"It's OK! He's Mentally Ill"

by emph on November 5, 2014 - 9:52pm

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that when you watch the news and hear about mass murdering or even a simple murder done by a man of color, society immediately needs to point out and emphasize the fact that the crime’s motives must be linked to his ethnicity, faith or culture. As if the crime and the man themselves are overshadowed by the fact that the perpetrator is not white, and then suddenly his actions speak for the entirety of his race or religion. In contrast, when the crimes are carried out by young white males, not a single word is spoken about his color, religion or even class. Those things are already cleared out of the list because ‘there is just no way that could be a problem in America, no way!’ Instead, in our quest to finding what could’ve possibly driven this white man to commit such terrible acts of violence, we resort to psychological issues. We blame sickness and mental illnesses or just the fact that he was a plain old mad man and that we couldn’t change that, but never the fact that he was white. This sort of discrimination has created a problem of white privilege in our society, to a point where it has become a possibility for white men (and women) to plead “insanity defense” which basically means “I am too ill to know right from wrong, it isn’t my fault so spare me”. In fact, many lawyers have tried (and succeeded) to defend white men using this argument in which insanity became a defense. There have even been too many cases where an insanity defense was perfectly excusable and the court system worked accordingly in preventing defendants from being convicted. You wouldn’t see this sort of thing happening to a man of an African or Arabic background...

Jezebel says more about the issue here: http://jezebel.com/5928584/why-most-mass-murderers-are-privileged-white-men

Comments

That is very interesting since that is a phenomena that you can't really observe in Canada. For example, in the recent events in Ottawa, even if the shooter was Muslim the Medias didn't associate this crime with the religion in general. As a matter of fact, the Canadian news reports are completely different from the ones in America. They are a lot less alarmist and focused on criminality in general. Canadian Medias normally report facts and not opinions or assumptions. Consequently, I believe that if they reported news in an unbiased way the racism in general would drastically fall.

I really like what you've written. You are to the point, no beat around the bush. You make very good points on how skin colour is being viewed and portrayed in the media on criminal activities. I also have noticed how the media attempts to speculate the motives to why the individuals committed the crime. It is interesting how the media picks out what to voice to the public about the individual's life (i.e.: skin colour, religion, socioeconomic status, etc.). But I have to point out that a very small amount of individuals who are put on trial for the crimes they have committed use the insanity defense and an even smaller amount of people who use this particular defense actually succeed and win the trials with this specific defense.
White Privilege is a very interesting topic though. White Privilege is giving Caucasian individuals (the dominant group in Canada and the United States) the subconscious benefit and rewards based on someone's skin colour, and may exclude them from certain negative judgments that are being associated with groups belonging to visible minorities. I can speculate that when a Caucasian individual would commit a serious crime (for example, a mass shooting), the media would most likely focus on if the individual had had any mental illnesses in their past. The media can enforce the concept of White Privilege by assuming this Caucasian individual was from a financially comfortable family, with no history of problems. If the individual who committed the same type of crime was part of a visible minority, the media may assume that this individual came from a struggling, immigrant family that had a lot of problems.
I often wonder though, if in other countries it is the same sort of problem (having a stark contrast between how different groups are being portrayed, especially in the media). History has always played a large role to how we behave today, and society is slow to progress if there are no individuals who are radical or feel strongly enough to change the way society currently is. So with all the knowledge we have about the current state of things, I wonder who is going to want to change it?

Here are some links for more information:
Insanity Defence: http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/336/Insanity-Defense.html
White Privilege: http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/white_privilege.html

First of all, I decided to respond to this post because the title really kept my attention. I immediately wanted to read your post. In the media, we often hear this sentence when there is a sentence. This post is really related with my class of race and racism because this is clearly a case of racism.
I completely agree with you post because racism is more and more present these days and there are many prejudices against people of color. It’s always easier to put the blame on someone of a different ‘’race’’ and many people do so. Because they are not white or like the majority of the society, people have tendency to blame them first without any proof. When a white did a crime, lawyers will do their possible to help them and to win the case. Most of them win because it was said that the person was ‘’mentally ill’’. How many times a black won a case because he was supposedly ‘’mentally ill’’? Probably less often than white people.
It’s sad how even today, people are so harsh with people of different skin color. They didn’t choose their skin color and they are not different or more criminal than white people.
Like I saw in my race and racism class, white people are over abusing of their white privileges and you explained it well in your post.
People of the court system should be neutral and should not judge somebody because of his skin color or ethnicity. They have to find a way to treat everyone equally and according to their crime, not their ‘’race’’.

