My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
I am tired of being part of a white world that sees itself largely unquestioningly as embodying the norms towards which everyone should aspire. I am tired of being called master. I am tired of the permanent distance between black and white. I am tired that my humanity is barely recognized by so many, who see me as master, as enemy or simply as alien, and that my very existence as a white person in South Africa should contribute to the dehumanisation of so many more. – Pedro Alexis Tabensky, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rhodes University, writing in the Cape Times.BACK TO TOP