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The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease Paperback – April 12, 2011
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Up until the 1950s, the overwhelming majority of those diagnosed with schizophrenia were white. They were the delicate or eccentric -- poets, academics, middle-class women like Alice Wilson in The Protest Psychosis, "driven to insanity by the dual pressures of housework and motherhood."
Then, in the mid-1960s, the Long Hot Summers hit urban America. Smoldering anger over racism and poverty erupted into rioting, fires, and harsh repression. In Detroit, a police raid on a party triggered an uprising that left 43 dead, 1,189 injured, and more than 7,000 arrested. Convinced that they would never win civil rights through sit-down strikes, a nascent Black Power movement became increasingly militant.
Coincidentally, just as this urban unrest was reaching its zenith, the American Psychiatric Association was busy revising its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Published in 1968, the DSM-II was touted as a more objective and scientific document than its 1952 predecessor.
"However, the DSM-II was far from the objective, universal text that its authors envisioned," writes Metzl. "In unintentional and unexpected ways, the manual's diagnostic criteria -- and the criteria for schizophrenia most centrally -- reflected the social tensions of 1960s America. A diagnostic text meant to shift focus away from the specifics of culture instead became inexorably intertwined with the cultural politics, and above all the race politics, of a particular nation and a particular moment in time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's hard to recommend this book. From the beginning Metzl makes no bones about his controversial thesis. Read morePublished on October 30, 2013 by MaxMillin
I made a video on black violence that specifically addresses some of the ideas in this book.
[... Read more
I am a junior in college and read The Protest Psychosis for a class called Medicine, Healing, and Experimentation. Read morePublished on April 23, 2013 by Raymond A.
Although Metzl claims to critique how psychology as a field has unfairly diagnosed disproportionate numbers of Blacks with schizophrenia, he does not achieve his goal. Read morePublished on April 16, 2013 by Emma Puls
While this book brings up the important topic of institutions in America's history especially in the black community I found it fell short. Read morePublished on April 11, 2013 by alkrause