When Kanye West threatened to commit “death con 3” on Jews earlier this month, a lot of individuals online and in the media were eager to point out the musician’s mental condition. Ye, also known as Kanye West, has bipolar disease and has been vocal about his struggles with it for years.
Words on social media contextualizing Ye’s recent comments with his history of both mental illness and intentional provocation have sparked crucial concerns about how to handle the controversy, as have online wishes for Ye to receive help.
How should we approach Ye? Do we take into account a person’s mental health when it comes to cruel speech and actions? Should someone who suffers from a mental illness be held responsible for their words and deeds?
First, What Is Bipolar Disorder?
People with bipolar disorder go through extreme mood swings that can persist for days to weeks at a time. The episodes might be depressive, hypomanic, or manic, characterized by abnormally high moods or irritability (very low mood and hopelessness).
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, bipolar disorder affects 2.8 percent of people in the United States. 83 percent of these instances are serious.
A person experiencing a manic episode may be prone to grandiosity (an exaggerated perception of one’s own significance), racing thoughts, restlessness, impatience, and reckless behavior, and they may feel little control over these symptoms.
When the manic episode is ended, the person may feel ashamed or guilty about their behavior because it differs noticeably from how they typically behave.
Despite Ye being honest about having this severe mental illness, I’ve seen a lot of people on social media, even self-described mental health advocates, calling him “crazy” and making fun of his actions.
This verified what I’d long suspected from talking to my clients: Despite society’s efforts to lessen the stigma associated with mental illness, there is still a long way to go, particularly for diseases like bipolar disorder.
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Is Kanye West’s Racist And Antisemitic Activism Be Held Accountable?
A large majority of the mental health experts who spoke with Gizmodo about Ye’s actions said that mental illness does not lead to racism, antisemitism, or any other kind of bigotry.
They emphasized that individuals with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses may and should be held responsible for their words and deeds in general. Janaway cited the lack of sufficient evidence and the artist’s consent as reasons why he would not comment on Ye’s actions. He added that Ye would not benefit from this at all.
Despite the possibility that someone with a mental condition “may have less of a filter” and express their thoughts more openly than they otherwise would, Calhoun from the Yale Child Study Center told Gizmodo that mental illness shouldn’t be used as an excuse for offensive language and actions.
Black Calhoun asserted that while mental disease might impair judgment and the intellect, racism is not a result of mental illness. “I work with plenty of racial psychiatric patients.
When they are entirely stable, they utter racist remarks. I would contend that if someone’s “go-to” racial remarks are racist statements, they were racist to begin with, even in circumstances like dementia where people lose their memories.
According to Jonathan Stea, a clinical psychologist who also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Calgary, people with bipolar disorder can be held responsible for their words and deeds in general.
Stea said that while it is exceedingly rare, a person’s moral judgment may be so compromised by the severity of a mental condition that they may be deemed to be immune from criminal culpability. However, this nearly never applies to the average bipolar disorder sufferer, he said.
Those who are mentally sick and those who are not both make anti-Semitic slurs. Antisemitic statements are not brought on by mental disease, according to Stea. “People are far more than the possible mental diseases they may experience,” he continued.
Leaders on the advocacy side expressed similar views. The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, responded when asked by Gizmodo whether Ye’s antisemitic remarks should be taken seriously despite the fact that he suffers from a mental illness, saying that while he didn’t want to minimize or stigmatize mental health, it was still no justification for antisemitism.
Greenblatt and the ADL have criticized Ye’s remarks in recent weeks. The ADL also started the #RunAwayFromHate campaign, which it eventually succeeded in getting Adidas to implement on Tuesday.
Greenblatt added in a statement that those who attempt to rationalize Kanye’s discriminatory actions by just attributing them to mental illness only serve to further stigmatize the millions of adults who deal with these problems.
“Antisemitism cannot be disregarded as merely a mental health issue when someone with more social media followers than there are Jews in the world uses his platform to attack an entire group of people based on their religious and ethnic identity.”
In a statement published online on October 12 by Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, he said that mental illness was not a defense for antisemitism. Deutch asserted that Ye’s outbursts on social media could not be “explained away.”
The AJC CEO stated, “Despite some attempts, there is no justification, no explaining away Kanye West’s rants on social media for anything other than what they are: nasty antisemitic sentiments that represent a clear and present danger to every Jew.”
West has admitted to having bipolar disorder, but mental illness is not a valid justification for antisemitism. Let’s hope he receives the assistance he sorely requires.
Ye, best known as Kanye West is an American Rapper, songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer. Recent racist and antisemitic behaviors and social media posts by Ye made news once more.
As a result, Instagram and Twitter restricted his accounts, and companies like Adidas and Gap ended their collaborations with him. The psychiatrist observed that despite Ye’s open battle with bipolar disorder, not many people expressed sympathy for him.
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