Category Archives: Racism/stigma

Under cover of law: Extortion as punishment and the high cost of stigmatizing the mentally ill


From the Washington Post

D.C. woman’s number of 911 calls prompt city to request that she be given a guardian

At stake in this case is that the state (D.C.) wants to take the money (SSD checks) of this person and the only way to do it is by stripping her of her civil rights. The excuse for this atrocity is that she calls 911 “too frequently”.

The ´disability´in mental disability is in how society perceives the illness and the person bearing it, it is not the actual symptoms or manifestations of the illness that matters. You are not accepted as a functioning member of society if you are perceived as ´disabled´.  The disabilities movement have tried to show that if you put ramps, for example, they are not a ´burden’ to society  and can function and work like any other person. Clearly, the refusal to put a ramp was what caused these people to be ‘disabled’.

The same with mental illness, well, they don’t need a ramp. What I mean is that, portraying the mentally ill as a ‘burden’ is stigmatizing and it is what causes them to be ‘disabled’. We have to thank our States’ mental health system for their  good work at impressing that stigma in the public.

In this post I try to show, with this article,  how the process of stigmatizing is achieved by our government, nation-wide.

Anatomy of a stigma

The issues or problems stated by the D.C. officials in the article are:

1) Repeat callers to 911

2) …well, there’s no #2 nor 3 or 4 for that matter.

Unburdening society of the burden of people with mental disabilities: make them non citizens.

The only real issue that the officials can present in this case is the frequent 911 calls by one person. They have to deal with it as with any other situation.

The rest of their ‘reports’ constitute only unfounded accusations using mental illness as the basis to legally punish and extort money from Mrs. Rigsby by declaring her incompetent. Her crime: being mentally disabled.

This is also, and very important, a test case to be applied in the future, if they succeed, to other people with or without mental disabilities: using guardianship to punish people who use services “too frequently”. All they have to do, if you are not mentally ill,  is tag a label of a a mental illness with the help of psychiatrists, who are always at hand for the job.

I can see nothing more stigmatizing than the officialdom and the psychiatric and mental health systems abusing their powers to conjure a lie using mental illness as the legal basis to deprive people of their civil rights. In order to do all that, they have to paint the mentally ill as a burden to society. That’s EXACTLY what these people are doing here. Just see how many times the word “burden” was used by them in the article.

The article states that there are “concerns from D.C. officials about the impact of one woman’s troubles on public-health and safety resources” and “repeat 911 callers have long been identified as burdens on the health system and a drain on public-safety resources.”

Shared delusions of Impending doom

As stated in the article, there have been NO research AT ALL about how ANY repeat callers, let alone this woman in particular, has an impact on the resources. That explains the fact that D.C. official speaks ONLY of a “concern”: “concern that if [a supposition, it hasn’t happen yet in all those years] if crews are tending to Rigsby, the next 911 caller with an emergency might [another supposition, hasn’t happen yet either]get a paramedic from a farther distance, said Miramontes, the medical director…“There will come a time [another supposition, that time has not come yet] when one of these [frequent 911 callers] will call and they will [nope, not yet] cost someone else their life,”

These are all words meant to portray the mentally disabled as a ‘burden’. There’s no concrete EVIDENCE they can show that would cause them to have the concern that, if they don’t take this woman’s civil rights away, the system is about to collapse…unless they share with Mrs. Rigsby the delusion of “impending doom”, as the psychiatrist thought she may have.

But, no, they are not delusional. They are simply conspiring to abuse the power given to them by the citizens and commit the crime of extortion under cover of law.

 

First lie: it’s all in her mind

They allege “that Rigsby, 58, has bipolar and borderline personality disorders and does not have the mental capacity to handle her medical affairs.”

The implication all along the article is that her illness is in her mind, except that “About 40 percent of the time, she dials 911 on her own. Other times, she’s out in the District when passersby see her fall and call for help, the testimony indicated.”

So, 60% of the times “passersby” make the call because they see her fall; clearly, it’s not in her mind for other people have witnessed her problem.

This case is a hands-on experience on How to Stigmatize People with Mental Disabilities.

Second lie: she uses the services EVERYTIME she calls 911.

In the article we find that “About 55 percent of the time, she refuses to be transported in an ambulance and signs a waiver allowing emergency responders to leave.” Clearly, less than half of the call-events end up in her being transported, this shows that the officials are exaggerating and lying about her.

