From Our Desk: Changing Minds and Reflections on God

From Alexander Carpenter, executive editor:

Last week, I wrote on the first day of the Adventist Bioethics Conference at Loma Linda University. The second day of the great event featured two talks by Jonathan Metzl, director of the Vanderbilt University Department of Medicine, Health, and Society. I found the first one particularly fascinating. It was about his 2009 book, The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease. He showed how schizophrenia moved from being mostly associated with docile women to becoming a “black disease” during the civil rights era. As this review of the book in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes, he makes his case using “US medical journals, newspapers, magazines, pharmaceutical advertisements, studies of popular opinion, music lyrics, oral histories, and films.” Combining his medical training with research into material and popular culture provided a rich and surprisingly deep understanding of how racism is constructed and institutionalized. “Far from resulting from the racist intentions of individual doctors or the symptoms of specific patients, racialized schizophrenia grew from a much wider set of cultural shifts that defined the thoughts, actions, and even the politics of black men as being inherently insane,” states the abstract by the American Psychological Association. “Ultimately, The Protest Psychosis provides a cautionary tale of how anxieties about race continue to impact doctor-patient interactions, even during our current, seemingly post-race era of genetics, pharmacokinetics, and brain scans.” Here is Metzl presenting this work on C-SPAN.

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Thanks for these book reviews; I am inspired to READ.

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