From the New York Times news section:
Psychiatry Confronts Its Racist Past, and Tries to Make Amends
But there is a lot to apologize for — from Reconstruction to today.
By Judith Warner
April 30, 2021
… In the late 20th century, psychiatry’s rank and file became a receptive audience for drug makers who were willing to tap into racist fears about urban crime and social unrest. (“Assaultive and belligerent?” read an ad that featured a Black man with a raised fist that appeared in the “Archives of General Psychiatry” in 1974. “Cooperation often begins with Haldol.”)
Now the American Psychiatric Association, which featured Rush’s image on its logo until 2015, is confronting that painful history and trying to make amends.
In January, the 176-year-old group issued its first-ever apology for its racist past. Acknowledging “appalling past actions” on the part of the profession, its governing board committed the association to “identifying, understanding, and rectifying our past injustices,” and pledged to institute “anti-racist practices” aimed at ending the inequities of the past in care, research, education and leadership.
White psychiatrists have pathologized Black behavior for hundreds of years, wrapping up racist beliefs in the mantle of scientific certainty and even big data.
… Psychiatry continued to pathologize — and sometimes demonize — African-Americans, with the result that, by the 1970s, the diagnosis of psychosis was handed out so often that the profession was essentially “turning schizophrenia into a Black man’s disorder of aggression and agitation,” said Dr. Hairston, a contributor to the 2019 book, “Racism and Psychiatry.”
From the World Journal of Psychiatry in 2014:
Robert C Schwartz and David M Blankenship
Psychotic disorder diagnoses are common in the United States and internationally. However, racial disparities in rates of psychotic disorder diagnoses have been reported across time and mental health professions. This literature review provides an updated and comprehensive summary of empirical research on race and diagnosis of psychotic disorders spanning a 24-year period. Findings reveal a clear and pervasive pattern wherein African American/Black consumers show a rate of on average three to four higher than Euro-American/White consumers. Latino American/Hispanic consumers were also disproportionately diagnosed with psychotic disorders on average approximately three times higher compared to Euro-American/White consumers. In addition, a trend among international studies suggests that immigrant racial minority consumers receiving mental health services may be assigned a psychotic disorder diagnosis more frequently than native consumers sharing a majority racial background. Potential explanations for this phenomenon are discussed, including possible clinical bias and sociological causes such as differential access to healthcare and willingness to participate in mental health services. Directions for future research should include the exploration of disproportionate diagnoses according to race through qualitative interviewing as well as empirical investigation.
Another possible reason that blacks get diagnosed with schizophrenia so much is to help them get Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdicts for their high average level of violent crimes.
For example, currently, seemingly random attacks on Asian-Americans are much in the news. For example, from CBS Local News in San Francisco today:
By Betty Yu May 6, 2021 at 6:24 am
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The man arrested for an unprovoked stabbing attack on two elderly Asian women in San Francisco has a long history of arrests, according to a police source.
San Francisco police identified the man as 54-year-old Patrick Thompson of San Francisco. A law enforcement source provided a surveillance image to KPIX 5 that was circulated among officers to find Thompson following the Tuesday attack on Market Street.
A witness snapped a photo of the same person from the back, moments after the attack at the bus stop that injured 84-year-old Chui Fong Eng and an unidentified 63-year-old Asian woman. …
According to a law enforcement source, Thompson has been arrested more than two dozen times in the last 20 years. He was placed under a psychiatric hold at least once. In 2019, he was arrested for battery.
KPIX 5 has learned that in 2017, he was arrested for stabbing a person at this homeless shelter on 5th and Bryant Streets with a pair of scissors. Police say it was another unprovoked attack.
My general impression is that non-robbery (i.e., irrational) lone wolf random attacks on people of other races are sometimes committed by youths showing off, but often by guys like Mr. Thompson with long track records of violence, who should be locked up, whether in prison or an asylum. The latter category tends to be heavily black male, even in San Francisco, a city with few blacks anymore (and a lot of white street people), because the Venn diagram of the intersection of Violent and Crazy is disproportionately populated by black men.