First of all, I decided to respond to this post because the title really kept my attention. I immediately wanted to read your post. In the media, we often hear this sentence when there is a sentence. This post is really related with my class of race and racism because this is clearly a case of racism.
I completely agree with you post because racism is more and more present these days and there are many prejudices against people of color. It’s always easier to put the blame on someone of a different ‘’race’’ and many people do so. Because they are not white or like the majority of the society, people have tendency to blame them first without any proof. When a white did a crime, lawyers will do their possible to help them and to win the case. Most of them win because it was said that the person was ‘’mentally ill’’. How many times a black won a case because he was supposedly ‘’mentally ill’’? Probably less often than white people.
It’s sad how even today, people are so harsh with people of different skin color. They didn’t choose their skin color and they are not different or more criminal than white people.
Like I saw in my race and racism class, white people are over abusing of their white privileges and you explained it well in your post.
People of the court system should be neutral and should not judge somebody because of his skin color or ethnicity. They have to find a way to treat everyone equally and according to their crime, not their ‘’race’’.

I completely agree with what you’ve stated above. What caught my attention was the topic of this article and how people are so quick to judge when a person of color commits a crime. In the class race and racism we talked about white privilege and how they have an advantage in the world compared to people of color but they just don’t realize it; they simply state that if you work hard, are honest and get a education then you have an equal shot at success as a Caucasian. When in reality someone who was Caucasian applied for a job versus someone of color, the Caucasian would most likely get the job. An example of white privilege would be in the shooting of Trayvon Martin who was African American and was fatally shot by the neighborhood watch, George Zimmerman, who was Caucasian. Zimmerman believed Martin looked suspicious and took matters into his own hands by shooting Martin in the chest because he believed Martin was carrying a weapon. Zimmerman was dismissed with no charges or consequences for the murder of Martin. But what if the tables were turned and a African American had shot a Caucasian? The world would emphasize the fact that it was due to their skin color and they should face detrimental consequences. A question following the topic of white privilege would be what if white privilege didn’t exist then who would we point the blame to?

I agree with your statements and the topic really caught my attention. I agree that white people have a certain privilege in our court systems since white privilege happens mostly everywhere in society to some degree which seems a little like systematic racism. People of color are 44-88% more likely to go to jail in US while someone who is white only has an 8-11% chance. To plead Insane isn't impossible for someone who isn't white but it would be a lot harder most likely. It is disgusting to see these things happen and it makes me question if it would ever change.

I must admit that this issue is something that personally irritates me. Because is true. Caucasian man have privilege over society even when they have done something against it. This kind of issues make me thinks and re-think about what kind of society I am living in and what kind of society i want my children and grand-children to live in. What I find the most irritating about all of this is that this society claims to be an anti-descrimatory one and tries the most it can to give that image, just look at the websites of immigration Quebec and you are going to find plenty of photos of multiracial individuals displayed as models in the page that is supposed to illustrate the society. However, when this kind of issue happen and the guilty individual is someone of color, the media bombard the race or ethnicity of the individual but does not react the same way when it comes to a guilty Caucasian individual that caused the crime. The perfect example to illustrate my point is Luka Rocco Magnotta (***http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/dossiers/proces-magnotta/201411/17/01-...)
The link shows the defense of the individual and all the details the media is taking for granted. Like trying to blame someone from nuevo-mexico for the state of mind of Magnotta.I personally believe that we need to re-do our justice system in order for it to be equal and judge each individual for their actual and true state of mind and evilness. Because seriously, in what kind of society are we living in?

I decided to respond to this post because it took me a long time to finally find an article in which the title was interesting enough for me to want to read it. In fact, the way the content is presented in this article is really enjoyable to read. There is another article I found online that I found interesting to link to your own because it talks about a case in which a Caucasian police officer shot an African American police officer when he was off the job, mistaking him for a criminal. As a matter of fact, in the article, there is no mention that the white police officer had any consequences or ever took responsibility for his actions. To read more about it, here is the link to the article I found: http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2009/05/29/deadly-consequences-of-white....