As a sociopathy, white supremacy is passed from generation to generation in the same sense that genes are passed from one generation to the next. To be sure, white supremacy need not be actively taught to young white children – or black children. On the contrary, white kids may be reared in outwardly “nonracist” homes and taught to see blacks as people after all. But, it is the entire social milieu outside the sheltered home into which all people of all “races” are born and bred which normalizes, legitimizes and, in fact, requires the “natural” oppression of black people.
Racial microaggressions are the brief and everyday slights, insults, indignities and denigrating messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned White people who are unaware of the hidden messages being communicated. These messages may be sent verbally “You speak good English.”, nonverbally clutching one’s purse more tightly or environmentally symbols like the confederate flag or using American Indian mascots. Such communications are usually outside the level of conscious awareness of perpetrators. In the case of the flight attendant, I am sure that she believed she was acting with the best of intentions and probably felt aghast that someone would accuse her of such a horrendous act.
Even within mainstream psychiatry, few continue to argue that the increase in mental illness is due to previous under-diagnosis of mental disorders. The most common explanations for the mental illness epidemic include recent over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, diagnoses expansionism, and psychiatry’s pathologizing normal behavior.
This isn’t something new, in the Soviet Union, a systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place and was based on the interpretation of political dissent as a psychiatric problem. Mental illness has been used for political repression, those who were/are non-conformant and do/did not accept the beliefs of authority figures like government agencies face labels that do not represent them at all, and have no scientific backing what so ever.
After perusing the output of some of the finest brains in the therapy profession, I’ve come to the conclusion that misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it. In other words, when your living conditions are stable, peaceful, and prosperous—no civil wars raging in your streets, no mass hunger, no epidemic disease, no vexation from poverty—making yourself miserable is a craft all its own, requiring imagination, vision, and ingenuity. It can even give life a distinctive meaning.