By now, most everyone who spends time online has seen the viral video of the confrontation between the mentally ill man and the younger black man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJFv9SMSMQ

 

...prompting tens of thousands of opnions to be strewn into the ether, reminiscent of when the young woman threatened an elderly woman on Atlanta mass transit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXz-tlK2pkI

 

The vast majority of those opnions are in regards to the racial element of the incidents. Everyone wants to be on the correct moral side of an issue, and ascribing a simple racial angle to the situation allows them to do this.

 

However valid the point is that racism is integral to all that is wrong in our society, it keeps obscuring the deeper truth about mental illness. Mental illness often manifests itself as racism, at the point when it crosses the line from ignorance into irrationality; akin to the difference between an animal that bites because it's starving and an animal that bites because it has rabies. But when we think of mental ilness, we all too often think of it through the lens of morality: no matter how disordered a person's behavior, he or she "should have known better."

 

In this, we're no better than the wilfully-ignorant religious of centuries past, who viewed mental illness as God's punishment for sin, or as being posessed by the devil. And I also see very little progress since the time when men and ladies of quality would tour insane asylums so as to be amused by the "loonies."  

 

 

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Beard Man is mentally ill? He was a typical racist old bastard. He looked and acted like a lot of people around here. Racism isn't an illness.
Sonny Mobley: Beard Man is mentally ill? He was a typical racist old bastard. He looked and acted like a lot of people around here. Racism isn't an illness.

Yeah, 3 minutes and 20 seconds on YouTube is all you really need to play armchair judge, jury and executioner, even when you can't understand a word they're saying. You go fetch some rope, I'll find a nice high tree.
From what I saw I couldn't tell that he was a racist or mentally ill. If anything, it seemed like the guy was justified in defending himself but I don't know the whole story.
The whole problem with the video is when it cuts on. But he asked the man how much he would charge to spitshine his shoes! I mean, come on... He was absolutely justified in defending himself, though! The age difference was obvious, and 'm sure next time the other guy will turn the other cheek as he should have.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN2Q6yiQ2VI

lol, sorry, I had to.
It's a running joke. Not offensive.


But yeah, I'm not sure if the man was intentionally racist, or just intentionally hostile. I think it could have been a white kid sitting across from him, he would have still found reason to mouth off.
I'm not sure that the video is the best way to get your point across, as we have too little information to work with, but your discussion about mental illness is one that needs to be addressed. Perhaps you could find a better example.

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