Third lie: they are trying to save the city money (by spending millions)

That’s a good one. Hundreds of thousands of $$ will be spend on a court case, the city will be spending thousands on a neurologist for an expensive neurological test to prove she’s crazy, thousands on a psychiatrist and other “mental health experts” hired to lie in court on behalf of the city…she only ‘owes’ $61 grand after so MANY years, for crying out loud!

In addition, a guardian cost money to the city too because she doesn’t have enough $$ to pay for care at home. If they send her to a home…

Fourth lie: Mrs. Rigsby, not the system, is a burden to the city.

Well, if more than half the times she calls (55% of the times) she REFUSES to be carted away, that means that she is CONSCIOUSLY trying to NOT burden the system, but that’s not what you get from the article.

What they don’t elaborate in the article is that she REFUSES to be carried by the EMS, that’s the word they used, REFUSES. That means that they TRIED to take her just because they showed up, even though she is refusing. We don’t know whether she offered to go on her own, must likely, but it is clear she REFUSED to be taken by ambulance. Why are they making her look like an unreasonable person?

Well, without the unreasonableness, without the ‘crazy’ there’s no stigma and no stigma means no power over her because the truth that it’s all an abuse would be clear to all. Ergo, she must be made to look crazy, unreasonable and a burden.

When you read the comments posted for the article, EVERYBODY is taking as true that she is mentally ill and a burden to the system simply because the ‘officials’ say so. Her words don’t count.

It’s not about the money; it’s about the civil rights

“If the District’s petition is successful, the medical guardian could take responsibilities for such things as hiring a home health aide, filling prescriptions and proposing a different living environment. But it would still be possible for Rigsby to dial 911 because the guardian would not be a live-in caregiver.”

The issue of ‘repeat calls’ will not change. The problem is one of quality of services.

Cutting funds and leaving the communities dependent on punitive measures to squeeze money for services, or to cut expenses by criminalizing the poor and the mentally ill is the correct way to break our society apart.

We spend trillions on wars. That’s all I have to say.

Advertisements

The DSM-5: The Book of Lamentations


The Book of Lamentations, by Sam Kriss at The New Inquiry, is an imaginative analysis of the psychiatrists’ bible, the DSMx (Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), criticizing it as ‘a failed dystopian novel’. The most enjoyable analysis of psychiatry I have read in a long while: insightful, well-informed and funny.

Vincent van Gogh Corridor in the Asylum (1889)

To me, that ‘diagnostics’ book is nothing but a “manual” for becoming rich by creating  lab-rats for the pharma, the for-profit prison system and the psychiatric system that feed on these victims. The DSM might as well be on the Forbes  list of top ten best-selling books on ‘how to make yourself rich fast by sticking labels to other human beings’.

Below is an excerpt of the essay. (My thanks to Doris for the link.)

“It’s also not exactly a conventional novel. Its full title is an unwieldy mouthful: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The author (or authors) writes under the ungainly nom de plume of The American Psychiatric Association – although a list of enjoyably silly pseudonyms is provided inside (including Maritza Rubio-Stipec, Dan Blazer, and the superbly alliterative Susan Swedo). The thing itself is on the cumbersome side. Over two inches thick and with a thousand pages, it’s unlikely to find its way to many beaches. Not that this should deter anyone; within is a brilliantly realized satire, at turns luridly absurd, chillingly perceptive, and profoundly disturbing.”

 

On criminals, terrorists, and crazy men Part2


Yesterday I opened a post about my views on mental illness and dissent in the USA.Today I look into how this connection was continually been made for us in TV programs.

The entertaining ‘terrorists’

Springer, Geraldo’s crazy politics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until 9/11, it was an imperative for the government, and the big financial interests it represents, to paint a picture of the USA as a happy nation, the spectator of a world in chaos, but not touched by it. The USA was above all that racket. We don’t have coup d’état in the USA, Kennedy’s assassination was the act of one and one man alone, no conspiracy was found there. It was a ‘common crime’. Neither did we have here racism a la South Africa.

Likewise, it was unwise to tag McVeigh as a ‘terrorist’; it would have messed with the idyllic vision of the US as a happy united people. There were NO TERRORISTS in the USA, land of the free; only crazy power-thirsty cultists, Nazis, Puerto Rican and Black separatists (meaning PRican liberation movement and Nation of Islam) fanatic sympathizers existed in our midst.

