Xenophobia is an Illness

 Elizabeth Eckford, Little Rock HS

Xenophobia is a mental illness, most precisely, a psychological disorder. It is listed as such in The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (“DSM-V”).

Xenophobia consists of an Irrational Fear of persons or cultural characteristics that one perceives to be different than one’s own, that is, strange, foreign, or abnormal. Most fundamentally, Xenophobia is Fear of the Other.

Racism, sexism, and homophobia are forms of xenophobia.

The xenophobe is uncomfortable in the presence of the object of fear, and because the xenophobe wants to eliminate their discomfort by making the object of their irrational fear go away, that discomfort can be expressed as resentment, hatred, violence, and even genocide. Remember, however, that the fear is irrational. It is not caused by what the xenophobe is afraid of, but by the xenophobe’s own irrational reaction.   Accordingly, the xenophobe can trigger the discomfort, and violence, simply by thinking of the object of their fear. Furthermore, the xenophobe can be easily manipulated by lies and propaganda about the Other.

Xenophobia is treated with Exposure Conditioning, which consists of becoming engaged with the object of fear until the irrational fear is replaced by realistic understanding.   Usually,  xenophobes just need to spend some time with whatever it is they are irrational about, and they will get over it.  The exposure conditioning can happen in the natural order of things too, outside of a clinical setting. Therefore a diverse environment will have fewer instances of xenophobia than an homogeneous one, because any xenophobia that arises will more likely naturally dissipate.

This is a companion piece to The Little Boy Raised by Gay People.

Men have ruled the world for 3,000 years

Picasso’s Blue Guitar, Permission Requested

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them.

Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

—Margaret Atwood

They said, ‘You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.’

The man replied, ‘Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.’

—Wallace Stevens

Men have Ruled the World for 3,000 years.

The World Can Be Other Than It Is

They Declared a Bogus Culture War

Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Bill O’Reilly, Rupert Murdoch (Fox News),
Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump

Truth is the first casualty of war, and that is why these individuals declared a Bogus Culture War, so they could lie and propagandize with impunity, appealing to fear, ignorance, and xenophobia, for their own political and financial gain. They needed a pretext in order to violate long-standing political norms and traditions of bipartisanship, civility, inclusiveness, compromise, country over party, and respect for truth, evidence, and reasoning, so that they might gain political advantage by using lies, propaganda, and divisiveness as a political weapon against their fellow Americans.

Tell them about the Dream

“Tell them about the dream Martin,” the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out to Dr. King during his speech at the March on Washington. Martin heard her, put his notes away, and told them about the dream. That’s one of the bright moments, one of the many as an expression of the incredibly rich and deep African-American culture. I mean, this was the culture that invented blues, gospel, and jazz, and that alone ranks it with Athenian Greece and Renaissance Italy in terms of contribution to human artistic and cultural achievement. Add contributions to politics (non-violence), religion (Church), and language (Black English/Ebonics) and it would be a sad thing indeed if white Americans lived oblivious to the glory in their midst.

When America was Great, the Rich Paid Taxes

From the end of WWII until 1980, America led the world in everything–and the rate on the highest income tax bracket averaged 80%. We built the Interstate Highway System, created Medicare, went to the moon, American manufactured products were the envy of the world, middle class working people were thriving, and the national debt was trivial. In 1981 Republicans began their tax cuts for the rich, aka Voodoo Economics, and the bottom fell out. Infrastructure is crumbling, the middle class is declining, manufacturing is on life support, working people are hurting, and the Federal debt is a burden that will shape the lives of our descendants.

Republicans who oppose a fair and sane maximum income tax rate are lying to us–they are appealing to our love of America in order to line their own pockets and increase their own power. If we want a healthy and decent society, the rich have to pay their responsible share of taxes, just like they did when America was great.

Let Us Reason Together

President Lyndon Johnson often said, “Come let us reason together,” because he believed that the great deliberative body of the United States Congress could act in good faith to develop policies that would serve all Americans.

He passed Medicare, The Civil Rights Act, and The Voting Rights Act.

Just a few years later, LBJ declined to seek re-election because he came to believe that his policy in Vietnam was dividing Americans.