THE BLOG

Stop Hiding Behind "Mental Health" and Just Say It: Our Society Is Racist

06/22/2015 04:08 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2016

Once again, scared white folk are trying to frame this racist terrorism as an "accident" or a mental health issue. We are a country in denial, too scared to recognize the truth because of what it would mean. We're talking about problems in how our system functions that are so ingrained, so entrenched that to point them out is to point out the need for so much change that the very foundations of our society would have to shift, and that is terrifying to some people.

I have ADHD and anxiety and depression. I'm technically "mentally ill"; at least 25% of Americans are. But who are the ones who mass-murder people? Young straight white men who feel super entitled for some reason. This isn't about mental health anymore; it's about racism and misogyny (Elliot Rodger) and homophobia and everything else that is telling these people that they DESERVE things that they are being deprived of due to THESE people. The same way it was utterly ridiculous to say that Rodger's murders were all about his mental state and had nothing to do with how women are treated in our culture (...thanks, white guy!), it is absolutely ridiculous to try to separate this from the national racial atmosphere. YES there needs to be more awareness and support when it comes to mental illness; but that's not what is going on here. We are so far past that. The only time that people in this country are willing to even acknowledge the fact that mental illness exists is when they are using it as a scapegoat for mass shootings. Ignore the fact that guns are ridiculously accessible and that our culture has a straight white male superiority complex; it's all about crazy people! And mind you, while we blame everything on the mentally ill, that certainly doesn't mean that we're going to actually DO anything in terms of health and social services, awareness, or any other kind of help for this very real problem.

I don't want to lump this tragedy in with all the others. I don't want it to sound like I'm saying all of these gut-wrenching stories are the same; each one is its own horrific moment in time. But they are all pieces of a larger picture, one that illustrates the current turmoil that so many people have to live on a daily basis, turmoil that is made so much worse by those who refuse to acknowledge its existence.

Our country is on the precipice of another major turning point, just like back in the days of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the original civil rights movement. Homosexuals, women, people of color, and everyone else who has been disenfranchised need to band together and do exactly what they're afraid we'll do. None of us want to allow this kind of thing to keep happening, over and over, in a never-ending display of violence and despair, and the national stage is set for us to change it. It's time to stop being polite...and start getting real. Yeah, I ended by quoting "The Real Wold." Because sometimes, you really do need some levity.