In the 1990s, TV shows like Geraldo, Ophra, Maury Povich and Jerry Springer helped paint the idea that these political groups and their views were laughable abnormalities, inconsequential and entertaining, not to be taken seriously. They could even be helped with therapy and kumbaya, as Ophra tried, because, after all, you have to be ‘crazy’ to be in one of these groups. Except that, what was crazy here was not the person but the political ideas of these people, the idea that the US government’s policies could be considered so oppressive by groups of people that they would choose to separate from it. (I’m not siding nor supporting any group here.); the idea that racism was coming only from the KKK and Black racists.

Political dissent in the USA was unofficially diagnosed FOR the public opinion through these programs as a crazy act, an irrational act. Officially it was diagnosed as ‘oppositional defiant behavior’ in the DSM bible. We were allowed to think that the root of these people’s problem was ‘social’: bad parents, poverty (usually the ‘white trash’ and ghetto members were the invitees), etc but never was the US politics and policies considered as factors. Are you crazy? Hell no! There was seldom serious discussions about these problems.

All these TV programs, my friend, represent the corporate art of ideological propaganda’.

Then came 9/11, the game changer.

“Under current United States law, set forth in the USA PATRIOT Act, acts of domestic terrorism are those which: “(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; “against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

Tomorrow I will discuss this new definition of ‘terrorism’ and compare it to the old one (in the earlier post for you to do the comparing on your own) and get into the scapegoating of mentally ill people as terrorist. It’s right there, in the highlighted part. Can you see it coming?

The D.C. shooter and the other victims: the mentally ill people


OK. Keep moving; there’s nothing else to see here: it’s only dead people killed by an irrational mentally ill person.

I withheld my tongue when this incident was reported, waiting to see how long it would take the ‘officials’ to determine that it was just another case of an armed lunatic roaming free among us.

Until today, they were at a loss, running around like headless chicken trying to figure this incident out. Was it a terrorist plot? Was there more than one lone shooter? RUN! STOP THE PLANES FROM FLYING OVER D.C.!!

This is what happens when you don’t have ‘accurate’ gun listing profiles, I mean, reports; you can’t control the loonies. That’s the focus now, again.

Two things stand out (in my view) about this case: 1) the use of mental illness as an argument to justify policies in favor of arming/dis-arming citizens and 2) the stigmatizing of mental illness as a simple explanation to a problem that clearly has to do with the failure of the nation to provide QUALITY mental health  services, especially to veterans. I will discuss these now.

1) The use of mental illness as an argument to justify against or pro-gun rights policies.

The knee jerk reactions are the usual: we need guns because there are too many armed crazy people out there (NRA and Republican Party preferred argument), or we need to ban guns for the same reason (Democratic Party preferred argument). Either way you cut it, the mentally ill is the culprit.

In other words, the mentally ill is a political token to be used to settle a political issue: Constitutional gun rights. Our society can’t possibly engage in this issue using ANY other type of arguments. Not moral arguments, or about compassion, or about the economy, or about the crimes of the arms dealer and builders industry…no. It has to be settled by trampling on the rights of ALL the mentally ill persons in this nation, by vilifying a whole class of people who suffer neglect and powerlessness just because they are mentally ill.

This man, who committed this crime, seems to had been a walking ticking bomb for many years; that’s the impression that NOW the media and the police want you to stick in your mind. Based on the info that we are now receiving, he may had been ill, but NO ONE ever did anything to HELP him, not to punish or ostracize him, but to help him get services. That’s the payment we give to our soldiers when they come home. We let them boil in their PTSD and wait for them to do what EVERYBODY knows is going to happen. We do it because the national debt forces us to pay to Wall Street and cut mental health services. But no one talks about that NOW. NOoo. It’s the loonies that need to be thrown in a modern psych hospital (our prison system) and be forgotten there.

2) How easy is to explain this mass murder once you stick the label of ‘mental patient’ to the incident. NOW they understand.

You see, the Washington Post did its usual manipulation of info to help you arrive easily to the necessary conclusion. First, it described Alexis having a clearly paranoid episode, which happened long time ago, and then followed it immediately with this quote, which was made before we knew about Alexis’ mental illness:

“What caused this individual to kill so many innocent men and women?” Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, asked at an afternoon news conference outside the local FBI field office.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to answer that question using the previous paragraph describing the paranoid episode. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how the mainstream media practices the art of opinion shaping through EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION.

