Ok… I get “Diverse News in Higher Education” daily. Most of the articles are good and make sense for academia. But the article below made my brain itch. The gist of it is this: Dealing with and avoiding racism makes black folks crazy (sorry meant to say-creates “mental health issues”).

I pulled a whut? O_o!?! face at that because as far as I know I’m not crazier for having to deal with racism, and this albeit short article smacks of creating a crutch for another problem in Black society. Yes, racism is alive and well… I’m not even going to try and argue that its not. I know things aren’t in the world aren’t a kumbaya, lets sing campfire songs and be pals kind way. But to intimate that just dealing with racism is enough to reduce blacks to having the crazy (in a medicated, can’t deal with the world/stressed out kind of way) is insulting to me as a black person.

It’s along the lines of something that EG says all the times. It’s like people treat blacks as if we are these fragile things that can’t be insulted, can’t be treated as full adults in society by some people cause we just can’t handle it. It’s like the race is almost going back to being treated as incapable of caring for itself due to the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room with a “Hi! I’m racism shirt” on that hinders any kind of productive, open and honest discussion on racial issues. It seems that until black folks say ok, here’s what is pissing me off with whitey and whites do the same there will be no open dialogs just more Bill Rileyesque bullshit where he discovers that Black Folks actually sit down and eat in restaurants like *gasp* normal human beings without hollering motherfucker every few minutes.

That’s my twenty cents. Here’s the article for your review:

From Diverse Online – Current News
Scholars: Institutional Racism a Mental Health Issue For Black Youth and Families
By Margaret Kamara
Oct 21, 2007, 21:08


Some behavioral problems in Black youths can be attributed to their effort to protect themselves from racism, and is a “manifestation of depression,” one researcher told a panel at the seventh annual Diversity Challenge Conference at Boston College.

Dr. Anderson J. Franklin, the Honorable David S. Nelson Professional Chair in Education at Boston College, also noted that dysfunctional housing, such as group homes and foster care, and poor schooling are factors that put children at risk of developing mental disorders. Therefore, Franklin said, the anti-social acts cannot be treated with a simple diagnostic because the issue is deeply rooted in society and institutions.

The way to combat mental issues for youths and their families, Franklin said, is to “treat the illness of institutional racism … a disease that has legal consequences as well as mental consequences.”

Franklin was among the more than 100 educators, physicians, clinicians, community activist, psychologists and graduate students who participated in the two-day Diversity Challenge conference sponsored by the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture. The conference, entitled “Race and Culture Intersections in Scientific Research and Mental Health Service Delivery for Children, Adolescent, and Families,” focused on youths and families for the first time since it began in 2000.

“In the last seven years [since Diversity Challenge was founded] children have never been a focus and looking at research there is very little about race, culture, adolescent and families,” said Dr. Guerda Nicholas, co-chair of Diversity Challenge. “And so we wanted to give [researchers and professionals] an opportunity to learn how” to conduct studies on these three areas together.

The Center for Mental Health Services estimates that 20 percent of children and adolescent have a diagnosable mental disorder and many, lacking access to health insurance, don’t receive the proper care.

The Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture at BC started in 2000 under the direction of Dr. Janet Helms, chair of Diversity Challenge, as a way to help the Boston community and the nation deal with societal conflicts that are associated with race and culture.

The theme for next year’s conference is “The Intersections of Culture, Race, Trauma, and Mental Health across the Life Span.”

“Talking about race and diversity is not an easy thing,” said Nicolas. “It’s a challenge and we hope that each year we challenge people to think about race in every aspect of what they do.”

One thought on “I can’t believe this article…

  1. I don’t necessarily disagree with the article. I do believe that dealing with racism creates a considerable amount of stress for a person, from either side of the coin and no matter what color they are. And sure in some cases that could lead to serious mental health issues.

    Something I find to be more lazy than anything is that considering all the races in this country and in the world, whenever people think about and want to do a study on racism, it’s automatically about Blacks.

    But I could easily see an alternate path for myself where growing up dealing with racism in Atlanta since I was 4 could have sent me into a deep depression and disconnect, but I overcame that. Not everyone may seek out and have enough positive influences and social support to do so. Still others outright refuse to try, content to blame racism as the root of all their troubles.

    It’s a complex issue and everyone’s experiences are different. — But I’m sure my friends will tell you that my crazy, ain’t got nothing to do with racism, that’s all me, baby. 🙂

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