Friday, 21 February 2014
Why mental illness and xism are not the same:
1. Firstly being mentally ill and being a bigot are not the same thing. A mental illness is just that an illness. You might as well equate having chicken pox and bigotry, and by doing so? You would imply that chicken pox is somehow the fault of the person whose body is expressing the illness.
To equate the two is as good as saying that mental illness is chosen, because we as a society still think of bigotry as being a deliberate dehumanisation or deliberate ignorance of dehumanisation, even radical spaces treat bigotry as deliberate by default. You will never see them start from the assumption that someone is unaware, it's always starting from the assumption that people who say or do bigoted thing know exactly what they're doing. So basically by conflating the two the idea that mentally ill people know exactly what they're doing and their mental illness is "put on" gets reinforced.
People can make an active effort and choice to work against being being bigots, there is no such effort that can be made to stop being mentally ill, whether we get better or not isn't something we can simply manage via effort
2. The second thing is as I've covered before? Equating the two, lets mainstream society off the hook. It's easy to say that bigots are the other.. Equating it with mental illness puts bigotry outside what we think of as the norm and puts it as what a small group do rather than addressing how it's normalised within our communities.
It's relatively easy in such a structure for privileged people to go "Xism is what stupid/crazy people do" and from there go "I'm not stupid/crazy so therefore I'm not a bigot". Bigotry is part of the norm, it is normalised in our society, we don't think of it as odd or abnormal, so when you define bigotry as being like something society considers to be odd or abnormal, then you define it as being something "other people do" by default.
We've got to start treating bigotry and by extension bigots as a normalised party of society that needs tackling, not as the invisible 'other' or even "lunatic fringe". Bigots are can be personable gentle and kind people who we would never expect to be hateful. In fact tbh, I find the more mainstream and respectable the person? The more of an asshole they are to oppressed minorities.