But that’s not all. The mainstream media is in a ‘damage infusion’ mode, forcing us to conclude that Alexis was a lunatic DESPITE him having also had a history of good deeds. It’s the process of enforcing the stigma rule.  For example:

a) his military achievements and recognitions are devalued in order to keep him stigmatized as a mentally ill person, unworthy of any recognitions:

“He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, awards of minor distinction”

“the Navy mistakenly said he had received a general discharge, a less-desirable category that would have indicated to future employers that there was something amiss with his performance.”

 Notice in the second quote how a dishonorable discharge is surreptitiously  equated with mental illness, and in the process implies that mentally ill people should NOT be hired.

b) other people’s good opinion about him become less important, and bad opinions AFTER THE FACTS become more prophetic:

“Those who knew Alexis in recent years describe him as a “sweet and intelligent guy” (a regular customer at the Thai restaurant where he had been a waiter) and “a good boy” (his landlord), but also as “very aggressive,” someone who seemed as though he might one day kill himself (a lay worker at the Buddhist temple where Alexis worshiped).”

c) and other people’s abuses pass as ‘insignificant’ and not contributing to Alexis’ losing it:

“The woman told police that Alexis had complained several times that she was too loud. She said he had confronted her a few days earlier in the complex’s parking lot “about making too much noise,” according to a police report.”

I’m sure that if you live in NYC, you know how ‘maddening’ a loud tenant above you can be. But we don’t question how disruptive that woman was, how did she contribute to him ‘losing it’.

d) and finally, how the system ignores the people’s need for mental health service to later blame mental illness itself as the problem. Mental illness is NO problem to society when we stop pretending that we are servicing people and actually put the money where the politicians mouths are.If we treat the people when they need it, we don’t have mass killings. And if we keep people employed we don’t have mass killing either. Neither if we stop spending money in “stupid wars” for the benefit of arms mongers, oil barons and Wall Street banksters.

We know that our politicians reward our veterans with homelessness and lack of medical and psychiatric services. Alex was a veteran. The signs where there but, as usual, no one did anything about it:

 “and it was unclear whether the Navy had sufficient cause to push forward. So when Alexis applied on his own to leave the Navy in early 2011 with an honorable discharge, the service granted his request, the official said.”

They had the opportunity to deal with him BEFORE he lost it. But they didn’t.

“Alexis also had an angry streak that flared often enough to create an arrest record in three states.”

Idem.

“Alexis’s father told detectives then that his son “had experienced anger management problems that the family believed was associated with PTSD,”

“He did not like to be close with anybody, like a soldier who has been at war.”

And the verdict:

 “Nobody could have done anything to prevent this except Aaron Alexis,” he said. “Maybe he snapped. I don’t know.”

This will not stop. Our society has failed to face the reality that mental illness is the product, not only of any physical disturbance, but of how our society is ordered, how we prioritize the use of our public wealth and resources.

Given that we prefer to pay big banksters for usurious loans instead of putting the money where it belongs (in the public service) we will have to continue blaming mental illness as the number one mass killer in the USA.

Prevention is incompatible with paying the debt. You gotta make your priorities.

See you in the next episode.

My sympathies for the relatives of the victims, as always.

I blame our government for this new social pain.

Obama and “because they marched”


I refused to watch the speech of the first Black president on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington DC to save myself from another needless day of depression. I figured I would peacefully watch his delivery another day, when all the emotions of that day had receded. Boy, that Obama can truly irk you just about ANY DAY of the week.

How sad that the first Black president used that anniversary to blame and shame the Black people for the racism they continue to endure to this date.

Here are my reactions to Obama’ speech.

First observation:

The presence of Clinton and Biden et al ‘democrats’ at the podium gave the whole activity a feeling like… having a pimple on your nose: it’s ugly, it calls the attention on to the nose and makes it impossible to concentrate on what you are saying; it simply shouldn’t be there. I thought that their presence there cheapened the celebration. After all, these politicians are the ones who continue to turn King’s dream into ‘the impossible dream’.

But let’s see the speech itself. I’ll start first with the last part of Obama’ speech.

