But it’s something I feel like talking about anyway.
As the Democratic presidential primary race drags on, I have become more acutely aware of my skin color. When I watch CNN or read the news, the political analysts are always breaking down the demographics of who’s mainly voting for Clinton (working-class whites, older women, and those with a maximum high school education) and who’s mainly voting for Obama (young people, African Americans, and affluent whites). All I hear about is race, race, race. In the end, I feel like Obama’s candidacy has brought race to the forefront not seen since, perhaps, the 1980’s.
But this post is not about politics.
Speaking of race, I stumbled upon Ephphatha, a blog from an African American woman looking to raise awareness of mental health in the African American community.
She linked to two News & Notes series on npr that focus on the lack of appropriate care to Blacks in the mental health community. This gets me thinking: If Blacks, how much more so other racial/ethnic minorities, e.g. Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Indians, etc. Is it really true that Caucasians a.k.a. white Americans receive better mental health treatment than other races and ethnicities?
It appears so.
Politics is a dangerous territory to discuss. Especially since there’s much emotion and fervor regarding this presidential race. I don’t normally discuss politics on this blog but this is something that has been bugging me as of late. I’d like to share my view with my readers so people can get a black woman’s perspective on this issue. By the way, I said “black” intentionally.
At this time, Senator John McCain is (pretty much) the Republican nominee. The Democratic nomination could go to either Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Barack Obama. (I personally think Obama will end up winning the Democratic nomination, but that’s beside my point.)
This post addresses the highly popularized contest for the Democratic nomination between Clinton and Obama. In recent news, Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to ever run for vice president, said the following:
“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”
Here’s my brief disclaimer: If you are so passionate about politics that my opinion might cause you to stop reading this blog, I suggest you don’t read any further. I also don’t plan on engaging in long debates about politics either; it’s too much of a merry-go-round. But, since you’re human, you’re probably going to click the link below anyway.
Author Morenike Fasuyi blasts the United Kingdom’s mental health system as being less than inadequate for Africans. I don’t doubt it.
I do wonder about Fasuyi’s seemingly sheer hatred for anyone of European descent (in America, we’d refer to them as “white” or “Caucasian”). The article seethes with anger.
“The general consensus suggests that African people have to work twice as hard as their european counterparts in every aspect of our social, cultural and economical existence in order to make ends meet.”
This also is the case for Black Americans.
Fasuyi explains how she’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but says her disorder is mainly triggered by things related to Africa: “slavery, politics, oppression.” Her turning point was on May 1, 2004 when “it was as if [her] ancestors called” upon her and “removed the scales from her eyes.” She refers to Karl Marx when speaking about “groups” – Africans – who are oppressed and eventually rise up and lead a revolution. In addition, she believes the numbers 7 and 9 relate to the African people and that 2007 could be the year when “division within the African community” would be “homogenized[d]… to effect change.”
As a Black American, I know that African people truly value their ancestors and even practice ancestry worship. This is where I believe she is coming from. To any other nationality, Fasuyi is crazy (no pun intended). It wouldn’t surprise me if her mental health status file read, “bipolar disorder with psychosis.” Not knowing about African ancestry worship can make any doctor of non-African nationality misdiagnose Fasuyi. To be able to accurately help her, she must be accurately understood.
She asked for an African psychiatrist who might have a cultural understanding of where she was coming from. She mentions this was a slow process since “there [were] hardly any.” She also asked for an African social worker but was given “an insensitive male european (sic) social worker who adversely affected my health with his actions, racist remarks and incompetence.”
She takes a nice jab at Big Pharma and pharma reps, too:
“Maintaining you within the system keeps consultants in their jobs and increases the profit of the pharmaceutical industry, which has a turnover of billions.”
Zyprexa; Cymbalta, anyone?