The birth of psychology is also the birth of some of the most vile and “medically” based foundations for racism. Mental health professionals (such as they were) like Benjamin Rush and Dr. Samuel Cartwright put great effort and faith into the belief that man is animal and literally the darker the skin color, the less human qualities they had. Apparently, those with a darker skin color also came with their own special ailments.
African Americans were considered to naturally have the urge to “submit” to those of lighter color and origin. They were supposed to be considered mentally stable if they accepted and made an effort to fulfill what was considered their place in society. Indirectly, they were to avoid any type of social activities such as visiting neighbors in the evening or consuming alcoholic beverage because this might in fact take them down to their more primal instincts, you know, the ones that told them they were human and to be owned by no one?
In the midst of this exploration of the various types of men and their psychological states, it was discovered that some African Americans actually sought freedom and had no wish to submit to white men or any other men. In these cases, the African American might actually run away from their owners.
Believe it or not, this behavior led to the creation of a disease called Drapetomania. Apparently, as long as African Americans were kept fed, warm and in a home that they were not allowed to leave in the evening, they could easily avoid this disease. According to Dr. Cartwright, white men were charged with the keeping of African Americans in their submissive state. In fact, the good doctor even makes reference to the scriptures as this being the natural state of things.
Of course, unlike any mental illness ever known, there is a complete and ongoing cure for this one. It’s called whipping. The doctor suggests that slave owners whip their slaves to bring them back to a submissive state where they apparently will naturally recognize that their task is to serve white men. Once the African American had been whipped, he was considered cured of the disease.
So, the next time you simply take a doctor’s word for your condition, you might ask to discuss the criteria and testing for said condition. You might in fact even try something as daring as using some common sense to review the disorder. This is just one of the many bizarre mental health disorders on the agenda. Come back frequently to learn of more!