1. Did Obama blame the victim? Yes he did.

I found most offensive the last part of his speech. It’s the part where he ‘looks’ at what remains to be done.

On that special day, Obama found the opportunity to publicly blame and shame Blacks for the consequences of today’s police brutality and the brutality of a system that continues to push minorities further down the hole. Before enumerating those statements in the speech, let’s take a look at how far back Obama has had this negative perception of African Americans.

“…so wrapped up had I been in my own PERCEIVED injuries, so eager was I to escape the IMAGINED traps that white authority had set for me…Except now I was hearing the same thing from black people I respected, people with more EXCUSES for BITTERNESS than I might ever claim for myself.”

That’s a quote from his book Dreams of My Father, highlights by me.

Today, in the speech, he says:

“Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse- making for criminal behavior.”

“…what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support,”

“…as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child”

“All of that history [of “excuses”] is how progress stalled. That’s how hope was diverted. It’s how our country remained divided.

That last statement is the blaming of the victim: “progress” has been “stalled” by Blacks who use poverty as an excuse to not raising their children, who “too often” have only a “desire for government support”. It is Blacks who has kept “our country” divided. He tells us that it has been the poor Black folks, all along, who have derailed his campaign of “hope”:

“That’s how hope was diverted.”

Who is ‘excusing’ criminal behavior? Blacks alone, other minorities? Who is committing the ‘criminal behaviors? Blacks alone, other minorities? Are these mere “grievances”against police brutality, or DENUNCIATIONS of racism? He didn’t say. It was a GENERAL statement, which makes it sound as if ALL Blacks and minorities are in the same box with “imagined traps set by Whites”.

Obama made a public statement ECHOING the republicans’ view of poor people:

“a mere desire for government support,”

I was asking myself, as I watched the dreaded video of his speech, did the Black ‘folks’ in the public  hear what I just heard coming out from his own mouth? Did it register in their minds? If not, then why? It happened, I didn’t imagine it. Go to the video tape or read the transcript of the speech. He did say these things.

2. A long introduction to set up the argument that there is no more racism in America.

Obama went at length to describe the situation of Blacks pre-the ‘March on Wash’ 50 years ago. In other words, he described a Black experience which he admitted, in Dreams of my Father, didn’t affect him and to which he could not relate. This makes his speech just as empathic to the Black experience as that of Clinton, a white president.

Obama’s empathy for the Black’s experience is ‘legendary’.

From Dreams of My Father:

“What I needed was a community…A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments [to Black ‘folks’].”

But he came out short in that test, as he stated in the book:

 “I can’t even hold up my experience as being somehow representative of the black American experience…”

“I have no business speaking for black folks”.

“…for it was true that the people I met on the job [as Black organizer] were generally much older than me, with a set of concerns and demands that created barriers to friendship [between him and the Black folks].”

3. “And because they kept marching, America changed.”

From there on in his speech, he went to tells us how it is that there is no more racism in America.  Of course, the most glaring ‘evidence’ is that, because they marched 50 years ago, “the White House changed”.

According to Obama there is no more racism in America because of the Civil Rights laws, voting rights laws (even though these are all disappearing) and education rights laws. THAT’S THE EVIDENCE.

African Americans have seen their economic status eroded during Obama’s administration more than in any other time in the last 50 years, and racism is the ‘rule of law’ for our police. But Obama thinks that we have no new problems in this new millennium and that we ought to simply be vigilant to not lose what was gain 50 years ago and we ‘still’ have INTACT:

“Whether it’s by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all in the criminal justice system and not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails — (applause) — it requires vigilance.”

 It is fair to question whether those “changes because they marched” have withstand the winds of times, isn’t it? Obama doesn’t want you to do that questioning:

“To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed — that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years.”

It makes sense for him to resent that we may question whether anything has changed. After all, he, the first Black President, has been in office for two terms, but things keep getting worse for us. So, he doesn’t want to hear your ‘grievances’.

Obama has always shown his artistry in delivering speeches where he acknowledges the “grievances” of the minorities; he speaks as if he owns and lives those problems. He repeats them but, somehow, he forgets to mention that now, as a president, he is contributing to the problems we face. You are NOT one of us, Mr. Obama. Stop using the color of your skin to shut us up.

