ERIC Number: ED222615
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: N/A
Racism and Mental Health: An Exploration of the Racist's Illness and the Victim's Health.
Bowser, Benjamin P.
The field of mental health has had difficulty in developing an adequate conceptualization of racism as a mental health problem. Based on conventional classifications of mental illness, racism might be described as a functional disorder. The racist, however, appears quite normal except for a paranoid disorder in the area of racial relations. The more obvious impact of racism tends to appear in the victim of racist actions. Hence it is often only the victim, and not the racist, who emerges as severely dysfunctional and in need of professional care. Obviously, further exploration of the nature of racism as a mental health problem requires a perspective on mental illness that differs from the conventional view. In exploring racism and community mental health, the source of successful coping among blacks should be an important area of study. The fact that the black rates of institutionalization are not higher than they are, considering the devastating effects of racism, suggests that support from black community life has a significant influence on the emotional resiliency of blacks. (Author/MJL)
Descriptors: Black Community, Black Culture, Blacks, Community Role, Coping, Cultural Influences, Mental Disorders, Mental Health, Psychiatric Services, Racial Attitudes, Racial Bias
Not available separately; see UD 022 565.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper originally given at the Annual Community-Clinical Workshop (6th, Lanham, MD, November 4-6, 1976).