Schizophrenia and Race

From C. S. Soong’s excellent Against the Grain.


The diagnosis of mental illness has always been colored by social biases, but a striking shift occurred during the turmoil of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Jonathan Metzl describes how African American men became disproportionately diagnosed with schizophrenia, which was reclassified as a disease of the violent, and how that skewed diagnosis continues to this day.

Jonathan Metzl is the author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease (Beacon, 2009).

3 thoughts on “Schizophrenia and Race”

  1. I personally know Black Africans who studied in Europe (Denmark) in late 1980’s, and came back to their native countries mentally ill,caused by racism they faced and suffered from, and of course the doctors were quick to give medicine.

    This is not something I say lightly.

    Thanks for the link and the book. I will check later.

  2. Let’s not overlook the nutrition factor…if you are used to the sun and you go to Denmark, then if you are not suplimenting with Vit D, you could get an emotional/cognitive lack based on interrupted biological responses. I often think that is why the vikings while out to sea turned into what were called Berzerkers, but when they were socialized into farming instead of seafaring, they were more productive than most and very intelligent. Your Biology makes your Biography.

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