Well, there you have it. This is how I heard Obama’s address to the nation, not to African Americans. Because, after all, he found, in his quest for himself years ago, that he doesn’t need to talk to Black folks or to their experience:

“…learning to accept that particular truth – that I can embrace my black brothers and sisters, whether in this country or Africa, and affirm a common destiny without pretending to speak to, or for, all our various struggles – is part of what this book is about.” Dreams of My Father.

Amen to that.

Bradly Manning, ‘manhood’ and The Impossible Dream


As the tension over how bad Private Bradly Manning was going to be punished  by the government subsides, we are left, not only with the task of protecting him from further torture, but to stand by him in his quest to find and realize his real identity.

After Manning came out, I read many comments posted by readers on the main stream media online (The NYTimes, WaPo, etc), initially with apprehension, expecting the typical scorn for his honesty. I’m  surprised by the support he has received by a big swath of the public, despite the nature of his confession.

It comes  at  a circumstance incompatible with the needs of an individual, the war-like scenario of his initial transgression. His confession is  mind-boggling to me because it challenges deep rooted stereotypes at a time where there is not much space to ridicule the issue. Let me try to explain.

Fist is the issue of ‘manhood’. Here we have a man who has renounced his manhood, something that ‘typically’ would bring scorn and ridicule to any man who does that.

Typically’, he would be considered (for wanting to be a woman) the opposite of a ‘man’, a ‘sissy’ (the implication  being that to be a woman is to be weak and cowardly, of course). A ‘sissy’ is a cowardly and ridiculous man, girl-y (in Arnold’s world), not a ‘real man’; and yet, few would dare call Bradly Manning a coward or a ‘sissy’. You may disagree with him, but NO ONE can call him a ‘coward’ or a ‘sissy’ without soiling his/her own mouth in the process. In any OTHER circumstance he could be ridiculed for being ‘sissy’, but not here. Manning is no ‘sissy’.

Few of us have the courage to intentionally expose ourselves to TORTURE for the benefit of the many. He did it while wearing stilettos, in his mind. Well, probably, at some point.

The other issue is the context in which the confession comes. It didn’t come from, for example, a politician caught wearing a wig or any other situation that would have rendered the person an object of ridicule. No. It came in front of the eyes of the world as they were witnessing the torture of a human being for the ‘crime’ of showing us the barbarities that our government commits in other nations in the name of ‘freedom’. The world was watching how the rights of a human were being trampled under torture. There’s no much space to ridicule that human being under those conditions, is there?

Manning put us between a rock and a hard place: if, on one hand, you admire him for showing the truth and withstanding torture, but on the other you hate ‘gays’, what you gonna do now? Approve his torture for being transgender? How do you separate the two issues under this condition? How can you ridicule him and say he’s ‘sissy’ under this conditions?

So, some questions in my mind are these: Can Bradly Manning’s ‘manhood’ be questioned?Is he less of a man than, let’s say, the Arnold? If you can’t call him ‘sissy’, because he has shown that he is not ‘cowardly’, does that means that you must accept his ‘manhood’ despite him renouncing it? What is a ‘man’?And, does it matter one way or the other?

Because, while he was tortured, he was a ‘man’, as he still is until he gets the ‘gender re-assignment’. He was a ‘man’ in the eyes of the tortures because Manning is physically a man.  And, if at that time they thought that Manning was ‘gay’, they must have been shaken, at some point, by the courage and endurance and bravery of that ‘sissy’ man. I know I would have.

When I speak here of ‘manhood’ I’m doing it in the cultural sense of the word.Think of all the adjectives used to describe a ‘man’, socially speaking, not in terms of ‘sex’, but in terms of gender. Gender as in, you know, the socially expected attributes of a person based on the sex of that person: rational (men) vs emotional (women), etc etc etc.

I think that our hero Bradly Manning has, unintentionally, re-cast in our minds our images of what is a ‘gay’ or transgender person and a ‘man’. I think that we, as a society, have paused and blinked at the enormity of Manning’s actions. I think he has shaken our old stereotypes. And something good has come out of that, I think.

A person’s valor and courage is measured by his/her actions, not by the color of their skin, nationality, or gender, whether re-assigned or by birth. And a ‘real man’ is someone who fights against injustice.

Our hero Bradly Manning, with his actions and ‘confession’, has confirmed that.

Charlie Chaplin : his message to humanity.


From The Great Dictator.