Why bigotry is a public health problem


public health problem: The decade ago, I wrote a piece for a psychological journal called “Is Betty A Mental Illnes”, at that time, some psychiatrists were advocating to create “pathological fundamentalism” or a pathological bias – essentially, the bias is so extreme That it interferes in daily work and reaches an authoritative psychological diagnosis – near-illusory proportion. For various medical and scientific reasons, I was injured in opposing the situation.

In short, my argument was: some significant diseases are suffering from mental illness, and some people with mental illness show radical – but that does not mean that talent is a disease.

The last few weeks, the country has seen the light of hatred and fanaticism; I am reconsidering this matter. I am still not a convinced that there is at least one primary disease or disease in the medical sense. So, I think there is a good reason to treat the differences as a public health problem. This means that whatever approach we take to control the spread of the disease may apply to pathological fundamentalism: for example, to promote self-awareness about radicalism and its adverse health consequences.

In a recent piece in The New York Times, health care writer Kevin Sack referred to “toxic anti-semi”, who made a terrible shot at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018.

It is easy to dismiss the word “toxic” as an outline, but I think this issue is more complex than that. In biology, “virus” refers to the degree of pathology or damage caused by an organism. It is different from the word “infectious”, which refers to the interaction of an illness. However, what will happen if, in a significant sense, the radicals are both toxic and infectious – that is, capable of causing damage and spread from both individuals? Do not understand the public health approach to the problem?

Damages to Victims and Enemies

There are very few questions among mental health professionals that fanaticism can cause significant harm to the goals of the differences. Also, surprisingly, the evidence points out that those who are fundamentalists are also at risk.

For example, psychologist Dr Research by Jordan B. Leitner found a correlation between the apparent racial bias between death and rates related to a circular disease. Explicit bias refers to deliberately organised bias, which is sometimes expressed excessively; The underlying bias is subconscious and is only detected indirectly.

Journal Psychological Science, Leitner and his colleagues found writing in the University of California Berkeley that death rate from the circulatory disease is more pronounced in communities where white men turn more pronounced racial prejudices. Both black and white witnessed an increase in mortality, but the relationship was strong for black.

Why bigotry is a public health problem
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Although correlation factor does not prove, Professor Wiki M. of Clinical Psychology at UCLA The tables and colleagues have estimated that the experience of caste-based discrimination can put a series of physical events in motion, such as high blood pressure and heart rate, which ultimately increases the risk of death

It is impossible that the adverse effects of discrimination and fanaticism are limited to black and white. For example, in UCLA, Community Health Sciences professor Gilbert G. and colleagues have shown data that the Asian-American reports of discrimination are at high risk for poor health, especially for a mental health problem.

However, hate and radical are contagious?Why bigotry is a public health problem

Leitner’s figures show that living in hostile ethnic communities is related to the increasing rate of cardiovascular death for both groups targeted by this bias – in this case, the group that prevents bias in addition to black colour.

As the adverse health effects of radicalisation are being recognised rapidly, awareness has increased that hateful behaviour and their harmful effects can spread. For example, public health expert Dr Ezelden Abulayish and family doctor Dr Neil Arya argue in an article entitled “Hate-a Public Health Problem”: “Hate can be conceptualised as an infectious disease, which spreads violence, fear, and ignorance. Hate is contagious; Can cross the boundaries. ”

The Similarly, communications professor Adam G. Klein has studied “Digital Hate Culture” and concluded that “the speed at which online travel hates is breathtaking.”

For example, Klein mentioned a series of events in which an anti-Semitic story (“The Jews are destroying their graves”) appeared in the Daily Stormer, and immediately after this anti-Semitic protests spread by White Supremacist David Dukes sceptical of conspiracy theories, through their podcasts.

Along with Klein’s work, the anti-division league has recently released a report called “New hat and old: the changing face of white American dominance”. The report found that,

“Despite the alt move in the physical world, the internet remains its main propagation vehicle. However, alt internet promotion is more than just Twitter and websites. In 2018, podcasting is spreading alt message across the world. Particularly plays an obvious role. ”

To ensure this, tracking the spread of hate, does not like to track the spread of food, illness or flu virus. After all, he is no laboratory test for hate or radical presence.

Even so, as a psychiatrist, I find “hate-infected hypothesis” completely viable. In my area, we see a similar phenomenon in the so-called “copycat suicide”, from which a highly publicised (and often glamorised) suicide stimulates other weaker people to imitate this action.

public health Problem the approach

Why bigotry is a public health problem
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If hatred and extremist are really both harmful and infectious, how can this problem be a public health approach? DRS Abuelaish and Arya suggest many “primary prevention” strategies, including promoting understanding of adverse health consequences of many hatred; Develop emotional self-awareness and conflict resolution skills; Making “immune” against provocative hate speech, And promote mutual respect and understanding of human rights.

In theory, these academic endeavours can be included in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools. The Anti-Defamation League already provides K-12 students with personal training and online resources to deal with hatred, bullying and fanaticism. Apart from this, an action plan has been requested in the Anti-Defamation League report, which includes:

  • Applying comprehensive hate crime laws in every state.
  • Improvement in federal response to hate crimes.
  • Expansion of training for university administrators, faculty and staff.
  • Promote community flexibility programming for understanding and fighting extreme hatred.

Like situations like AIDS, coronary artery disease or polio, Bigotry cannot be “sick” in the strict medical sense of that term. Nevertheless, like the use of alcohol and substance disorders, fundamentalists lend themselves to “sickness models”. To call a type of illness, one has to invoke more than a metaphor.

It is to stress that fanaticism and other forms of hatred are related to adverse health consequences; And that hatred and fanaticism can spread rapidly through similar methods of social media, podcast and dissemination.

A public health Problem with approach has shown the success of performance for problems with smoking; For example, anti-tobacco campaign campaigns were partly responsible for changing the minds of American people about cigarette smoking.

Similarly, a public health Problem To (approach) for isolation, such as the suggested measures by Abulayash and Arya, will not eliminate hatred, but at least they can reduce the harm on society.


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