Racism is NOT a mental illness…

And those who say it is are themselves part of the problem

Georgia NeSmith


Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

To call racism a mental illness is to remove the individual’s responsibility for his own actions and to hide the social purpose those actions serve — i.e, reinforcement through terrorism of racial inequalities and white supremacy.

Calling Dylan Storm’s CHOICES a mental illness is like suggesting Hitler wouldn’t have created and imposed “the final solution” on Jews if he had had counseling once a week and maybe a pill or two.

Unlike racism, mental illness cannot be TAUGHT! Do you think schizophrenia can be taught? How about depression? Bipolar disorder? Do you think people are or can be taught how to be bipolar?

Hate is not a mental illness. It has to be taught.

The very fact that hate IS taught is all the necessary evidence one needs to prove that hate is not a mental illness. You cannot teach someone how to be mentally ill.

Yes, racism is illogical. Yes, it derives from illogical, unprovable assertions — but so does the idea that the world is flat and the universe is just sort of a bowl that exists high over our heads. Just because something is illogical doesn’t make it a mental illness.

You can teach someone how to act as if they are mentally ill. But you cannot teach someone how to BE mentally ill.

Nor is selective ignorance a mental illness. Racism is grounded on ignorance combined with hate that is targeted at a socially defined group of people. That ignorance COMBINED with powerful institutional support for it constitutes the seemingly intransigent social construction of the powerful, systemic phenomenon we call racism.

This country was BUILT on racism. From the genocide of the aboriginal peoples to slavery to Jim Crow to de facto segregation to racial discrimination in all of our institutions … Not a mental illness.

Mental illness is something INDIVIDUALS have. It is not something that can be taught nor is it the foundation of our country. Greed, jealousy, hate, the need to feel superior, the Biblical justifications for all of…



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.