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Reply #68: Black people and mental illness [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-29-07 08:06 PM
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68. Black people and mental illness
In order to justify slavery of the black Africans, a pseudo-psychological concepts were developed to show that black people were mentally inferior had to be enslaved for their own good, and that white people were superior and were obligated to enslave these inferior people.

Some prominent writers of the time, most notably Dr. Samuel Cartwright and Prof. Thomas R. Dew, were staunch defenders of slavery. Dew first published Review of the Debate in 1832. The purpose of this text was to influence the atmosphere, and create a theoretical justification of slavery. It was then later on quoted greatly by Dews intellectual successors from William and Mary College. Dews intention was to view slavery from a dispassionate approach. Dews efforts were mainly to explain what might occur if slavery were to be abolished.

Being a southern physician, Cartwrights explanation of Negroes' inferiority was regarded as psychological. He saw them as people that who were not capable of performing curtain duties. Cartwright claims this very explicitly in his Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, and also shows the length to which he would go to defend slavery as a result of a psychological problem in black people. He created and decribed the condition drapetomania, or the disease that causes Negroes to run away.

These writers, and others, have set the stage for creating the psychological and mentally inferior mindset about those not-white that US society suffers today. According to NPR's "Bridging the Gap" series, 30% of white people surveyed (2006) still hold negative views of black people. Remember, "The Bell Curve" was a best seller--and black people didn't put it on the best seller list.
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