotions, and once we are consciously aware of it, we can try to make better choices.

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      by FogCityJohn on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 03:19:06 PM PST

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