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The Cashier

Posted on November 15, 2016 in Campaign 2016 Citizenship

White men know what it can be like to be alone “with the boys”.

Stigma: Blaming the Victim, Denying the Victim

Posted on September 17, 2015 in Netiots Psycho-bunk Stigma

Blaming and denying the victim are calculated to avoid responsibility.

What is Stigma?

Posted on May 6, 2015 in Accountability Bigots Stigma

The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came.

Umberto Eco

square874Let me start out by stating that I do not believe in “self-stigma”: I believe in guilt, shame, and despair but labeling these as “self-stigma” cheapens the meaning of stigma. There may or may not be a motive behind the invention of this term, but the result is that it implies that the people who are the principal victims of stigma are in a conspiracy — or confederacy if you prefer — against themselves.

To further explain what stigma is and isn’t, let me use a parallel that was laid out to me by a friend who was explaining certain terms used to describe race relations. White people often accuse African Americans of being racist, too. African Americans dispute this. My friend — an African American woman — acknowledged that African Americans often hold deeply seated racial and ethnic prejudices. But this isn’t racism because racism requires another element: power. White Americans are in a position to make their racial prejudices inflict suffering on the lives of African Americans. Witness, for example, the unwritten DWB (“Driving While Black”) policies of certain police departments including “America’s safest city” (for white people) Irvine, California. The policy is enforced when a black person drives through the city of Irvine. Because of their skin color, they are assumed to be up to no good and pulled over for some minor infraction. The result is that they are made to feel unwelcome in this college town. That is a ~comparatively~ “mild” example, but American history is rife with other exemplars up to the present day.

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The Stigma Against Treatment

Posted on April 9, 2015 in InterNet Debates Mean People Psychotropics Stigma

When the bricks fall, they tend to fall on my side of the wall.

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Bipolar is an Adjective, Not a Noun

Posted on April 1, 2015 in Bipolar Disorder Ettiquette Hatred Psycho-bunk Stigma

square859Flickr has a group called “Bipolar Photographers” of which I am a proud and prolific member. The other day, I tweeted the name and the url of the group. Another person reteeted my announcement but “corrected” it: “Photographers Living with Bipolar Disorder”.

Two weeks before, I was at a Mental Health First Aid group. One of the participants called herself “bipolar”. The presenter stopped the introductions and shamed her. Was this supportive?

Now I think these interventions are plain rude. The owner named the group what he named it. It is not for anyone else to change that title. Modeling may be appropriate — I call myself a person living with bipolar disorder when we introduce ourselves in group — but correcting someone — especially in a public place — smacks of grandiosity and arrogance.

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Bipolar Disorder in a Time of Hate

Posted on January 30, 2015 in Bipolar Disorder Campaign 2004 Campaign 2010 Campaign 2012 Hatred Propaganda Violence

What does one do in an America of violence, alienation, and stigma?

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