For generations eugenics—the fraudulent, dehumanizing and harmful psychological theory that certain races of color were not equal to whites and, therefore, “deserved” fewer rights—has been used in the mental health system and in other social policies to justify horrific oppression of African Americans and minorities. The normal, painful reactions to this oppression, tyranny, injustice, and inflicted hardship and emotional stress through racism, has been and continues to be disingenuously diagnosed as a “mental illness.” As such, the current offer of “mental health” services to treat the impact of racism is suspect—another example of pervasive racial targeting and discrimination, over-representing African Americans as “mentally disordered” to potentially drug and electroshock them. In actuality, this is harm in the name of help from the very ideology that helped create modern scientific racism in the first place.
While horrific deaths from violent restraint procedures may have been recognized, unless the underlying psychological and psychiatric eugenics mind-set that has allowed modern racism to continue is addressed, it leaves in place the system responsible for it—only to further permeate society and steal more African American lives.
As the author of a 2019 book on medical racism pointed out: “When the concept of race is used in medicine and pharmacology, it continues to assert that minorities are 'other' human beings."
It must be recognized that behavioral “sciences” laid the groundwork for modern day medical and mental health racism, stereotyping African Americans and targeting people of color as potentially violent to be “restrained,” to deny them equality, to segregate their children in “special education,” incarcerate and subject them to potentially harmful psychiatric treatment.
Behavioral organizations that have historically indoctrinated this eugenics monster into the healthcare and medical fields should publicly apologize to African Americans and minorities subjected to it. In modern medicine, medical students still maintain the false and damaging eugenics-based concept that African Americans feel less pain than white Americans; studies show this has often resulted in sub-standard medical treatment. The “father of American psychiatry” Benjamin Rush called this “pathological insensibility” in the late 1700s.
This mental health declaration is aimed at defining and remedying institutional racism in the mental health system and to denounce psychiatric, psychological and eugenicists false theories that African Americans are genetically inferior or less intelligent than whites.
Every man, woman and child of any race is entitled to basic human rights set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Applied to the mental health system, the following articles are especially relevant and important.
All persons have the right to be treated with dignity with the following rights legislatively protected and with the recognition that eugenics and the behavioral sciences have been a source of denying these rights.
1. The right not to be subjected to harmful and unscientific psychological or other behavioral/eugenics-based profiling, diagnosis and racial targeting.
2. The right to full informed consent, including:
3. The right to have a thorough, physical examination by a competent medical doctor of one’s choice, free from racist “eugenics” influence, such as the absurd concepts of “black hardiness,” “black people’s nerve endings are less sensitive than whites.”
4. The right to refuse any psychiatric or psychological treatment.
5. The right to be free from forced psychiatric or psychological treatment against a person’s will.
6. All persons should have access to State-paid legal representation to defend and protect their decisions to refuse psychiatric treatment and to prevent involuntary admission to any psychiatric or behavioral facility.
7. The right to have an accountable and provenly effective mental health system, in which physical and chemical restraints, electroshock treatment, psychosurgery and brain-invasive or coercive treatments are prohibited.
8. After full information is provided on all holistic and other alternatives, the right to choose the type of therapy to be employed, and the right to discuss this with a doctor, other health practitioner, advocate or minister of one’s choice.
9. The right not to be physically and/or chemically restrained, with such practices prohibited in psychiatric and behavioral facilities.
10. The right to have legal counsel or advocacy to take legal action to file civil or criminal complaints or lawsuits about treatment damage and human rights violations in the mental health system.
11. The right to discharge oneself from a psychiatric or behavioral facility at any time and to be discharged without restriction.
12. The right for parents to pursue non-harmful, non-psychopharmaceutical drug treatment and educational solutions for children with emotional or learning problems. The right to insurance coverage for non-harmful, proven medical therapies.
13. The right to be free from psychological and psychiatric profiling, including mental health screening in schools and the use of any racially-biased screening in the health, educational, foster care, judicial and criminal systems. This includes an end in the use of stigmatizing labels that redefine people’s stress and normal emotional responses to racism and oppression as “mental illness,” predisposing African Americans and minorities to incarceration and damaging treatment.
14. The right for children and adolescents to grow up drug-free and have access to well-funded educational, art, music and sports education, and after-school and summer programs that provide them with the skills and abilities to survive better in life and their future.
Christine Aromando “Adjunct Professor Explores Race-Based Medicine in New Book,” Seton Hall University, 7 Mar. 2019, https://www.shu.edu/arts-sciences/news/adjunct-professor-explores-race-based-medicine.cfm
Janice A. Sabin, Ph.D., MSW, “How we fail black patients in pain,” Association of American Medical Colleges, 6 Jan. 2020, https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/how-we-fail-black-patients-pain
“The Revival of Raced-Based Medicine: Eugenics, Religion, and the Black Experience,” Marginalia, 18 Oct. 2019, https://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/revival-of-raced-based-medicine-eugenics-religion-and-the-black-experience/
Prof. Thomas Szasz, M.D. The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement, Jan. 1970, p.155.
“The unwelcome revival of ‘race science,’” The Guardian, 2 Mar. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/02/the-unwelcome-revival-of-race-science; Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and ClassStructure in American Life(Free Press, New York, 1994);
Geoffrey Cowley, “A Confederacy of Dunces” (a review of Herrnstein’s article in the Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, 22 May 1989, p. 80 https://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/revival-of-raced-based-medicine-eugenics-religion-and-the-black-experience/