Friday, June 19, 2015

"It’s Not About Mental Illness" by Arthur Chu.

Powerful piece by Arthur Chu over at AlterNet in which he discusses the bias of white-Media and the way in which they're quick to point to mental illness as the trigger behind acts of violence when the perpetrators are white men.

I've seen a lot of tweets about this in my feed, and I'm in agreement.

There is very little information out about the suspect behind the Charleston, South Caroline shooting of yesterday, yet "mental illness" is already linked to his media coverage. Chu (and most of the Twitter-sphere I follow) are all quick to point out how mental-illness is a cop-out to avoid the real conversation of context, as Chu lists "race, guns, hatred and terrorism."

Chu goes on to site a study that shows that people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of crimes. The red-herring of mental illness is used as away to avoid

We’ve successfully created a world so topsy-turvy that seeking medical help for depression or anxiety is apparently stronger evidence of violent tendencies than going out and purchasing a weapon whose only purpose is committing acts of violence...
...Well, “mental illness” never created any idea, motivation or belief system. “Mental illness” refers to the way our minds can distort the ideas we get from the world, but the ideas still come from somewhere.
... Dylann Roof is a fanboy of the South African and Rhodesian governments. As horrific as Roof’s crime was, the crimes that occurred over decades of apartheid rule were far, far worse, and committed by thousands of statesmen, bureaucrats and law enforcement officials. Were all of them also “mentally ill”?
 ..The reason a certain kind of person loves talking about “mental illness” is to draw attention to the big bold scary exceptional crimes and treat them as exceptions. It’s to distract from the fact that the worst crimes in history were committed by people just doing their jobs–cops enforcing the law, soldiers following orders, bureaucrats signing paperwork. That if we define “sanity” as going along to get along with what’s “normal” in the society around you, then for most of history the sane thing has been to aid and abet monstrous evil.
No doubt there will be a lot of interesting conversation about what's going on in the states right now. Mental illness should not be getting the traction that it's getting. Mainstream outlets like Fox have been avoiding the issue of race altogether, which is completely insane to me (and to most logical citizens).

Just yesterday morning I was watching Canadian coverage that threw to an American affiliate who did not use the term "hate crime" or "terrorism" and was very docile in his language use. He didn't even mention it being a black church, he just referred to it as a church. The Canadian anchor, a black woman, re-phrased the question for more information on the community and her attempt was completely dodged.

My heart goes out to those suffering through this. It's a brutal crime. As an outsider to what it is to be American, there is a lot of this I don't understand. Mainly the cultural obsession with guns and the Charleron Heston "cold dead hands" mentality of gun-ownership, and the way in which the confederate flag is still proudly displayed.

There's a piece over at The Atlantic about taking down the confederate flag. I just don't get how people can still argue it isn't a symbol of racism and segregation.
You cannot remove the flag from its context...

I'm sorry this happened. I wish I could offer support to all of those suffering through this.

Be safe.

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