How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends
April Harter, LCSW

I’m not comfortable referring to racism as a mental illness. It is not a medical condition, it is a learned behavior. Comparing it to a disease is one thing, but actually calling it a mental illness is irresponsible.

While I understand the desire to approach it from the angle of cultural psychology, I think it should be made clear how that differs from more “traditional” mental illnesses which are rooted in biology. To ignore this distinction is to risk being perceived as being insensitive, not to mention the fact that it creates a potential excuse for those who do not wish to change their behavior.

As someone who suffers from a biological mental illness, I initially found this article extremely insulting. If anything, I think it really shows how far we still have to go with regards to mental health awareness. Having said that, I do appreciate the attempt to raise awareness about how we deal with racism in our more immediate circles.

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