Re: Semantics

P. Myers (
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 13:07:02 -0700 (PDT)

Graeme, I particularly respect your last sentence, as it connects groups
subjected to victim-blaming by those who might otherwise consider
themselves liberal individuals--or groups.

Every time we label and by so doing, condense the characteristics of a
person, group, race, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. into a composite and
less-valued because less-understood social contributor, we are all
weakened...and, other than the demonization of the group/person that has
occured, the worst part is that we feel we've done *something *good!

What happens when we maintain focus on the Other is that we strengthen the
politics of division; give ourselves a rationale for not taking a closer
look at our own fears, biases and assumptions (reasoning:  "after all, I'm
*trying to help!!")--and we redirect, and maintain social attention
redirected from what needs to change, in our system of institutions, to
build a more inclusive, informed and felexible citizenry.

Thanks for a post that made me think.  Pat Myers

On Tue, 14 Apr 1998, Graeme Bacque wrote:

> wrote:
> >
> >
> > A person who is mentally ill is not to blame for his or her illness
> > either.
> >                               
> As far as I'm concerned pathologizing peoples' issues of living as 'mental illness'
> is unscientific, unethical and I really question the validity of such diagnoses -
> these are subjective moral value judgements about how a person thinks, acts or
> perceives the world around them. This isn't valid clinical protocol... nor is it
> justification for depriving someone of their liberty without due process or proof
> of criminal acts, much less for the torturous procedures which masquerade as
> medicine under the auspices of psychiatric practice.
> When you proceed into the realm of political or social issues nothing serves to
> negate the reality of someone's experiences of abuse or oppression faster than a
> psychiatric diagnosis - once that label has been applied, a person's
> self-identified needs cease to have relevance, their voice is silenced and and a
> depoliticalization of personal circumstances  occurs. As activists we have an
> obligation to avoid this trap at all costs - it is all the more insidious due to
> its masquerading as compassion.
> --
> *******************
> Graeme Bacque
> <>
> (#2226799 on ICQ)
> ++Question and challenge *all* human 'authority'++
> **************************************************

"To live dangerously is to live
in the Borderland, where desire,
justice and love meet."
                    Henry Giroux