The APA’s apology on January 18, 2021 for decades of psychiatry’s racist harm comes when “mental health” research funds are now available to study the impact of racism and will lead only to more minorities being targeted and drugged.
After more than 175 years, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has issued a formal apology for what it says is psychiatry’s “role in perpetrating structural racism” and “history of actions...that hurt Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” (BIPOC). Responding to the statement, the Task Force Against Racism & Modern-Day Eugenics says the apology is not accepted and needs to go much further.
Rev. Fred Shaw, a spokesperson for the Task Force said the APA’s admission comes too late and is potentially prompted by the fact research funds into the impact of racism have become available. He said that “as a member of the Black community, I don’t accept the apology, it’s disingenuous and linked to vested interests—to profit from the abuse of our community.” “Psychiatry,” he said, “has demonstrated to the Black community that it cannot be trusted. These are the people that laid the medical model for racism, who backed the eugenics theory of Black inferiority and never truly considered Blacks as human. Now, they want to poor gasoline on the fire by finding another way to capitalize and maximize on Black suffering.”
APA needs to provide specifics similar to what the German psychiatric association did when it publicly apologized in 1999 and 2010 for its role in the Holocaust, and more.
CCHR said it asked the APA in 2013 to issue a public apology to those impacted by mental health eugenics policies, of which racism is one—steeped in false claims that certain races were inferior and shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.
CCHR’s demand to the then APA president, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, followed CCHR’s successful campaign for the German psychiatric association (DGPPN) to publicly apologize and admit to its role in Nazi psychiatric euthanasia and killing centers during WWII:
The Task Force Against Racism & Modern-Day Eugenics was formed in support of the 2020 protests against racism throughout the U.S. It was critical of the American psychiatric and psychological associations for failing to admit to their role in racism but, instead, asserted racism causes a host of mental disorders, which requires more access to treatment.
In June 2020, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) posted the statement: “The APA believes that all forms of racism and racial discrimination affect mental health” and stressed that anyone upset by the civil unrest ongoing seek psychiatric treatment.
Rev. Shaw warns such statements are self-serving. The hand offered as help is the hand of betrayal, given psychiatry’s history: “The offer opens the door to capture and profit from the African American market, redefining the effects of oppression as a ‘mental illness’ that ‘needs’ to be ‘treated.’ APA doesn’t warn that this means more treatments that have already harmed African Americans in the past. Meanwhile, additional funds go into the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry pockets. We’ve seen this all before.”
Shaw points to the 1960s, when psychiatrists invented the term “protest psychosis” to describe Blacks participating in the civil rights movement. It was used to stereotype Blacks as aggressive, with claims that Blacks protesting developed delusions and “dangerous aggressive dealings.”
He adds that unlike the German psychiatric association that revoked all honors of those DGPPN presidents and officers involved in euthanasia/sterilization, there’s been no similar action taken by the APA with its current apology.
The APA statement also says:
However, Rev. Shaw advises that the BIPOC community to look at the history of the psychiatric treatments given them that have harmed in the name of mental health care, including psychotropic drugs with debilitating physical and mental side effects and electroshock treatment. He says: “While the APA president says, ‘we hope to make amends for psychiatry’s history of actions,’ those amends shouldn’t include more damaging treatments and labeling the response to oppression and racism as a ‘mental disease.’ We need to see accountability for the impact of APA ‘perpetrating structural racism.’”
Megan Brooks, “APA Apologizes for Past Support of Racism in Psychiatry,” Medscape, 19 Jan 2019, https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/944352?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=345404PY&impID=3143084&faf=1
In Memorium,” German Assoc. for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (DGPPN), 1999
“Psychiatry under National Socialism – Remembrance and Responsibility,” Speech by Prof. Frank Schneider, Nov. 2020, https://www.dgppn.de/en/Core-areas/psychiatry-in-time-of-National-Socialism/speech-schneider.html#0;
Frank Schneider, M.D., “Psychiatry under National Socialism: Remembrance and Responsibility,” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 261, Article number: 111 (2011), https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00406-011-0243-1
“Registered, persecuted, annihilated: the sick and the disabled under National Socialism,” DGPPN, https://www.dgppn.de/en/Core-areas/psychiatry-in-time-of-National-Socialism/travelling-exhibition.html; https://www.dgppn.de/en/Core-areas/psychiatry-in-time-of-National-Socialism/stations-of-the-exhibition-1.html
APA Condemns Racism in All Forms, Calls for End to Racial Inequalities in U.S.,” 1 June 2020, https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/apa-condemns-racism-in-all-forms-calls-for-end-to-racial-inequalities-in-u-s
Jonathan M. Metzl, The Protest Psychosis, How Schizophrenia became a Black Disease, (Beacon Press, Boston, 2009), p. xiv.
Volker Roelcke, "Eugenic concerns, scientific practices: international relations in the establishment of psychiatric genetics in Germany, Britain, the USA and Scandinavia, c.1910–60, History of Psychiatry, 1 Nov. 2018, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0957154X18808666
Gary Null, Ph.D., “The Hidden Side of Psychiatry,” https://issuu.com/ariox/docs/the_hidden_side_of_psychiatry
“On Indigenous Peoples Day, recalling forced sterilizations of Native American women,” Minnesota Post, 14 Oct. 2019., https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2019/10/on-indigenous-peoples-day-recalling-forced-sterilizations-of-native-american-women/
“APA's Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for Its Support of Structural Racism in Psychiatry,” 18 Jan, 2021 https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/apa-apology-for-its-support-of-structural-racism-in-psychiatry
“Historical Addendum to APA's Apology to Black, Indigenous and People of Color for Its Support of Structural Racism in Psychiatry,” 18 Jan. 2021 https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/historical-addendum-to-apa-apology